Going into the new year, I wanted to focus more on gratitude. 2017 was a big year with a lot of changes in my life ㄧ all of which I was immensely thankful for. However, by the end of the year, I realized I spent little time focusing on the positive parts of my life that fill me with gratitude, and instead obsessed over the negative aspects of my life. So, I decided to try a gratitude log.
A gratitude log is essentially a journal, or a section in your everyday journal, in which you write down something that you are grateful for in that moment. Thankfully, my friends know me very well and got me many journals for Christmas, so I was ready to devote an entire book of blank pages to my gratitude for the year. So far, I’ve been writing in this journal (almost) every day for a month and I have … thoughts.
I went into this experience expecting a huge life change. I had watched enough bullet journal tutorials where they rave about their gratitude logs that I believed this was going to change my life. Spoiler alert: it didn’t. Of course, I can’t expect one tiny sentence a day to change my entire perspective and fill my body with copious amounts of the serotonin it seems to be lacking, but I was hoping for a bigger change. While this quarter has been rough so far, I did not expect to be bombarded with as many things going wrong, and at the very least I thought my gratitude log would help. But instead of this journal having magical powers to fix my life, my everyday mostly stayed the same. I have been stressed and homesick, and have probably consumed way too many cups of coffee for one person, but I have also incorporated the word gratitude into my life much more often.
While my gratitude log did not suddenly cure all my suffering, it did, in a sense, shift my perspective. Whenever I would catch myself complaining about my job, I would stop and say, “but I am still very thankful for this job,” or when I would be complaining about my roommate, I would stop and say, “but she’s still the best roommate I could have asked for and am so grateful for her.” While before I would have continued to rant about a long day at work, or all the schoolwork I need to complete that seemed to pile on all at once, now I realize that there is always something to be grateful for.
I still have another eleven months with this journal, so we’ll see if I end up being the most positive person you’ve ever met by the end of 2018. This may not be the life changer that I was expecting, but I would still recommend this small habit for anyone trying to look at the new year with a more positive lens.