Gratitude Journal: The 4 Questions I Ask Myself Everyday

I was recently asked to share about my gratitude journal praxis at ChurchMarketingSucks.com for an article talking about survival methods for the craziness we encounter as church communicators.

So true that when there’s a big event coming, or a PR campaign underway, it’s all a about full throttle, 24/7, all-in mindset, right?!

One of the “counter-measures” that I’ve used in the past is to put something on my calendar that forces me to break away and get into a different mindset.  By the way, if you don’t put it on your calendar, you’ll never get to it.  And it’s also better to get an accountability partner who will ask you every so often if you’ve been faithful to the commitment or not.  Get a close friend and give them permission to give you hell for not staying on course.  It really is important to build those accountability measures into your routine now before you start.

So the simply anti-stress measure is to keep a daily gratitude journal.  You can create a Google Doc and have it wherever you go, you can set-up a new gmail account for this purpose only and email in your daily reflections, or you can go old-school and use this as an excuse to go get another nifty Moleskin blank book for you this season.  Invest in yourself.  It’s worth it.  You’re worth it.

So what exactly do I write about each day?  How do I keep it from becoming an obligatory task?  I’ve set-up 4 simple questions to make it quick and easy to get things down on paper each day.

how to start a gratitude journal
Photo credit: gbSk via Visual Hunt / CC BY

The 4 Questions I Ask Myself Everyday In My Gratitude Journal

Simply take 10 minutes at the end of the day (or the start of your day!) to jot something down in these four categories:

  1. Relationships: Someone I interacted with or remembered that day.
  2. Routine: The small things in life we can take for granted.
  3. Real Things: Something we have that is a blessing—vs. making materialistic things we don’t have an idol.
  4. Realizations: Quotes I read or hear, epiphanies, life lessons.

I have found that continuously being on the hunt for something to write about in these 4 categories helps me balance things during potentially hectic seasons of life and work.

You are the sum of your habits. If you're missing out on gratitude, you're missing out on life. Click To Tweet

HOW I AM AUTOMATING MY JOURNALING

This year, I’ve actually created a Typeform survey (because they’re beautiful) that will be emailed to me everyday (I’m using followupthen.com to automate it) with my four simple questions.  My automating this task, it takes all the friction out of the process.  And increases the likelihood that I’ll actually do it daily. Just think – I don’t have to remind myself, I can respond and write stuff down no matter where I am and the responses get archived into a doc I can review later on and reflect more after the season is at a close.

There are many variations.  And you certainly don’t need to stick to a formal structure like I do, but I find that it just works in getting me to go through with it.

In the past, I’ve also shared my other framework of 5 Questions I Ask at the End of Every Week. 

Everyone’s approach can be quite different. HAVE YOU EVER JOURNALED FOR A SEASON? WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU SIT DOWN TO WRITE?

 

 

 

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