How to (and How Not to) Keep A 30-Second Gratitude Journal

Robert Emmons, a professor at University of Davis, California, helps with the following research on keeping a gratitude journal. Remember, this is nothing more than finding a way to pay attention to the good things in our lives. It’s all too easy to compare ourselves to people in better situations. We always forget about comparing what we have to those who have nothing.

As you go through this process, Emmons advises, “Be aware of your feelings and how you ‘relish’ and ‘savor’ this gift in your imagination. Take the time to be especially aware of the depth of your gratitude.” You have to understand these things in your life are gifts. That key buzzword will help you associate your current life with positive feelings.

 

1. FIND YOUR GRATITUDE HEADQUARTERS

Go get a specific notebook, a Google Doc, or even a stack of Post-It notes to use as your gratitude journal. Not only that, but you should also have a specific place and time when you practice gratitude. Your kitchen table in the mornings is a great start.

 

2. EACH DAY WRITE DOWN 1-3 THINGS YOU’RE GRATEFUL FOR

How you write down these things are extremely important, and we will continue to discuss that. But for now, focus in and think over the past few weeks. What are the people, places, things, and moments that made your day better?

 

3. WRITE DOWN WHY YOU ARE GRATEFUL FOR THOSE THINGS, NOT JUST WHAT THEY ARE.

For instance, you may be grateful for family. Make sure you add in that it’s because family can be there to support you or motivate you. At the very least, they created you!

 

4. DON’T JUST GO THROUGH THE MOTIONS

You may find yourself writing down similar things every single day, or just trying to get this task out of the way. Honestly, you might as well not bother. This gratitude exercise only works when you sit down and make a conscious decision to improve your perspective.

 

5. DON’T OVERDO IT

Guess what? Keep a gratitude journal every day can sometimes be counterintuitive! Our brain adapts quickly to positive recurring events. We crave novelty, which can be good and bad. If it feels better for you, just use your journal once or twice a week, and try to fill up a page.

 

YOUR GRATITUDE JOURNAL TEMPLATE

Here you can access to our gratitude journal template, with five essential questions to ask yourself every day, about goals, people, and improving. Simply copy and paste the following into a Google Doc, transfer the Doc we have already created for you into your Drive, or print out a couple pages. Here is a link to the template.

_______________________________________________________________

[Date] [Day]

To be completed in the morning:

What are three things I am grateful for today and why?

___________________________________

___________________________________

___________________________________

What are my top three priorities for today?

___________________________________

___________________________________

___________________________________

Who is one person I can connect with and thank today?

___________________________________

To be completed in the evening:

What is one thing I could have done better today?

___________________________________

What are three moments today that I would like to remember?

___________________________________

___________________________________

___________________________________

 

_______________________________________________________________

Ready to try it? Leave a comment with just one thing you are grateful for and why!

WANT TO SET YOUR GOALS AND DAILY HABITS FOR THE LAST TIME?

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7 Comments

  1. Dan House

    I am grateful for the visit made to us by my daughter and my girlfriend’s son. It was the first time Racina (my daughter and Zack (Leah’s son) had met. We went hiking and sight seeing in Jasper National Park. I am grateful for the positive outlook those two young adults have. Zack is 27 and Racina is 21. I am grateful to live in a peaceful country with great national parks. (Other than the grizzly bears there was really nothing to fear)
    I am thrilled to have a girlfriend whose children get along with mine. My family helps me see where I have been, what I have accomplished and all the possibilities for the future. They keep me humble and hungry for more adventure. Thank you family. Thank you Leah and thank you Jasper National Park for a wonderful adventure.

    Reply
  2. Stephen Finocchiaro

    I love this, going back and doing this has helped me to have more energy. It has been my personal experience that energy is positively correlated with Joy. I’ve worked 18 hour days at jobs I’ve loved and finished with much more energy than after spending 8 hours in a less strenuous job that I hated. What is missing is the ability to find joy in routine tasks. I aim to live a life that inspires it’s own growth. Whether I’m in class, with friends/family, or at work, look for the joy in it. If there is no joy, it may just be time to reconsider what it is that we’re doing with life. Too often I find myself tired, not because I’m doing too much but because I lose sight of all that is good with what I’m doing. There is too much good to be achieved to let our self-pity slow us down.

    Reply
  3. Eric One

    I’m grateful for this website, and the program you’ve put together here. I hope it’s still live, but even if it isn’t, I’m grateful you left it up for me to find. Thanks. It’s been a real inspiration.

    Reply
    • JD At Conquer Today

      Eric, you’re the man. I appreciate you really digging in and working through all of these. It’s inspirational. Hope your fitness journey is going well, reach out if you ever need anything!

      Reply
  4. Nic Vermillion

    After a week at level two of the rubber band challenge, this seems like a natural next step. I actually have kept the rubber band on to remind me to contribute to the journal each day.

    Reply

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