On the 1st of July, I embarked on a Gratitude Challenge. For 30 days, I am writing down the things I am grateful for and why. Here’s how my first 7 days went.
Spoiler: this was a week of trial and error, which is perfectly fine in a 30-day challenge. It will take me longer than a week to make this work for me.
Day 1: Let’s do this!
This is fun, this is easy. There a so many things to be grateful for that I need to hold my horses. I don’t want to run out of ideas right at the beginning of this challenge! 😉 At the end of my first day, I wrote down 6 things I was grateful for. Here are three of them.
I’m grateful for this comfortable apartment.
I’m grateful for pens and paper, which allow me to make dreams tangible.
I’m grateful for the work planning I made. It allows me to get more things done.
Day 2: A productive day
This was one of those days I decided to get up early – the alarm clock rang at 4:45 AM! At some point in the future, I might turn early rising into a 30-Day Challenge. As I had quite a bit of work to do, waking up early gave me the hours I needed. I chose to journal during my morning coffee.
Day 3: Grateful for anger?!
Here’s a funny story: I completely lost it when someone was repeatedly honking at me in traffic. I caught myself, thinking: this is not how a grateful person should act, André! But moments later, I changed my mind. I actually turned this into a thing I’m grateful for – allowing myself a moment of road rage. Let those emotions out, and then return to zen again. 😉
Day 4: Things are always working out for me
There was something I had been worried about for the past few days, and for which today came the perfect solution. Whether it’s the result of this gratitude challenge or not, it makes me even more grateful.
I didn’t journal until the evening, though. And I must admit I wrote down less things to be grateful about than when I jot them down right when they happen. I’m still finding my way around.
Day 5: How I can do this better
I confess: I’ve been a bad boy. On day 5, I completely forgot to write down the things I’m grateful for. How could that happen? I was busy from dusk till dawn and didn’t have my gratitude journal close to my bed. What can I do to make gratitude journaling a part of my life, if only for 30 days? Three solutions occur to me:
- Write down the things I’m grateful for at the moment they happen
Not only does this prevent me forgetting these big or small moments of happiness; my emotions will also be stronger in the heat of the moment. When leafing back through my gratitude journal, it will be easier to relive these moments.
- Do the journaling at a set time every day
By setting an alarm on my phone, I can remind myself daily to write down what I’m grateful for. Ideally, I choose a time of day I’m not with anyone or busy with a task I can’t drop – whether during the week or in the weekend. The risk here is that the alarm, which basically ‘forces’ me to be grateful, becomes a nuisance.
- Make gratitude journaling a part of existing rituals
If I make journalling part of my breakfast or of the bedtime ritual, there’s no way I will forget. Once again, at times I may not be in the right state of mind.
For now, I will stick with the first method. And when I don’t happen to be near my journal, I will use my smartphone to write down my gratitude. When back at home, I’ll put pen to paper.
Day 6: Oops, I did it again…
Come on, André! I promised myself yesterday that I would journal as things happened, or when ideas ocurred to me, but I didn’t. Yes, I had a 4-year-old vying for my attention, but that’s no excuse since I can easily grab a pen and paper or my phone for a few seconds.
Nevertheless, I found plenty of things to be grateful about. It was a fun Saturday in which I reorganized and planned, played with my son, and had stimulating conversations with friends.
Day 7: A day of gratitude
After days 5 and 6, on which I didn’t manage to practice gratitude as often as I wanted, I decided that today would be a day of gratitude. I would journal about people, things, or situations at the very moment I felt grateful.
This worked especially well in the morning, for which I’m grateful. 🙂 In the afternoon, I somehow forgot about this, although it was a very relaxing and happy afternoon. I guess it takes some time to instill new habits…