Gratitude Challenge Day 0: Start a Gratitude Journal

This is Day 0 of the 14-Day Gratitude Challenge held in Aug 2013, where we practice gratitude for 14 days. The challenge is now over but you can do the tasks in your own time. Visit the overview page for all the challenge tasks.

Gratitude challenge

Hey everyone, I’m so overwhelmed by your wonderful response to my announcement post for the Gratitude Challenge! It’s just been a day since I’ve posted it and we’ve almost 100 sign ups now!! *dances with joy with all of you*

While our challenge starts tomorrow (Aug 15), past challenge alumni like Jaleen, Netta, fufu, Calae, etc. would know that I love giving pre-work tasks so we will get the best out of these challenges. This upcoming gratitude challenge is no different! ;) As we prepare for 14 days of gratitude ahead, we need a vital tool to get us started. This tool is the…

Day 0: Gratitude Journal

Gratitude journal

A beautiful gratitude journal

What is a gratitude journal? It is a diary where you record all things you are grateful for. Most people use gratitude journals as a daily log, though you can use it as a weekly or periodic log as well. Gratitude journals are a great tool to direct our energy on the positive things in our lives and to keep away the negative thoughts.

Don’t let its simple premise fool you. Gratitude journals have been proven to dramatically change people’s lives for the better.

In an empirical study in 2003, people who used gratitude journals felt better and report fewer symptoms of illness (compared to those who didn’t). In another study in 2005 concerning gratitude (Seligman et. all., 2005), participants who kept a gratitude journal and recorded three things they were grateful for every day had higher happiness scores by the end of the experiment. In fact, their happiness scores continued to increase each time they were tested post-experiment!

It doesn’t end there. This exercise was so successful that although participants were only asked to journal for a week, many continued the practice long after the study was over!

An example of a simple gratitude journal

Another example of a gratitude journal

There are ways you can start a gratitude journal. The simplest way is to grab an empty notebook in your drawer, write the words “My Gratitude Journal” on the cover, then declare this your gratitude journal from here on out. No thrills or frills but it gets the job done! The benefit of a physical book is you can bring your notebook wherever you go and take notes whenever you want to. 

Another way–my favorite one–is to create a new document on Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, or Excel and title that as your gratitude journal. Save it on Dropbox (my favorite file storage tool) so you can access it on your PC, laptop, or mobile–anywhere in the world, basically as long as you have access to the internet. Environmentally friendly, easy formatting, and easy upkeeping.

(If you don’t have MS Word, Powerpoint, or Excel, Libre Office is a 100% free, almost-identical version of MS Office.)

Yet another way is… *drum roll* by creating an online blog!! WordPress and Blogger are excellent, free tools where you can create a personal blog for free. They are largely idiot-proof and have simple click-and-activate functions where anyone can create their own blog and use it as a personal, online diary.

Not only that, they also have free, ready-made templates to beautify your blog right away. Beats fiddling with craft work if that isn’t your thing! Elegant Themes (aff) is a great place to get extremely beautiful themes (86 of them) for a low cost of $39. 

Some people take pride in personalizing their gratitude journal with beautiful decorations and drawings. I’ve seen some incredibly beautiful gratitude journals online. Here are some examples:

Gratitude Journal

A beautiful gratitude journal, clad in the dominant color purple, by Vicki Arnold

A homemade gratitude journal by Wendy Copley (Cover)

A homemade gratitude journal by Wendy Copley (A peek inside)

A homemade gratitude journal by Wendy Copley

A beautiful gratitude journal by Skye Harmony

Another beautiful gratitude journal by Skye Harmony. This one is made of a composite of cards!

An artistic gratitude journal made by miscellaneaarts (Cover)

An artistic gratitude journal made by miscellaneaarts (A peek inside)

A highly artistic gratitude journal made by miscellaneaarts

Of course, your gratitude journal doesn’t need to be all snazzy if you happen not to have any artistic talent (like me). Just a simple notebook can suffice, like the one below. (Or, you can always “play cheat” and get a ready-made scrapbook at a local bookstore to use as your journal!) The point is to have a journal to record your thoughts and feelings on gratitude.

An example of a simple gratitude journal

A simple gratitude journal

Your task today, before we kick off with our 14-day gratitude challenge proper tomorrow, is to create your gratitude journal!

Your Task: Create Your Gratitude Journal!

  1.  Pick your desired format for your gratitude journal! You can either have a digital, soft-copy gratitude journal (in MS Word, Powerpoint, or Excel), an online blog journal, or a physical, hard copy one. 
  2. Do some initial decorations for your gratitude journal as you await Day 1’s task tomorrow!

    You can do some craft work like the gratitude journal examples I’ve shared above. You can write some gratitude quotes. You can jot down your initial reflections on gratitude as you embark on this challenge. If you prefer to keep it plain and simple for now, that’s an option too. :) You can also drop by your local bookstore to get a ready-made scrapbook for your journal. Simple and easy!

    If yours is an online blog, pick up a nice template and customize your blog a bit. Do whatever works for you!

  3. After you are done, take a picture (or screenshot if yours is a soft copy) of your journal and share it in the comments section below! Share a picture even if your journal is plain and simple; that in itself makes a statement, trust me. ;) (The comments section has a built-in image upload function. Simply click the little image icon on the bottom left of the comment box.)

You will be using your gratitude journal for the next 14 days and for the weeks/months/years after the challenge ends, so create it with pride! During the 14 days, you will be jotting your daily task findings and reflections, as well as to record things you are grateful for. More on that tomorrow! :)

Share Your Results!

What format did you pick for your gratitude journal? What did you decorate your gratitude journal with? How does your gratitude journal look? Please share in the comments section below!

Once you’re done, proceed to Gratitude Challenge Day 1: Write 10 Things You are Grateful For.

(Images: GratitudeGratitude journal