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How To Start A Gratitude Journal

by Evelyn on November 23, 2010

A gratitude journal is very similar to a diary. However, the difference is that you mainly have positive things to write in a gratitude journal.

Gratitude Journal
(List your favorite things in your gratitude journal)

While you can rant and rave in your diary, a gratitude journal is meant to uplift you. It connects you with good feeling thoughts. The aim of keeping a gratitude journal is to write down the things that make you happy and that for which you are grateful for.

What Note Pad To Get

A gratitude journal need not be one in fancy paper. You can get one at a very low cost. Note books that cost less than ten dollars are available at many outlets.

Of course, you can choose a notepad with a pretty cover if you wish to. After all, you would like it to conjure beautiful thoughts. What is more important is not how the cover looks like but the content that you fill the notepad with. Most certainly, you would want to get one that has many pages which can last for a long time.

Of course, if you are one of those who prefer to type, you can also choose to use an ipad or your laptop. My ipad contains a few pages of gratitude affirmations, from thanking my family to the home I have and the things I am already enjoying each and every day. There are also iphone applications that makes it convenient for you to express your gratitude, even though what is needed is really a notepad.

Your Entries in A Gratitude Journal

Even when you are feeling down, it is important that you write something positive. Doing so compels you to see the positive side of things. Writing from a more enlightened perspective helps you get out of your slump. It happens when you are write about the lessons that you have managed to learn from your negative experiences. A later review allows you to know that you will be able to create a better response should a similar event arise in the future. Hence, maintaining a gratitude journal is having low-cost therapy which you can easily self administer.

Should you have habitual negative thinking, then consider the use of a gratitude journal. It can prove to be a lifesaver. Your gratitude journal is an affirmation on a daily basis that you can also have positive experiences. Your focus is now on the bright rather than the dim sparks. You would realize that not everything about your life suck. Making your entries cause you to note what you can be grateful for and offer you hope for a new day.

While most people write gratitude journals at the end of a day, you can do so at any time of the day. A list of at least five items is ideal but really there is no restriction to the number of things you can write. These entries can be about anything positive that has happened during the day; such as, getting praise at work, your children telling you that they love you or receiving unsolicited assistance while you were carrying grocery to your car. It can also be about the joyful things that you did in the day as well. These include helping a handicapped person across the street, running an errand for your colleague, or baking a cake for your neighbor.

How To Record A Gratitude Journal

Writing a gratitude journal can be done in any way that you want to. You can write an essay, use bulleted list, do it in point form, or even write poetry. Don’t just think in words. Think pictures. Make drawings or use photos.

Gratitude Journal 2
(Gratitude: It’s the little things we share that add up to one Big Love!)

Alternatively, like me, you can also use scrapbooking as your way of saying thanks to the universe. Glue your handiwork onto your journal or have a separate gratitude journal for your more creative ideas. The idea is to have lots of fun while you are doing your gratitude journal.

All in all, make it a point to start a gratitude journal. If you have guessed by now, you would realize that I have gratitude journals in all forms. It’s how I keep myself uplifted :-)

Express Your Gratitude

What might you list as things that you are grateful for in the last 11 months? Share your list in the comments box below!

Abundance always,

evelyn lim signature

P.S. This article is my submission for this month’s Personal Development Campfire. My thanks to Eric Watermolen (the leader of the fire) and all my blogger friends/coaches in the personal development field. Love you guys!!

What is the Personal Development Campfire?
Imagine all your favorite personal development bloggers gathered around a campfire. Campfires are great center pieces of relaxed and free flowing conversations. Think of all the wonderful conversations and the wealth of topics that might arise. That’s the idea behind the Personal Development Campfire. Your favorite bloggers all gathered together discussing a new topic every month. (Bloggers click here for details on participating in the Personal Development Campfire.)

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Suzie Cheel November 23, 2010 at 10:45 am

What a wonderful post, I like a book with good quality paper and recently have used ones that have lines, a departure from my normal blank artist journals that I usually make a cover for.
I have also done this as a blog what Am I Grateful for today, challenged to keep up both.
So over the past 11 months I am grateful for :
Des’s love- having a soulmate and life partner who supports me through the highs and lows, such a blessing
love Suzie
Blogging and social media as it allows me to stay in touch with like minded friends and meet new like minded souls
Where I live that each day I get to walk on a pristine beach and swim in clear clean water.
Sitting here looking out on a garden with birds tweeting, the sun shining native shrubs flowering, and the jacaranda in bloom
and that’s just for starters :)

Alien Ghost November 23, 2010 at 10:55 am

Hi Evelyn,

To be honest, first time I hear about a Gratitude Journal, but the idea seems really good, as a way to “collect” all the great things that, normally, would go unseen in everyday, busy life.

We do tend to see just the problems and disregard the so many great little and big things we do enjoy, mostly taken as granted. This Gratitude Journal, as you mention, could really be a life saver for many in moments of feeling down, specially because it will contain the good things that are proper of the specific person and not just “generic blessings”

Great idea! :)


Claire - Gratitude Connection November 23, 2010 at 11:35 am

This is a beautiful post and you’ve done a wonderful job of setting out the many benefits of a gratitude journal, and how to keep one. I love that I’ve learnt something new from reading it – I have never thought to use scrapbooking as a way to keep a gratitude journal. Which leads me to what I’m grateful for today, and for the past year – endless opportunities to learn new things, meet new people, develop new skills and have new experiences. Have a lovely day :)

The Vizier November 23, 2010 at 11:58 am

Hi Evelyn,

It’s nice to see that you too are a part of the Personal Development Campfire this month! 😀

I think that if people are in the habit of thinking negative thoughts, a good exercise would be to write out those negative thoughts and reframe it into a positive one.

Say a person thinks that he is not good enough to do public speaking. He might feel that he would get laughed at or bore his audience. Reframing it positively, he could prepare his speech, read up on public speaking and join a toastmasters club to practice. With practice and preparation, he will be able to better his public speaking. This positive experience can then be entered into the gratitude journal. In fact, if one has lots of negative thoughts, it is actually a goldmine of things to be grateful for if they were to take the time to reframe and overcome each one.

I am grateful for Han of Harmony and making all the new friends and connections through it. I have learned a lot and will continue to do so.

Thank you for sharing this article! :)

Hilary November 23, 2010 at 5:21 pm

Hi Evelyn .. everyday there are little things we should be thankful .. and the important things of life we will for ever be thank ful for – just remembering and saying them as we go about our day. I love how you illustrate and portray all your work .. and the ipad makes life so much easier .. lucky you! I’m dreaming now ..

Have a great week .. you’re so right re gratitude .. be thankful .. Hilary

Eric | Eden Journal November 23, 2010 at 8:42 pm

Hey Evelyn,
I’m so excited to see you joining the Personal Development Campfire this month. I always love seeing the creative ways you craft positive energy into physical forms.

I think an abundance journal would actually be a fun activity to do with my daughter. She loves to draw and color, and she’s learning to write. It would be a very fun and rewarding experience that the whole family could share in.

Today I am thankful for good friends. I recently had a friend recommend an air conditioner repair person. It’s often hard to find good service for things of this nature, and the person my friend recommended did a fantastic job. He was friendly and honest. He wouldn’t even take my money until he verified a couple days later that the problem was fixed. And because of this recomendation from a good friend, I have something else to be thankful for: good honest people.

Zeenat{Positive Provocations} November 23, 2010 at 10:02 pm

Hi Evelyn,
I just left a comment at Suzie’s blog and shared how I keep a gratitude journal..and here you are talking about them. Oh how in sync :)
I love having a gratitude journal…it keeps me positive and happy no matter what. Its amazing when we truly focus on gratitude, we start noticing even the smallest blessing in our life and are thankful for it. I feel its imperative to keep a gratitude journal for everyone….its one way to stay in positivity everyday.
I love all the forms of your gratitude journal :) especially pink..its my favorite color :)
Lots of love,

Jim November 23, 2010 at 10:48 pm

When I wake up in the morning I say “thank you.” Then I start to go over all the things I an grateful for. It is a great way to start the day! I will begin to now write them down and refer to the journal every time I find myself straying from a positive attitude!!

The attitude of gratitude!!

Elmer November 24, 2010 at 1:00 am

Thank you Evelyn for continuing to inspire people!
I’ll start a blog as my gratitude journal.

Sara November 24, 2010 at 4:32 am


For a long time, I kept a gratitude diary and then I stopped. I appreciate the reminder to consider this again. It really does help me stay positive. I also love reading back over the entries, it’s makes me happy all over again to remember what made thankful and happy:~)

Alex Blackwell November 24, 2010 at 5:50 am

Thanks for a simple process to follow Evelyn.

I have always considered starting a gratitude journal, but I really didn’t know the best approach to take. Thanks for sharing yours – it gives me the motivational to start one.


Chris Edgar November 25, 2010 at 9:31 am

Thanks for asking that question — I’m very grateful for having so many people in the world who support me in what I’m doing and have faith in me. There’s almost nothing more I could really ask for than that. I’m also grateful to you for reminding me of that. :)

Joy November 28, 2010 at 7:08 pm

Hi Evelyn,
I too wake in the morning with a thank you for this day and a smile for the potential magic…
I keep a gratitude journal..I also go outside most evenings and thank the stars for shining and the specifics about that day..
Regardless of external, there is much to be thankful for..that I am in *this* day for one..and the list expands as I focus on the good.
I take it one step farther..when I am relating with someone I always ask, what has been the best part of this day for you so helps keep positive energy in the conversation and also to open the door for positive connecting.

Jessica November 29, 2010 at 3:03 pm

Evelyn, Thank you for sharing this post on Gratitude!! I had started a gratitude journal on Oct 3rd this year, things were starting to really take off and become wonderful! Every morning I write three things I am grateful for, a good sleep, wonderful dreams, or even just to wake up healthy another day! Then in the evening I write out a minimum of 5 things I am grateful for and they are usually experiences from throughout the day. The great thing about this book is that as you had said, a journal can be a place to gripe and we can all do that well, but to take the time to write in a gratitude book, takes thought and happy thoughts that sometimes are harder to come by if you are used to complaining so we automatically learn to change our thoughts and in turn, change our lives! There were a couple of weeks where I was in transition. I was packing and moving so I never found time to write, my life started to crumble until a couple of days ago when I picked it back up. Now beautiful things are happening all around me again! I have found it is not just an important part of my day, but a vital one! I hope someone can find this helpful! Have a wonderful week!

Barbara Swafford November 30, 2010 at 12:49 pm

Hi Evelyn,

I’ve kept a gratitude journal for several years (not always consistently) and what I found was what I’m grateful for is not the material things many of us dream of having, but little things such as the birds I’m able to feed in the feeder just outside my office window, or a light rain which saves me from watering the grass.

I find by writing in mine early in the day it sets the mood for the rest of the day. I find I’m in a more positive mood and even those “little things” don’t get me down, like they may have in the past.

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