Creating a Gratitude Practice

I have to admit, I've been slacking on a habit that really helps me lately - taking a moment each day to list a few things I'm grateful for.

Gratitude journals and other practices like them can carry a certain...ridiculousness with them. It sounds too "out there" for some people, although gratitude and its benefits have become more mainstream in recent years.

So I wanted to share a look into how I am going to organize my practice from now on.

Setting yourself up for success

The biggest barrier to this practice for me is having the time and the designated space for it. So, I'm creating a little package of supplies for myself so I don't have to search around for things when I need them.

Here's what I use:

  • A journal
  • Blank cards
  • Stamped envelopes
  • Address list
  • A favorite pen

Nothing crazy, right? I just bundle them all together so that when I do write a few notes in my journal, I see the cards right in front of me. I'm way more likely to send someone a little happy note if I don't have to search.

Creating ground rules

I'm a sucker for rules. So when I started writing down what I was grateful for, I had to create a few to keep myself engaged.

You might set a time limit, or you might set a one-page minimum limit. Anything goes here.

I ended up structuring it like this: three items a day, no repeats for at least a couple of days. This made me stretch further and think about more positive things available to me.

If rules don't work for you, then skip this bit. Do what works best for you.

Make the time

Finally, the most important part of creating and maintaining a habit: designating a time to do it.

My gratitude journal practice is going to fit in right after I write in the morning and right before I start working. Since it should only take about five minutes, it'll be a perfect, non-intrusive time for this practice.

This would be a good practice for a non-driving commute or for right before bed. You don't even need a journal - you can even list things while you are walking on your lunch break or while waiting in line at the coffee shop.

As long as you anchor this practice to some other ritual, it'll be a super-easy way to boost your happiness for the day. You'll start noticing more happy things in your day than you used to, and your mind will appreciate the positive productivity you feel when you complete it each day.

What does your ideal gratitude practice look like?