Tips for Starting a Gratitude Journal

gratitude journal
Everyone has something to be grateful for, and writing it down can even boost your happiness. Learn how to start your own gratitude journal now!

The Importance of Being Grateful

Usually it is not enough to simply decide to be grateful – we must actively practice it to cement its place in our lives. Performing simple daily acts of gratitude such as writing in a gratitude journal can have a big impact on your health and happiness!

It only takes a few minutes a day, but it can give you a lasting mood boost that can take you from feeling “okay” to feeling “great” on a more regular basis.


What is a Gratitude Journal?

A gratitude journal is, quite simply, a tool to keep track of the good things in life. No matter how difficult and defeating life can sometimes feel, there is always something to feel grateful for.

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them

John F. Kennedy

Regularly journaling about the good things in your life can help prepare and strengthen you to deal with the rough patches when they pop up.

It’s extremely simple to start: simply write down (or type) the things you are grateful for on a daily basis. You can use a journal, diary, notebook, or just a piece of paper. If you’re committed to being green or just find it easier to do things digitally, you can use one of the many gratitude apps! My top 2 favorite apps are Daily Gratitude and Gratitude Journal.

Daily Gratitude App

Below is how Daily Gratitude app looks like. You can select between 2 different views by clicking the ‘Change View’ button, and you can add a new entry by clicking on the top right icon.

Underneath each day you have your daily target progress: a complete circle means that you reached your target! If you always forget to write, go to settings and set a daily reminder so you know when it’s time for your mindful practice.

By changing the calendar view you can see the entries of the selected day below your calendar. Click on your Gratidude Entry to see it in full screen. Style your gratitude entries with emojis. And if you ever feel bored to text, you can use the Voice to Text feature to express your gratitude!

It’s really easy to use, as you can see. For now the app only available for iOS, but it will soon be available for Android too!

Once you have your app or your physical journal ready, simply start noting the things you are grateful for. Got a promotion? Journal it! Mastered a new yoga move? Journal it! Received good news about a potential health problem? You guessed it – journal it!


Benefits of Using a Gratitude Journal

  • Gratitude journaling, like many gratitude practices, can lower your stress levels;
  • It can help you feel calmer, especially at night;
  • Journaling can give you a new perspective on what is important to you and what you truly appreciate in your life;
  • By noting what you are grateful for, you can gain clarity on what you want to have more of in your life, and what you can do without;
  • Gratitude journaling can help you find out and focus on what really matters to you;
  • Keeping a gratitude journal helps you learn more about yourself and become more self-aware;
  • On days when you feel blue, you can read through your gratitude journal to readjust your attitude and remember all the good things in your life!

What is the Difference Between a Gratitude Journal, Planner, Diary, and Notebook?

The main difference between a gratitude journal and other similar items, like planners, diaries, and notebooks, is the focus of the action:

  • Gratitude journaling focuses on what you are grateful for;
  • Filling out a planner focuses on what you need to do;
  • A diary’s focus is on what happened in your day;
  • Notebooks are for taking notes about the present, or future events, to help you remember important points.

The gratitude journal is unique as it is solely dedicated to noticing and appreciating the positive things in your life!


Ideas for Things to Write in your Gratitute Journal

Your gratitude journal must be unique to you and your life. No one can tell you what makes the cut for you and your particular circumstances, but there are some suggestions that might help if you’re struggling in the beginning:

  • List three small ways that you can share your gratitude today
  • Write about a person in your life that you’re especially grateful for and why
  • What skills or abilities are you thankful to have?
  • Write about a challenge you’re experiencing right now that you can be thankful for
  • How is where you are in life today different than a year ago–and what positive changes are you thankful for?
  • What activities and hobbies would you miss if you were unable to do them?
  • List three body parts that you’re grateful for and why
  • Write about the city you live in and things you are grateful for about it
  • What are you taking for granted about your day to day that you can be thankful for?
  • What materialistic items are you most grateful for?
  • Write about the music you’re thankful to be able to listen to and why
  • Who has done something this week to help you or make your life easier and how can you thank them?
  • Describe foods or meals that you are thankful for
  • What elements of nature are you grateful for and why?
  • Which part of your morning or night routine are you most thankful for?
  • What is something you’re grateful to have learned this week?
  • What aspects of your work environment are you thankful for?

When Should you Write?

Plan to write in your gratitude journal every night for 15 minutes before bed. Set an alarm reminder on your phone or schedule it in your calendar. I’ve found it easier to write at night so that I can include things that I am grateful for from that day.

Keep your gratitude journal by your nightstand so you will see it before going to sleep and remember to jot down what you are thankful for. Write as many things as you want in your gratitude journal. Writing down 3-5 things that you are grateful for each day is a good number to aim for.

Your gratitude journal doesn’t have to be deep. What you are thankful for can be as simple as “family” or “the new book or movie I recently enjoyed” or “this morning’s breakfast.”


gratitude journal

The gratitude journal is a unique tool solely dedicated to noticing and appreciating the positive things in your life. Start writing things down today and appreciate the small things everyday!


Check other posts about hobbies of mine in the Hobbies section of my blog

Tips to Create Your First Bullet Journal

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 Thinking of starting a bullet journal? You’ve come to the right place! Here you’ll learn what a bullet journal is, why you need one and some cool ideas to be creative and adjust your bullet journal to your needs!

What is a bullet journal?

Thanks to Instagram — and mounting stress levels — millions of people have ditched their basic planners for a bullet journal and consider this method the best way to plan, reflect, and meditate. And while for some people this is just a journal full of confusing symbols and shorthand, it’s actually a mindfulness practice disguised as a productivity system.

Equal parts day planner, diary, and written meditation, bullet journaling turns the chaos of coordinating your life into a streamlined system that helps you be more productive and reach your personal and professional goals. With sections to log your daily to-do’s, monthly calendar, notes, long-term wants and more, your bullet journal is customized to your life and your needs.

By updating it daily, you learn how to get rid of things that are distracting you and add things you care about. But it’s really built with you in mind: the only thing that the bullet journal needs to be is effective, and how it can best serve its author is entirely up to them. Customize your bullet journal by selecting symbols that are easy for you to understand and creating sections (called “collections”) that align with your long and short-term goals such as a fertility tracker, fitness log, diary, and more.

And for everyone who’s panicking about their art skills, a bullet journal is always about function over form. And to be very clear about that, form can mean sloppy or beautiful. It doesn’t matter what your bullet journal looks like. It’s about how it makes you feel, and how effective it is in moving you towards the things that matter to you.

That’s where the mindfulness connection comes in. Unlike traditional organizers and planners, this method encourages authors to examine how their goals, tasks, and responsibilities make them feel. Instead of a standard checklist, bullet journaling requires daily, monthly, and yearly reflections along with bullet points and asterisks galore.

A bullet journal is good for…

  • People who have a million little to-do lists floating around
  • People who like pen and paper to-do lists
  • People who are into goal-setting and habit tracking
  • People who like stationery, journaling, scrapbooking, beautiful pens, etc.
  • People who really love planners
  • People who want to really love planners, or who want to be more organized
  • People who would really like to keep a journal/diary but are having trouble sticking with the habit

What tools do I need?

  • An A5 dotted notebook
  • Pen (Micron fineliners)
  • Fine point markets
  • Calendar stickers
  • Washi tape sets
  • Stencil sets

How do I start bullet journaling?

Ask yourself: what do you want the bullet journal to do for you? Once you have a general idea, build a system that suits your needs and art skills. If you’re overwhelmed about the flexible format, start with a monthly log where you can prioritize responsibilities to meet monthly goals. From there, flesh it out with a daily log.

Index:

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This section is at the front of your notebook and serves as a table of contents with page numbers to different collections and a symbol key that you update as you go.


Future Log:

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This four-page spread is a year-at-a-glance calendar with future events, goals, and long-term tasks. Add birthdays, travel plans, and major holidays.


Monthly Log:

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This two-page spread includes a calendar with a bird’s-eye view of the month and a task page with things you want to tackle during the month. You can also add other monthly tracking pages (“modules”) including a food, fitness, finance, or book log.

Many bullet journalers have at least two pages devoted to the big-picture view of each month: a monthly calendar page, and a monthly tasks page:

Calendar Page: Use this to write down your events and/or add a note of what happened. The calendar is laid out this way to give you enough space to write a short snippet of events you may have going on and also to note anything you may wish to remember. This will allow you to get a snapshot of what happened.

Task Page: This list consists of tasks you want to get done this month and tasks from last month that you migrated.


Daily Log:

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This is your day-to-day to-do list.


Which other collections can  I create?

Collections are a group of related ideas. Every single page in the Bullet Journal is by definition considered a collection. This includes the monthly log, daily log, future log, and any page you give a topic to. You can make a list of anything! Here are some suggestions.

List of things you like:

It can be, for example, a list of songs you like. If you recall, in the Daily Log there are these songs with a Note Bullet, that were then migrated to a Collection to keep them in one place, as per the Bullet Journal guidelines when you find yourself writing down the same kind of idea over and again in your Daily Logs.

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Gratitude Log:

Collections can be logs of some kind. Here is a gratitude log to write down 3 things you are thankful for each night, seeing them all in one place makes my heart happy.

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Log & Tracker:

Another idea for a collection can be a log & tracker – to write down, for example, notes about how you feel after your daily run.

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Goal Plans:

Goal plans are fun to create with a bullet journal. You can write about your plan, including your motivation, S.M.A.R.T. game plan, and color-code it to connect the ideas on how you would follow-through.

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Tracker:

You can also create a tracker as a system to help you reach your goals and complement your plan. A tracker is the perfect thing to help you reach your aims! Here’s a week-by-week tracker related to the goal plan from the last photo.

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Sketches:

Sometimes you just want to turn the page and sketch. Simply make an entry in your index called, “Sketches: 22, 45-49,…” and add to it to keep track of your collections that span across several pages.

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There are many, many other forms and types of collections I’m sure you could come up with! It’s a notebook, first and foremost, and the blank page is a canvas to create anything you wish!


Bullets and Signifiers in Bullet Journaling

While you should create a key that fits your needs, you can use the following symbols as an example to create consistency:

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Of course you can choose to create your own Bullets and Signifiers as you see fit. It’s your call!


Putting the pieces together

  • When you create a collection, you add it to the index;
  • You use bullets & signifiers to the left of the bullet points as needed;
  • You migrate tasks between collections as needed on a monthly basis. At the end of the month, look over through all of your collections (this includes the monthly and daily logs) to assess whether they are worth doing. If they are worth doing, Migrate them to the new Monthly Log. If they are not worth doing then cross them out, remove the noise. If they are worth doing, but at some other point in time, schedule them in the future log (either in a specific month or in a blank future log page).

Design Ideas for your Bullet Journal Collections

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Check other posts about other projects in the DIY Projects section of my blog