As entrepreneurs we sometimes feel like we’re just crashing through this life pursuing a never-ending list of goals. I want to make sure that you don’t do that if you spend time on my blog. I believe strongly that you MUST learn to enjoy the journey because the end is, after all, DEATH! You don’t want to turn around at 85 and say “If only I’d taken the time to enjoy X or Y or Z.” No matter where you are in life it’s NEVER too late to start living in the moment.
One of the best tools I’ve discovered to help with this is keeping a gratitude journal.
What Is a Gratitude Journal?
I first heard about keeping a gratitude journal while studying the Practical Geniuses course by the Science of Getting Rich network. Since that time I’ve heard tons of successful entrepreneurs who recommend it. Let me give you my five top reasons for keeping a gratitude journal.
Top 5 Reasons to Keep a Gratitude Journal
- It allows you to be glad for all you have.
- It forces you to chart your progress on goals.
- It makes you stop and process what happened yesterday.
- It lets you look at what’s important to you today.
- It gives you a place to record your life story so you can change it now!
As David Wood would say, this is not some “woo-woo” esoteric, hippy-dippy, double speak either. People who gratitude journal regularly report a higher level of satisfaction with their lives and consistently accomplish more with it (References). Let me give you some pointers on how to start and maintain a gratitude journal.
Tips for Starting (and maintaining) a Gratitude Journal
- Do it on something you can access first thing every morning. I use OpenOffice from a shortcut on my mac desktop. Evernote is probably also good for you if you’re not in the same place every morning and need remote access.
- Do it before you do any “real” work. It’s very helpful to do this with as clear a mind as possible. You’d be amazed at how much even email can change your mindset before beginning. Don’t get a bunch of to-dos churning in your head before starting this.
- Review yesterday’s entry quickly before writing. This will help you refocus on where you are and where you need to be each day.
- Make sure you always have at least one thing you are grateful for today. You want to make sure to keep the tone positive as much as possible. Some days, that will be impossible. If you can’t find one thing to be grateful for then finish it and move on. Don’t beat yourself up when you slip into negativity. Just know that tomorrow is a new day!
- Do it every day for maximum benefit. You’ll learn quickly that skipping days leaves gaps in continuity that interrupt your flow of ideas.
- If you can’t do it every day, just do it when you can. Keeping the previous point in mind, I would say this would become self-policing. If you can’t commit to at least three days a week, I would give some serious thought to your dedication to maintaining this journal.
- Write for brevity and impact. Write like a copywriter! Get as many bullet points that will help you as possible and don’t linger.
- Don’t let it turn into a bitching journal. It’s a well-known fact that spending time complaining about stuff hurts your mindset. The idea here is to have a positive start to your day. When you just bitch and complain not only are you ruining today’s mindset but you are potentially infecting tomorrow’s as well.
I’ve kept a gratitude journal for almost two years now and I wouldn’t start my day without it. Give gratitude journaling a try and let me know how it’s helped you. Definitely leave me your thoughts and questions here so we can learn together.