How do you start your day?
For me, it’s absolutely essential that I spend about 20 minutes in “gratitude time” before I officially “begin” my day. It’s before the news, social media, internet searches, email checking and often before coffee (gasp!). It’s where I write in my gratitude journal (pictured above) and read my devotional/inspirational books. This short time alone has fundamentally changed my life.
It has shifted my focus to gratitude – what I have to be thankful for in my life. It arms my mindset for the day; it is intentional and it feeds my soul. It’s not always easy, but it always changes my outlook for the better. And when I feel restless during the day, I whip out my journal to write about what I’m feeling – it’s empowering and soothes my mindset. It allows me to release any negative thoughts I’m feeling and swap them for things for which I’m grateful.
Perhaps a gratitude journal sounds hokey, but I assure you – it’s not. It’s an act of courage and it will reveal so much about yourself and the world around you. Try it for just 1 month… I dare you.
You can format your morning gratitude journal any way you like, but here’s how I (loosely) structure mine:
- I’m thankful for… (write at least 3, but don’t feel that you have to limit yourself if you’re feeling particularly inspired). Add a bit about why you’re grateful – what makes you thankful for this?
- Dreamboard – what is it that you want to do this year? Is it to start a new business? Take a vacation to a certain spot? Find a combination of meds that will ease your pain? Whatever it is, write it down – and list at least 2. The are BIG dreams, audacious goals. You will write these repeatedly – EACH day you write in your journal. Writing them over and over makes them more likely to be realized in your life (I will go into the “why” of this statement later, but just trust me on this one for now). Write them from the perspective of “will” (not “I hope I will”), ex: I will take a vacation to Bora Bora in 2014.
- Intentions – what are your intentions for today? These are simple action items you can implement immediately into your life, with just a bit of focus. For example: to be a good listener, to live compassionately, to offer a smile to a stranger. List at least 5.
A gratitude journal is a simple (and free) way to create more joy in your life. Give it a shot for 30 days and see how much better you feel… It’s never too late.