Whenever the buzz of new year’s resolutions began, I decided to make a few resolutions (and actually stick with them) this year. I had seen others talking about gratitude journaling and how it had impacted them, so I decided to add it to my list of resolutions to try with the start of the new year. After keeping a gratitude journal for a month, I noticed a few changes. I noticed that I had started to seek out the positive things each day, spent more time reflecting on my days, and generally became more grateful. 

When I first started my journal, I had decided that I would just write a couple of sentences about one specific thing that I was especially thankful for that day. Of course, I could have started out naming off family, health, and friends, but I was looking to be a bit more specific. This seemed to aid in the positive effects of journaling for me. Starting out, I might forget about writing something down until right before bed which actually helped me wind down some nights and was likely better for me than staring at my phone screen until the wee hours of the morning. 

I am usually the kind of person that when you ask me how my day is going or how my weekend was, I instinctively respond with “Great!” even whenever I have absolutely no idea what I did earlier in the day or previous days. Gratitude journaling has helped so much with this! I am forced to recap the day in my mind whenever I am thinking about what I was most thankful for that day. Then, I have the ability to go back and look at what I was most thankful for previous days triggering my mind about what I might have been doing. 

In the back of my mind, I would be going through the day thinking about how I could write a particular experience down in my journal as something that I was especially thankful for that day. More generally, I began to see everything as an opportunity to express gratitude. Instead of complaining about something, I learned how to turn my complaints into gratitude. 

Because I made a conscious decision to remain grateful, I developed a more positive attitude. This is something that I’m always striving for, but it was a bit easier to implement whenever I had a concrete reason to keep a positive outlook. I would encourage anyone who is striving for a more grateful heart to start a gratitude journal. Filling out a journal only takes a few minutes and I can promise that they pay off will be worth your time. Happy journaling!