On January 1, 2015, I began using a hashtag (#3652015) on my Day One app and today I finished using it. 365 days worth of entries.
I was having a hard time with entitlement and being ungrateful for things. I was stressing out knowing that the big 3-0 was just around the corner. What did I have to show for it? I wanted all of the things and I felt like a toddler reaching and crying for those things. So God drew my attention to the simple truth that gratefulness is the cure to envy, selfishness, impatience, anger, entitlement, etc.
My New Years Resolution was to become grateful. How could I do that? Well, I decided on a year long discipline of writing down (or typing) something I was grateful for each day. I even incorporated an image! Sometimes the entry was long and sometimes the entry was just a sentence. Sure, I would miss a couple of days here and there and I had to double back, but I did it.
So, if you’re looking to become more grateful in 2016, I recommend the following tips:
- Choose the medium of your journal that works for you. The Day One app was quite nice as I was able to use it on my phone, take a photo, organize entries by a hashtag, and it backed up daily. Also, I now have a PDF of my journal entries.
- Don’t overthink your gratitude. I know that sounds weird, but there were some days I was thankful for a book I read, for snow, for a friendly smile from a stranger. It doesn’t need to be this epic and deep truth.
- Resist perfectionism. There will be days you miss and forget. Don’t let that stop you. Keep going! I had a whole week I skipped doing it (it really showed where my heart was – I didn’t want to be grateful for anything!).
- Keep it real. I used this as a conversation between God and I. I wanted to be honest. I had days in which I couldn’t find anything to be grateful for. I just vented and then would ask the question, “So what am I grateful for?” And many times it was simply, “You, God. I am thankful for you.”