Welcome back to our journey into bold gratitude. In Part 1, we explored the basics of gratitude journaling and how it can be a game-changer. Now, let’s get into the heart of truly making this practice a part of our daily lives.
The Power of Habits and Rituals
Habits shape our existence, and often, the difference between who we are and who we aspire to be lies in the habits we cultivate. And while the words “habit” and “ritual” are used interchangeably, there’s a subtle distinction between the two. Habits can be unconscious and automatic, and rituals are habits infused with intention and awareness. I most certainly do not consider myself a semantics expert, and personally, I find myself using the words habit and ritual interchangeably, but I also remind myself that it is essential to remain thoughtful and intentional with my gratitude practice so I don’t slip into autopilot.
Steps to Build a Bold Gratitude Journaling Ritual
Full disclosure: your first week trying something new (even something really joyful like gratitude journaling) can feel like a trip on the struggle bus.
Here are some tips:
- Start Small: Begin with a manageable goal—5 minutes a day. As James Clear shares, “A lot of people think what they need is intensity, but what they really need is consistency.”
- Same Time, Same Place: Choose your spot, pick your time, and make it a rendezvous with gratitude that you can’t miss.
- Add to an Existing Habit: Link your journaling to another daily action. Perhaps while the coffee brews or right after brushing your teeth at night?
- Accountability: Use a habit tracker and color in the days you practice. You can also enlist a friend or join a community. When others are involved, we’re more likely to stay on track.
A lot of people think what they need is intensity, but what they really need is consistency.–James Clear
Now, make a plan for your ritual in vivid detail:
- When will you do it?
Could you do this first thing in the morning? Not a morning person? I feel ya! Mornings do set the tone for our entire day, but really any time of day works, including bedtime! Note: sticking to the same time every day may work best for you.
- Where will you do it?
Will you journal inside or outside? Do you have a favorite spot? Do you need a quiet space?
- How will you do it?
Really visualize it and see all the details: everything from where you are sitting to the writing implement you are holding in your hand. Can you picture it in your mind like you’re watching a movie?
Tools to Amplify Your Ritual
Use alarms/reminders on your phone as a nudge to begin journaling. Consider themed days to maintain variety—maybe Mindful Mondays or Thankful Thursdays—to keep your practice vibrant.
Two Bold Gratitude Rituals to Try
3 ______________ Things
A common gratitude practice is to list “three good things.” Let’s take that to the next level and make some unique “three things” lists by adding a new word in front of “things”.
Think about the last twenty-four hours of your life, and pick one of the “Three Things” below to fill out.
Come on back when you’re ready to do another one.
3 LOL THINGS
3 KIND THINGS
3 EPIC THINGS
Want more variety? Make up your own lists!
(For example, Three Unexpected Things or Three Peaceful Things.)
Meditation with a Spark
Visit BoldGratitude.org and scroll down to find “Meditation with a Spark”. Then find a quiet spot for this 5 minute practice.
“Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”–ALBUS DUMBLEDORE
Transforming gratitude into a habit might just be one of the most rewarding endeavors you’ll undertake. As we’ve seen, it’s not about grand gestures but the small, daily steps that culminate in a profound change. Remember, though, to elevate these steps into a ritual, remaining mindful and engaged in the practice. That’s where the magic lies.
In Part 3, we’ll delve into how bold gratitude can ripple outward, influencing not just our own lives but those around us. Until then, keep journaling, and remember: consistency is key to crafting the art of bold gratitude, but intentionality transforms it into a ritual.
Excerpts from Bold Gratitude: The Journal Designed For You & By You written by Lainie Rowell and designed by Allyson Liu, published by IMPress Books, June 2023
Also in this series:
- Part 1: Unraveling the Science and Significance of Journaling
- Part 3: The Positive Ripple Effect of Bold Gratitude