One Small Change You Can Make Today 03: Start a gratitude journal.

by Erica

♥ [Want to know what "One Small Change You Can Make Today" is all about? Check out the introductory post here.]

Today’s Assignment:

Start a gratitude journal. I’ve been an avid journalista for years & years. My first experience with diaries (you know, the lock & key kind–complete with bright pink, sparkly cover) started in 4th grade–& I was hooked. But when I hit teenagedom, I started to use my journals (& my Xanga. Oy!) as a way to release all my negative emotions, bash my parents, talk trash about my girlfriends when I was jealous & write poetry about how lost I was. In fact, I still keep a journal like, where I write down everything & anything I’m feeling at that particular moment. The Good. The Bad. The Ugly. You name it. But a gratitude journal is very different from the free-for-all, anything goes, stream-of-consciousness writing that usually ends up in a regular journal. With a gratitude journal, you’re writing specifically about things that you’re grateful for.

Want to make your own? Here’s what to do: 1. Pick a journal. Any journal will do–plain, personalized, ruled, unruled, whatever. Even a new Word document works as an easily accessible place to keep your gratitude journal. (Personally, I like paper journals like this one from TillyBloom & this one from cozyblue on Etsy. Mine was actually a gift from the BFF. It’s from Italy & has the words “Once Upon A Time” translated into Italian on the front & my name on the back. In gold. Bella!) 2. Pick a time of day to write. Easy enough. 3. During your scheduled time, write down 5 (or 10, or however many you find manageable) things you’re grateful for that day.

Just to give you an example of what you can consider writing about in your journal, here’s a peak @ my most recent entry: 1. Adobe CS4 @ an insanely low price 2. E-mail response about a summer internship in NYC (!) 3. Planning potential adventures at Jersey Shore this summer 4. Long conversations with my mom in which she admits she doesn’t know everything, but in the process gives me really interesting, thoughtful life advice 5. My diverse friends who are now spread out around the country living equally diverse lives.

So, why should you practice gratitude journaling?

Christine Kane explains why gratitude journals work:

My experience is that when I write out my I-am-grateful-for’s every night, I become more in tune throughout the next day. It’s like turning on an inner-switch that sets your awareness to look for material for your journal each night. So you might be driving out of your neighborhood in the morning, and catch the flash of a bluebird in the sunlight, and instead of blowing it off, you stop and notice it for a moment. You take it in. And you make a mental note to include that in your gratitude journal. Then, when you’re having lunch with a co-worker, she grabs the check and pays it. And not only do you thank her, but you make that mental note again. Your day becomes a basket where you collect things. It’s a private little game.

In essence, you become a gratitude magnet. And oddly enough, cool things start to find you. But you have to learn to be grateful now for all that is already.

Alright, I’m sort of bluffing on this one. This is something you can start today (& fairly cheaply & easily, too), but is more of an ongoing project. But today, all I’m asking you to do is pick out the journal & write down your first 5 things. Odds are–if you’re committed to making positive changes in your life–you’ll want to keep writing, or at least be on the prowl for positive things around you in the following days.

More gratitude journal greatness:

A quickie on gratitude journals from e-How.
♥ Tech savvy? Get a Gratitude Journal/Vision Board on your iPhone. (I don’t actually own an iPhone so I can’t personally DL any one these “life improving apps.” If you have one, clue me in!)
♥ About.com is always so comprehensive in their coverage of like, everything. Check out their guide to Writing in a Gratitude Journal.
♥ Love her or hate her, Oprah knows what’s up.
♥ And just for being here & being you, I created a special ericaleexo.com gratitude journal in Google Docs. You don’t have to buy anything or do anything–just click to enjoy. I know how annoying it is when your hand starts to throb from writing with pen & paper. So, consider this free little gift from me something for you (& your hands!) to be grateful for?

xoxo erica lee

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