Keeping a gratitude journal changed my life. I know! That sounds so dramatic. But it’s the truth. After a really rough year, I decided to make a New Year’s resolution to keep a gratitude journal.
2008 was a doozy for my little family of five. We were self-employed in the construction business and the economy tanked. We had to sell our home and move into a two-bedroom basement apartment because we couldn’t get any new work contracts. My husband had to let his crew go, which we were sued for. I was in and out of the ER with some growing health issues. My husbands Mom passed away suddenly and very unexpectedly. Our little basement apartment caught fire! And my husband cut his arm with a chop saw, which made him unable to do what little work he could get, for almost two months.
I felt like we just couldn’t get a break, and I honestly couldn’t see any light at the end of our very long tunnel. It was getting harder and harder to see the bright side of things. So for New Years of 2009, I decided to keep a gratitude journal. I committed to writing down three things that I was grateful for EACH and every day that year. My hope was that by doing this little practice, I could start to hopefully see that my life wasn’t all that bad. I was hoping that I could find at least 3 things in each day that were good.
I’d like to say it worked right away. But it didn’t. Life was still hard. Some days I really struggled with what to write down. I was thinking about it too much. So, I decided to just write down the little things. Three little things that I was grateful for each day. Once I changed my mindset to acknowledging the little everyday things I began to notice a change. I began to see God’s hand in my everyday life. I was able to recognize His love for me in even the littlest of ways. I am so beyond grateful that I started this practice when I did, because it changed my life a few years later.
So how did keeping a gratitude journal change my life? Back in 2011 our fourth child, my daughter Aria, was born a stillborn. We were heartbroken. And for a time, I was really lost. I was depressed. I was mad. I was bitter. My life didn’t make sense anymore. I didn’t know who I was, or what I was supposed to do with my life. All I knew was that I wanted my daughter.
I got to the point that I was just waking up to go back to sleep. I wasn’t finding joy in my day. I wasn’t seeing the beauty of life. I realized that I wasn’t living a life that I wanted my children to mirror. So I dusted off my old gratitude journal. The habit actually came back quite quickly. I remember literally crying one night as I was writing in my journal because I was finally able to see all the tender mercy’s that came with the trial of my daughter’s stillbirth. I was able to let go of the pain of that night and instead rejoice in love, faith and the truth of eternal families.
The habit of keeping a daily journal of what I am grateful for helps me to see a bigger picture. So I encourage you to start the year off right. Make a New Year’s Resolution that you can keep! Start a gratitude journal. Sometimes when I’m having a hard day, and I’m tired, and the house is a mess, and my teens are being teens, and I don’t want to cook dinner- all I have to do is think of one thing good that happened that day. That one little thing can make everything better. Even if that one little thing was a cookie!
Sometimes it’s easier to feel and cherish the little things.
And if you think about it, when you make a list of all the little things, you could go on being grateful forever.
**This Post was part of a Blog Loop of New Year’s Resolution You will actually want to keep, hosted by
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