On the 25th of March 2018 I reached my “2000 days of gratitude” milestone, in essence, every day for more than five years I had found things in my day to be grateful for and I have written those moments down. When people find out that I have kept gratitude journals for over five years they will often ask me to share with them some tips about starting a journal. I often share these five things that I believe one should keep in mind when starting a gratitude journal.
1. Set a small timeframe that you think you can achieve. I often tell people to aim for one week and if they do that then increase it and set the next goal for longer. I tell people to start small and when it becomes habitual, set bigger goals such as a one month, six months or one year. I have set my goal for ten years straight and I'm more than halfway there.
2. Try and stick to the same time every day to write in your journal, a few minutes is all you will need. I have friends that like to write in their journal just before going to bed as they like to finish the day feeling thankful for various moments in their day. Personally, I like to write in mine when I first wake up as I like to start my day with an ‘attitude of gratitude’.
3. Pick a number of moments that you want to record every day. I aim to find ten things in my day, however, there is no magical number, if one is enough for you then aim to find one thing a day to write.
4. Keep at it, if you have found you have not written in your journal for a few days that is completely okay, pick it up where you left off and keep on keeping on.
5. Trust in the practice and know that your life will improve. I am not saying the challenges won’t happen but when they do they will not become your focus. I find that we can be grateful for the challenges as they help grow and learn as well.
By keeping journals, I have created a wonderful collection of ‘gratitude’ moments in my life and you can do this as well. Practising gratitude daily will change your life for the better, I dare you to give it a try.
Anna Dwyer is a Senior Sergeant in the Queensland Police Service. Her role has taken her all over Queensland, working in remote and vulnerable communities like Cape York, and tourist meccas such as Cairns, Airlie Beach and the Sunshine Coast. She now resides in Brisbane where she serves as a Senior Integrity Officer in the Ethical Standards Command.
Anna has been keeping a Gratitude Journal since 2012.