Getting your gratitude journal started
You’ve heard me tout the gratitude journal. In fact, you are probably tired of hearing me talk about it. But the thing is…it’s the number way I started to transition from a pessimist to a Hopefulist. It not only forced me to find more positive in my life to be grateful for…it literally changed my way of thinking and the way I viewed the world.
I’m more convinced than ever that I can completely change a pessimist into an optimist because as I go down this path, I see how far I’ve come. I see how I literally think differently. I was talking yesterday about my mom. I am very much like my mother personality wise. We shared traits like strong personality, extremely opinionated, controlling, and wanting to have our own way. We have both been known to be selfish, stubborn, holding a grudge and expecting the worst. I have tried very hard to be the better version of my mother. I thought for a while that I was doomed to unhappiness because I was just like my mother and she lived an extremely unhappy life. Then I realized that I wasn’t doomed to repeat her path. I could forge my own. And that is when I started working really hard on myself. I wanted to be a happy person and was willing to do what it took to make that happen.
My big break came when I moved to LBI the first time. My world changed so much when I moved there. I somehow got up the courage to go for a bartending job (when I had never bartended before) at one of the most popular bars on the island. I didn’t think of this as actual work. I mean it was and it was scary when I actually got hired and had to convince them that I knew what I was doing. I’m sure I never convinced them of that since I didn’t know what I was doing. But I got out of my comfort zone because I saw what that job could bring me. Not only did I meet so many great people that are still my friends today but I made a little money on the side and honestly, it was fun. Once I got in with a certain group of friends, they included me in all their plans. And they went out a lot! I was always out. I always had something to do. This is also when I bought my first bike since I was a kid and started riding all over the island. I loved it. I went from sitting in front of the t-v from the time I got home from work until the time I went to bed (you know, watching other people’s lives) to living my own life. And it was fantastic.
After a number of years, I eventually had to move back to Philadelphia for work but I wasn’t happy about it. I started hanging out with my PA friends again but they all lived so far from me. I started to think about purchasing a home and decided to buy something close to where my friends were. Because now I know that it was having a social circle that made me the happiest. And man did we have some fun. We still do. I’m going to a party with these amazing people in a few weeks and I can’t wait. Then of course I started dating my husband and I introduced him to LBI. He loved it too. We started spending more and more time there with our various rentals. And when it came time to sell our condo, we moved to the area full time and I believe we have never been happier.
I knew what made me happy and that was a great step for me. But I was still thinking like a bitter and resentful person for the most part because that is just how I thought. I wasn’t happy for people who were doing better than me. I wasn’t joyful when one of my friends was getting married, I was jealous. I couldn’t help but think…why not me?
I had started and stopped doing a gratitude journal a hundred times. But when I read the umpteenth self-help book that once again told me to do all the things the other books had been telling me, it finally dawned on me there may be a reason they are all saying the same thing. So, I started a gratitude journal and stuck with it. I also had a personal journal that I would mostly use when I was unhappy for a way to try to work through my problems. It was very helpful to me. I haven’t felt the need for that in many years now. Not that I’m not ever unhappy anymore…I’m just not stuck in it like I used to be. I know how to be sad about something and not let it take over my whole life.
But I believe it was the act of doing the gratitude journal everyday that changed my way of thinking. Like I’ve said a thousand times…it not only makes you realize how much you already have to be grateful for, it sets you up to look for the positive throughout your day instead of focusing on the negative. Because you want things to write down at the end of the day. Get yourself the cutest darn notebook or bound journal. This is something I encourage you to spend some money on. You will want to want to write in it. You will want to fill it up and go get another one because they are so darn cute! Find a favorite pen and buy a hundred of them. Make the process as easy and fun as possible. You will want to do it! Trust me!
I’ve had people tell me that they don’t know what to write down in it. Anything you are grateful for! That is what you write down. Five things every single day that bring you joy. Once you start looking for things that bring you joy you will realize there is so much more opportunity for it than you ever realized. But I get that it can seem very broad at first, so I came up with a quick check list for you to get started.
Every day write down one thing from these five categories...
~ something you saw (the leaves turning color, an old picture, a friend, your pet, a sunrise or sunset)
~ a scent you smelled (freshly brewed coffee, your favorite perfume, a candle, freshly cut grass)
~ something that you hear (the sound of your child’s voice, music, birds singing, the words I love you)
~ Something you love about yourself (your eyes, your hair, the fact that your body does everything you tell it to, your freshly painted pedicure)
~ A material thing that you love (your handbag, your wedding rings, your home, your comforter)
These are just what I came up with to help guide you into what you may want to jot down every day. You can write down whatever you want. But I do encourage you to try to mix things up and not write down the same things all the time. You are trying to find more and more things to be grateful for every day.
So, if you haven’t started it yet, go get that notebook. Use this as a guide and see how important it becomes for you to write in it every day. There are days that I still struggle to come up with enough, but then I go back to my mainstays….my house, my Tucker, where I live. The more you do it…the better it will be for you and the more you will enjoy your life. This I promise you!
It is a Taco Tuesday! I hope you go out and get a super cute journal and a fabulous pen today and start writing your way to an even better life. Now, go make it your best day yet.
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