Tips on keeping a gratitude journal

Keeping a Gratitude Journal

The idea of journaling might make you think of a diary kept under your mattress. But it can be much more than that, especially if you keep a gratitude journal.


A gratitude journal can help you appreciate more of what you have in your life. But in the search for things to be appreciative of, you may also find that your outlook becomes much more positive simply because you’re seeking out the good intentionally.  Keeping a digital gratitude journal also offers the benefit of being able to add to it anytime, anywhere.



Tip 1: Set Alarms/Reminders

The hardest thing about creating a habit is remembering to do it. But the more you forget, the more your motivation disappears. And then the habit never forms.



Gratitude journaling often works best at the end of the day when the events of the day are still fresh in your mind. So try setting an alarm or reminder for about 30 minutes before you usually go to bed each night.


You could also try setting a few alarms or reminders throughout the day and jot down one thing you’re grateful for at each of those times.



Tip 2: Keep It Simple

Don’t put a ton of pressure on yourself to come up with long lists of things you’re grateful for each day. The reality is, there will be days when you struggle to find something to be grateful for. And that’s okay.



Instead, keep it simple. Make your initial goal to simply find one thing each day you’re grateful for. It will make gratitude journaling much more fun than sitting there for hours trying to come up with a Top 10 list every night.



Tip 3: Be Creative

You might feel want to write down something profound each night, like being grateful for your tears because they mean you’re able to express emotion. But sometimes you don’t have anything profound — or new. So try getting creative if you can’t think of something.



Maybe you write down something incredibly simple, such as toilet paper. Or maybe it’s something silly, like having opposable thumbs. It doesn’t have to be deep. Sometimes it can just be something that makes life nicer.



Tip 4: A Journal Doesn’t Have to Mean Writing

The idea of a journal is very strongly tied with writing. And not everyone enjoys writing. But the great thing is that your journal is your own — and that means it doesn’t have to be written if that’s not what you want.

Instead, try adding:

  • Photos
  • Audio
  • Video
  • Links

In fact, you can really have fun with this by challenging yourself to see just how many different ways you can come up with to show your gratitude in your journal without writing a single word.



Tip 5: Reread Entries from Time to Time

You’ll build a more appreciative life just by keeping a gratitude journal. But you’ll get much more benefit from your journal if you take the time to reread past entries.


This will help increase your thankfulness by reminding you of all the things you found to honor before. But it will also help boost your motivation to keep going instead of stopping on those days you struggle to find something to include.



Tip 6: Don’t Be Perfect

Your journal is YOUR journal. It’s not meant to be seen by anyone else. No teacher will grade it; no editor will want to polish it for publication (at least not until after you’re dead!). So why let perfection, or the lack of it, stand in the way of your writing?

Don’t worry about:

  • Grammar
  • Punctuation
  • Spelling
  • Neatness

Instead, try:

  • Using abbreviations or shorthand
  • Setting a timer and writing without stopping

Don’t worry about how it looks. Focus on its meaning.



Tip 7: Use a Prompt

Some days you just can’t think of something to appreciate. Journal prompts can help with this.


Gratitude prompts can help you think of things you’re grateful for that you might not come up with on your own. Prompts like “What in nature are you grateful for?” can take you into a deeper, more interesting appreciation for life, love, and the world around you.

Try these journaling prompts for gratitude if you’re stuck.



Tip 8: Keep Your Journal Private

You should make sure that you keep your journal private so that you can feel safe to write anything. Even with gratitude, some things are just too intimate to allow others to see.


A good way to ensure that you keep your journal private is by using a journaling app. These typically require a password to access, plus whatever security measures you have on the device itself.  An app like ByteLyfe also offers post encryption to ensure that no one else can see your posts — and they also don’t allow you to share your journal entries, giving you the safest of havens to be able to let go and put down whatever is on your mind.



Tip 9: Go Digital

In today’s on-the-go world, even a notebook can feel too cumbersome to keep track of. By using an app, you can have your journal at your fingertips no matter where you are or what time it is.


By going digital, you also allow technology to help you in keeping a better, more fulfilling journal. Apps like ByteLyfe let you:

  • Add photos
  • Include videos
  • Attach audio
  • Record recipes
  • Track fitness progress
  • Plan meals
  • Use fun background templates

These features make it more fun to journal while also giving you more freedom so that entries feel like a daily adventure rather than a daily chore. And with encrypted posts that can’t be shared, even accidentally, whatever you put in your journal will remain private — no matter what. 


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