How To Write A Gratitude List To Start Your Day Off Strong

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Want to make a gratitude list to start your day on the right foot? It’s no secret that practicing gratitude is strongly linked to personal happiness, so here are some tips to help you get started.

RELATED: 55 Things In Life To Be Thankful For Every Day

Gratitude List Ideas: How to Write A Gratitude List

1. Ask Yourself What Gratitude Really Means

You may think that gratitude is coming up with a “thank you” list, and that’s it. That’s not just what gratitude is all about.

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When it comes down to it, gratitude comes down to three things:

  • Stop
  • Look
  • Go

When you rush through life, you’ll miss the opportunity to savor the moment. If you want to practice gratitude, learn how to stop and smell the roses.

2. Get a Journal

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Stay on top of the things you’re thankful for through a journal.

A gratitude journal doesn’t have to be fancy. It can be, but it can also be just a simple notebook.

The important thing is you get one that you can imagine yourself using every day and making it into your own. Some ways you can personalize your journal include:

  • Making a collage with your favorite photos on it
  • Wrapping the cover with cloth or wrapping paper
  • Doodling on the first page
  • Writing a passage from your favorite book or poem

When you add your personal touch to that journal, it becomes more than just a piece of paper. Being connected to it means you’re motivated to consistently write things down.

3. Put It Somewhere Accessible

Lay down your journal somewhere within easy reach. This can be on your desk or your nightstand.

This way, it’s the first thing you see when you wake up and the last thing you see before going to bed. Having your journal in an accessible place makes it much easier to make practicing gratitude a habit.

4. Keep Your Gratitude List Simple

You don’t need to write like Shakespeare to keep a gratitude list. Start with something simple based on questions you can easily answer off the top of your head.

Staring at a blank page for the first time can be a daunting task. Here are some gratitude journal prompts to get you started:

  • List the hobbies that bring joy to your life.
  • Talk about what you like most about your hometown.
  • Write about a mentor who has made the most impact on your life.
  • List down things that made you smile today.

Once you get started with writing, idea-generating for your next journal entries becomes easier since you’ll get the hang of it.

5. Set Reasonable Goals for Yourself

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Set goals for yourself and write them down, too.

There are no rules when it comes to starting your gratitude list. If you don’t know where to start, just write whatever comes to mind.

It doesn’t have to be a long list – just jotting down three things is already a big step to take. This exercise may seem daunting, but the fact that you’re trying to practice gratitude is already something to be thankful for.

Most importantly, don’t pressure yourself to make things perfect. If you do this, you’ll get burnt out and lose sight of why you do this in the first place.

RELATED: 13 Sources Of Holiday Stress And How To Beat Them

6. Write Down Your Gratitude List by Hand

For best results, the old pen and paper are your best friends. There are several benefits to writing things by hand:

  • Brain training: Writing requires the use of fine motor skills, which activate your brain and keeps it sharp.
  • Calming effect: Putting something in writing organizes your thoughts, leading to a calmer mind.
  • Promotes creativity: As everyone has their own writing style, it gives your entries its own personal touch.
  • Personal connection: There’s something about writing things down by hand that helps you slow down and connect with what you’re writing. This connection is one thing you can’t replicate with modern technology.

If you’re still not convinced, it doesn’t hurt to try.

7. Be Consistent

Having a daily routine has many benefits. It increases your productivity and helps you to be in the right mood and frame of mind.

Add gratitude journal writing to your morning or night rituals so you form the habit. This makes you ready to either start the day or wind down for bed.

If you have a busy schedule, set an alarm, so you remember when it’s time to slow down and reflect on what you’ve been thankful for. Another thing is that you don’t have to do this daily – if once a week is all you can do, then go for it.

Know that it doesn’t matter how often you create your gratitude list. It’s making a routine out of it that counts.

8. Trust the Process

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Writing down things is very simple if it’s related to practical affairs like your schedule and your grocery list. When it comes to sitting down and finding the good in even the worst days, you may find yourself drawing a blank.

Have an open mind when starting your gratitude list. There’s no point in doing this when you need to rush from one task to another.

9. Your Environment Matters

Make sure you’re in the right environment that helps you focus and center yourself. Ideally, this is somewhere quiet (or with some white noise) and free from distractions.

If you need to go outside or visit a coffee shop to get into the right mindset, then do so. A change of scenery may be what you need to come up with some fresh ideas.

10. Break the “Rules”

Your gratitude list shouldn’t feel like a chore to do. If some of our tips don’t work for you, feel free to chuck them and work with your own style.

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  • Prefer writing your gratitude list with your phone and tablet? Start typing.
  • Can’t make time to sit down and write? Squeeze in some entries during the little idle time you have.
  • Not a word type of person? Draw or even take photos for your list.

You can even make it a family affair. Get your spouse and kids to join in and make their own gratitude lists.

11. Check-In Regularly

Every time you start a new habit, check-in with yourself. Here are some questions to keep in mind:

  • Do you feel happier? Are you feeling any different?
  • Have you had more fruitful social interactions?
  • Is your self-talk becoming more and more positive?

If writing on your gratitude list has improved your life, congratulations! If not, maybe you need to make some adjustments to your process.

Creating a gratitude list is a simple ritual that helps you to add some pause to the hustle and bustle of life. It may not be the secret to happiness you’re looking for, but even science agrees that counting your blessings leads to more personal happiness.

What things have you added to your gratitude list? Share them in the comments section below.

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