In one of my weekly wrap-ups a while back I mentioned I’d completed a gratitude journal of 365 things I’m grateful for. This was something that had been on my lifelong bucket list, and on a lovely day in early August when other plans had fallen through, I packed a picnic blanket, an empty journal, and a pen and headed to the park overlooking the Hudson River for some reflecting time. I made a few rules for myself. No repeats, for sure, or items that overlapped too much. Each entry on the list had to be unique and original. I also didn’t want to include memories, like “that one time I went skydiving.” I wanted the list to be comprised of stuff I could be thankful for today and every day, not experiences I’d had in the past that were already over and that I may not have again.
At first I thought it would be challenging. 365 things is a lot! Would I be able to think of that much stuff I was grateful for?
But when I finally started listing out the small and big moments that make me smile, I was surprised that it was much easier than I anticipated. In fact, after I reached 365 things, I still had many more things I wanted to write!
Unfortunately my hand was cramping, so that afternoon I stopped at 365. 😉 But as I went about my daily life that week, I kept having moments where I’d think, “hey, this is a really good thing I’m doing or tasting or experiencing right now. I’m thankful for this. I need to write it down in my gratitude journal.”
And I would. And the list has grown. I plan to keep at it until I reach 1,000, and who knows – maybe it won’t stop there!
Overall, I’d say the best thing I took from gratitude journaling was an increased awareness of all the things I have to be thankful for. Keeping a working list of everything I love about daily life has made me take notice those moments when something large or little makes me smile and triggered me to cherish them. That’s been the greatest gift of all.
If you’re thinking about it, I highly recommend starting a gratitude journal. It’s truly been a blessing for me.
To help get you started, here are 50 things out of my gratitude journal! Writing out all 365+ things would probably make my hand cramp again, but I thought I’d share at least a few!
50 Things I’m Grateful For:
- Iced chai lattes on a hot day
- When the room is cold but under the covers it’s warm
- Those blissful moments of laughter shared with another person
- When shuffle is on point
- Giving someone a gift they love
- Driving on a long car trip with people I like listening to music
- Blanket forts
- Accomplishing something I was afraid of, or didn’t know I could
- The feeling of passion
- Feeling excited and full of love at my friends’ weddings
- People who are different from me
- Licking that bit of yogurt off the lid
- The smell of cigars
- When my handwriting actually looks nice
- Perfectly toasted toast
- Smoothies as meals
- Unexpectedly stumbling upon a free event I had no idea about
- Watermelon in the summer
- Adrenaline rushes
- That rare moment when people actually laugh at my jokes
- Free samples at Whole Foods (or anywhere else, really)
- Exchanging smiles with a stranger
- Plot twists
- When I articulate myself clearly on a complicated thought
- Realizing the thing I was going to buy anyway is on sale
- Playing a new favorite song over and over
- Being “like family”
- Texts that literally make me laugh out loud
- The moment you realize they’ve become one of your best friends
- When everyone asks for the recipe
- Breaking into football stadiums at night for deep conversations (I’ve done this more times than I care to admit)
- Stopping for the random roadside attraction
- Cancelled plans when you didn’t want to go anyway
- Screaming out all the words to the song with friends
- That one story that is always a hit at parties
- When the turn signal of the car in front of you keeps time with the music on the radio
- Spontaneous adventures
- Realizing a new place has slowly become another home
- Being alone deep in the woods
- The feeling of unreasonable happiness
- Unexpectedly winning
- Falling asleep on a flight and waking up when you arrive
- Hot chocolate on snow days
- Sending the perfect witty text in response
- Getting the rainbow sprinkles because duh, rainbow sprinkles
- Free refills
- Losing track of time in conversation with someone
- Beating the boys
- When everyone orders different things on the menu so you can try them all
What’s something you’d add to the list? I’m always expanding mine!