[<3 Minute Read or Listen Below]
For years, I wanted to start a handwritten gratitude journal. But, the blank page of a journal staring back at me was always so intimidating. I felt this incredible pressure to have something profound to say, or it wasn't worth commemorating. Not to mention the intensity of finding something to write about every single day, or there would be a gaping void to remind me of my failure as a journaler. I also thought, who will have the slightest interest in my thoughts in the future?
Still, the desire to capture my gratitude in writing never faded. I've made a conscious effort in recent years to be more aware of my thankful moments. I didn't force myself to write them down. I just became more aware of my thoughts and whether they brought a smile to my face or brightened my day.
I've written before about how gratitude boosts your productivity, but I sought a more generalized gratitude attitude. And I've successfully moved in that direction. It turns out there are a lot more of these moments than you realize.
While browsing the catalog of a favorite online retailer one day, I noticed they had a 5-year journal on sale for a ridiculously low price. After chuckling to myself for being sucked in by the lure of the handwritten journal yet again, I realized something. This journal solved my two biggest, self-imposed problems.
There was one page for each day of the year, but each page had five smaller sections, one entry for five different years. There was only enough room in each area for a couple of sentences. No more stressing over War and Peace sized entries!
Not only that, each section had a small gray box to write the year of your entry for that date. Without the pages being pre-dated with the years, I no longer had to face the gaping void that spotlighted my failure if I missed an entry.
I knew this journal style existed, but it was so compelling this time, and I gleefully made the purchase. With the pressure for lengthy entries a thing of the past, I'm more prone to capture even the smallest moments. And, I've permitted myself not to stress over skipping a day because I know I will not waste a single space in this journal.
A prevailing method I've seen for gratitude journaling involves never repeating an entry. The purpose, of course, is to encourage you to look beyond your old stand-bys. I, on the other hand, gladly repeat entries. Sunrise and sunset often inspire me. I'm continually grateful for my family, my friends, and my work. I place no limits or restrictions on myself.
I've also stopped wondering who the future benefactor of my thoughts will be. I've decided - it's me! When I'm having a challenging day, what better way to bring things back into perspective than reviewing the everyday experiences that have brought me joy.
Gratitude journaling used to cause me a lot of stress. But I wasn't ready for the journaling habit until I created the mindset habit. Once I permitted myself to notice and enjoy the small moments with no pressure to document them, I realized how often they happen. Once the mindset was in place, the right journaling tool appeared at the right time.
Even if you never write them down, make it a goal to become more aware of the little moments that bring you joy throughout the day. You will be amazed at how often they happen.