We all know the benefits that come from keeping a journal or following a planner when it comes to achieving goals. Writing things down truly has the power to influence our likelihood when it comes to getting things done! Part of it is the satisfaction that we get when we mark things off as completed and part of it is just the way our brains work. By writing things down we are telling ourselves that this is important and we want to remember it! This keeps our goals at the forefront of our minds throughout the day. But what if we want to remember more then just goals? What if we just want to go to sleep with a more positive mindset? This is where the benefits of keeping a gratitude journal really shine.
Part of my yearly goals for the last year, along with living a healthier lifestyle, was to gain a more positive mindset. I wanted to work hard not only on my physical body but the way I mentally saw myself too. That meant spending time learning how to see myself and my life in a more positive way. It truly was a learning process! Despite what many people think, learning to see the world in a positive light is often more of a skill than a natural ability. Some people are naturally optimistic and others have to train their brains to get there.
The Benefits of Keeping a Gratitude Journal
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Hope for the best, Plan for the worst!
I admit that I am often a hope for the best but plan for the worst type of person. Sometimes it just makes me feel better knowing that I have considered and planned for the worst case scenario. I was often told to ‘stop being so negative’ by those around me. In my mind, I wasn’t being negative but realistic. Still, it wasn’t a trait I was overly proud of.
When I decided to make a change last year and looked into things it all made a bit more sense. It turns out that people, in general, are prone to remembering and considering the negatives far more then they are the positives. Way back when we were roaming the plains this bias helped keep us safe. Remember those berries! We felt terrible after eating those! Don’t wander onto the ice, you saw what happened to so and so last winter! This isn’t always a bad thing, it’s good to be prepared! But I was tired of starting every trip or adventure with worries about what ‘might’ go wrong.
A Tiny Change – The Benefits of Keeping a Gratitude Journal
Coming up with a way to change my default mindset was far easier than I originally thought! Of course, living a healthier lifestyle helped me see myself in a nicer way but it didn’t stop me from expecting the worst when it came to trips and events. That didn’t change until I started making a conscious effort to record and remember all the small little things that happened on a daily basis. I started a gratitude journal and it made a huge difference in my mindset!
- Falling Asleep with a More positive Mindset – If I jot down a few small things before bed that that made me happy that day I spend far less time dwelling on the stuff that made me unhappy. Remember, writing things down keeps them at the front of your mind!
- Generally, there is more Good then Bad! – Of course, there will be days where this isn’t entirely true (we all have bad days!) But! For the most part, my gratitude journal allowed me to see tangible evidence that most days were better then I thought.
- Remembering Special Moments – There are times during the day that I want to remember. My daughter hugged me this morning and told me I was the best mom ever – for no reason! It melted my heart and I cherish those moments! but, I also know that they are often swept away by life and the multitude of other things that happen during the day. By writing these special memories down in my journal I not only remember them but I can look back on them later and relive that heart melting moment any time I need to!
How to Start a Gratitude Journal
Even though we have explored the benefits of keeping a gratitude journal I know that it can still seem a bit daunting! If you don’t journal already or just don’t see yourself as the type of person to sit down and write on a nightly basis then things can look even bleaker. But they don’t have too! There are so many options out there and you are sure to find one that suits your lifestyle and personality with a bit of creative thinking! Here are a few to get you started!
In a Planner Or Journal
- Start a tracker in your Bullet Journal or Planner – Lots of people do this and there are some really cute designs out there on Pinterest if this interest’s you! You can do up a whole page or just mark things down as they happen on your monthly spread or daily notes. Like all things, bujo and planner related, it can be as simple or complicated as you feel like making it!
- Consider a Pre-made Positivity Planner – I love using my Calm the Chaos Journal for this. It means I don’t have to spend extra time trying to fit another tracker into my bujo. I love that the prompts for this journal are gentle and easy to fill in quickly which means I’m less likely to skip it even when I’m tired. There are many pre-made journals out there and a lot of them have daily prompts that encourage you to write down positive moments!
Without a Planner or Journal
- Start a Gratitude Jar – This is a great idea if your not a planner. It’s even an activity the whole family can participate in! They can make for a great new tradition and I plan on starting one with my kids this New Years. It’s a very simple idea! You write happy moments on a piece of paper and then put it in the jar. When the jar is full or at the end of the year you can reread those moments and reflect on the good times.
- Make it a Habit to Ask – Maybe you don’t feel like writing anything down at all. That’s okay! Just asking those around you about the nice things that happened to them can be a good start. Spending time discussing the good moments is a nice way to end the evening. Maybe after a while, you will find the time or urge to write them down too and enjoy the added benefits.
- Mark it on a Calender/Whiteboard – If you keep a family calendar, whiteboard or chalkboard then simply add your notes there. You might not be able to keep them forever this way but you can smile every time you pass by.
The Positive Change I Needed!
I started this year with a clear goal in my mind. I am ending it more than a little bit happy with my progress. The benefits of keeping a gratitude journal have been pretty clear in my life! While my healthier lifestyle has helped me feel better about my physical self, mastering this new positive mindset has been the real cherry on top. I am a happier and more confident person then I found myself a few years ago!
Do I still plan ahead on trips and adventures? Of course – I have a feeling that I will always be somewhat of a planner. But, beyond making sure I have the essentials, I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about potential mishaps either. I find I am better able to enjoy the moments as they happen. Thanks to my gratitude journal I can keep enjoying them long afterward too!