Using a daily gratitude journal to start your day

Using a daily gratitude journal to start your day

I start my day with a morning quick write to get my brain focused and start the day on the “right foot.”

Usually when we think about journaling, it seems like something that is a hassle and will take too much time. I think that a morning writing ritual can be simple and empowering.

I know that sometimes when we talk about being mindful, or focusing on a topic like “gratitude” it can often seem a bit “woo woo” or weird. The benefit of this in practice is that you’re training your brain to focus on the positive events each day.

As an experiment, take two minutes to focus on and count all of the yellow things around you right now. You’ll filter out the other colors. You’ll ignore the sounds around you. You’ll push pause on the to-dos and tasks piling up in your inbox. You’ll think about the color yellow…and want to identify how many times you can find the color.

This same process occurs as you recognize and choose to focus on the positive in your daily interactions. Throughout your day, you know that the next morning, or perhaps that night, you’ll want to write down and document all of the nuances of your day. This will train your brain to identify and document the positive changes in each day.

How to make it happen

Many people do this in a notebook, or using paper and pen/pencil. There is a lot to be said for the daily process of putting away the devices, and doing this by hand. An example of this is in the Five Minute Journal. You can also save some money and use your own notebook and remember to follow your script each day as you reflect.

I find it is easier for me to use a journaling app on my devices. I use the Journey app as it syncs using Google Drive and I can use it on a Chromebook, Android phone, tablet, or the web. If you use mostly Apple products, you might want to check out the Day One suite of apps.

I follow a simple template that I reuse every morning. I share my template at the bottom of this post. This can be copy/pasted from the previous day, or using a text expander on your computer.

Every morning, I add the template below to a new page for the day. Some mornings I’ll add a photo from the previous day of something that was meaningful to me. Lately these have been photos of the kids as they grow up too quickly.

My daily template

The template below is my script for a daily gratitude journal. I’ve shared it in markdown. Use Doug Belshaw’s super cheatsheet if you need support with writing in markdown.

I copy/paste the script in every morning and write for a couple of minutes as I start my day. I’ll soon expand this to write at night as I’m reflecting on the day…and setting goals for the next day.

Please feel free to use, remix, and share the template below. Enjoy. 🙂

**Yesterday**

*What did I do yesterday?*

 

*What lessons did I learn?*

 

**Now**

*What am I thankful for right now?*

 

*How am I feeling right now?*

 

**Today**

*What did I read/listen to today?*

 

*What are my plans for today?*

 

*What one thing must I accomplish today?*

 

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Also published on Medium.

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