Creating a Daily Gratitude Practice

How to feel more grateful with just a one-minute commitment each day

Late afternoon sunlight hitting the tops of bare winter trees and creating a beautiful rosy red colour.

Keep it simple and easy

Nearly three years ago, I began a daily gratitude practice and have been doing it ever since. I have found that the trick to sticking to it, is to create a very low barrier to actually doing it. Keep it super quick and easy to do – we’re talking one minute of your day.

What I do

Although I spend a lot less time on a computer than I used to, I do check in with email and my to-do task manager at least a couple of times daily. I keep my daily gratitude list in a plain text document that I store in DropBox. I keep a shortcut to it on my computer desktop – making it easy to find and also to see.

If you prefer paper instead, you could keep a little notebook by your bed and jot your gratitude points down before bed or first thing in the morning.

Keeping it somewhere visible will help you remember to do it.

What to write

My document simply lists the day of the week and the date, with three bullet points below. I often add a few more, if I feel like it. I keep the gratitudes very point form. I don’t worrying about writing full sentences. I put no pressure on myself with regards to what I choose to list each day. I keep the points short and allow anything. It could be the weather, a cup of coffee, seeing a friend, a new sweater, a safe and clean home, heating in winter, etc.

I open the document, write them down and then move on. For me, the point is to pause for just a minute and reflect on some of the good that I have in my life

Using the existing habit/structure to adjust in a particular area

You can add to the basic structure if you want to improve your feeling of gratitude in a particular area. For example, for a while I would write something about my husband that I was grateful for each day. Another time, I wrote my three points and then one BIG picture thing, such as being physically healthy, living in a safe city/country, having a relatively fair government system, healthcare, clean air, etc.

After a while, each served its purpose and I went back to the original/simple three things.

As with all daily practices, I think the important thing is to feel out what works for you, and to not beat yourself up if something doesn’t have as much impact or meaning for you, or if something doesn’t stick. I have tried so many things and, over time, I have found a handful that are very effective for me, and those are the ones that I do.

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If you give this a try or have your own daily gratitude practice, I’d love to hear about it on Instagram.

For more about how I use journaling to keep myself focussed and motivated, I go into this in depth in my post about Creating a Daily Journaling Practice. I have shared a number of other tools to help with living meaningfully and well.

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