How to Start a Gratitude Journal: The Three Keys of Gratitude

We hear all the time that gratitude is important. One great way to practice gratitude is to create a Gratitude Journal. Today I’m sharing how you can start a gratitude journal and the three key elements you need so that you stick with it!

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Highlights From the Episode:

It is finally November, and it is time to start thinking about thankfulness and showing gratitude. And so today, I wanna show you how you can start a gratitude journal that you’ll actually stick with. And I’m gonna share three keys to gratitude. Let’s get started.

Welcome back to “The Renewed Mind.” I am your host, Ashley Varner, and I am so thankful that you are here, that you are back, to just really get some mindset tools so that you can grow in the Lord and also just in your own personal development.

So today, I wanted to talk to you guys about having a gratitude journal. And this is something that is all over the place, but I really wanna give some practical ways that you can start a journal of gratitude but stick with it. And then also seeing those things that sometimes are the reason why people don’t stick with their gratitude journals.

Be Consistent

So I wanted to start by talking about the importance of being consistent. One of the keys to gratitude is being consistent, every single day, being grateful. Because honestly, gratitude is not a task just to be marked off, right? It is more of an attitude that needs to be practiced and developed.

And so we know that our thoughts are what contribute to our emotions, and then our emotions dictate our actions. If you want to live a life of gratitude. If you wanna show other people that you’re really appreciative of them. Then it needs to start with your thoughts. And there’s no better way than to be consistent in your thoughts of really practicing gratitude every day.

That means that you might need to get out a journal and start writing it. You could also just get a note on your phone and just start adding things that you’re grateful for. You can have a running list. But really, it’s about just practicing this as an attitude more than just a task on your to-do list.

We’ve all seen those, you know, it girl routines or those morning routines where people are showing you their perfect ideal mornings and having gratitude. Or listing three things that they’re thankful for always seems to be on these lists. And don’t get me wrong, that is a great habit to have. I think it’s a great way to start your day.

But ultimately, it can’t just be something that is on your task list to say, “Oh, I need to be grateful for three things. Let me write them down.” It needs to be a consistent attitude that comes through. And really, it’s about being thankful to who? To the Lord, right?

We wanna make gratitude be part of our daily communication with God. It’s not just… There’s not really a point to just being thankful to no one or to the universe, or even to yourself. But it’s about being thankful to the Lord for what he’s given you.

I just heard a worship song and it said, “I am not enough unless you’re here.” And I love that because it tells me that everything that I have belongs really to him. And if I have anything in this life, it is because of him and his goodness. And so out of that humble heart is where we start to show gratitude. But it needs to be something that becomes consistent… and I don’t even wanna call it a habit, but a practice of every day really showing and expressing our gratitude to the Lord.

Be Specific

The second key to being grateful, and also another key in building a gratitude journal is to be specific. So I have a lot of people who ask me. Well, I just wanna list off three things every day that I’m thankful for. And it’s easy to come up with those things, especially if you start to have, like, the same things over and over. Like, I could be grateful every day for my husband, for my kids, and you know, my home, all those things. But it is important to be specific.

I want to give you a challenge. Instead of listing, like, five things that you’re grateful for, I want you to list one thing that you’re grateful for and then list five reasons why you’re grateful for it. So instead of just saying, “I’m grateful for my home,” I can say, “I’m grateful that my home has air-conditioning. I’m thankful that my home comfortably fits my big family.”

See how being more specific, really helps with digging deeper to why you’re thankful. And I think that ultimately shows more gratitude than just listing off the things that you have because you’re seeing the reason why you’re thankful. You’re seeing more specific details about why you’re thankful. And this doesn’t really have much more for me to explain in great detail because you guys understand what I’m saying.

It’s important to be specific. Just like whenever you’re setting goals and I tell you to be specific in your goals, be specific in the things that you’re thankful to the Lord for because he wants to hear all the little details. There are things that God put in this universe that he didn’t have to do it, right? He didn’t have to add all of these things, but he did them because he loves us. God added things in, like, the color on a butterfly’s wings or even just the changing of the seasons, right? He didn’t have to do that, but he wanted to do that. And so we can be really thankful and be as specific in the things that we’re thankful for as he was whenever he created all of these things.

Be Creative

The third tip on creating a gratitude journal that you’ll actually stick with, as well as the last key to gratitude, is to be creative. So what’s really easy for us to be thankful for all those obvious things in our lives? You know, I really want to encourage you, it’s important to be thankful, you know, for your spouse and your kids every day. I’m not saying don’t be grateful for them, but I really want to encourage you to try to go a full month without repeating anything in your gratitude journal.

Whenever you’re listing off things, or you’re thinking about and expressing your gratitude to God, I want you to try not to repeat anything. And if you do have to repeat some things on your list, then maybe list different reasons why you’re thankful. Because when we can get creative when we can really see beyond just, you know, the four walls of our home or the small community that we’re in. We start to see the greatness and the goodness of God. And being creative is something that he gave us.

That’s even something that you can be thankful for to the Lord, is your creativity, your imagination, and your ability to come up with different things. But realize that it’s not just about being thankful, but it’s about seeing who you’re thankful for.

Whenever you’re thankful for different things and you get creative about all of the different things that God has given you, or that you are thankful for in your life, you start to see a little bit more of his character more and more.

That is all that I have for you guys today. I want to encourage you to start a gratitude journal. You don’t have to go out and buy one. You can use the notes app on your phone, or I’m sure if you’re like me, you have plenty of notebooks just sitting around ready to use. But make it an attitude more than just a daily task.

Be thinking about the person of Christ that you are thankful to and go out of that heart. So out of that humble heart that says, “God, I am so thankful that you died on the cross for me, that you love me enough to provide for me, that I have favor in your eyes, that I am your child, that I was able to hear your word.”

All of those things. Those are things you can be thankful for. But whenever you do it out of your thoughts and your heart, that’s when it becomes a regular practice. Because it’s not just about, you know, marking off the things on your to-do list, but it’s about creating thankfulness as part of your personality. And gratitude is part of your character. And that is what is going to help you in any other area.

If you’re wanting to cultivate gratefulness, that’s why, is because you wanted to become part of who you are. You wanna have the kind of personality and the kind of spiritual walk that encompasses this idea of being thankful. All right, that’s all that I have for you. Make sure to tune in every week in November for more videos all about thankfulness.

I will see you guys next time.

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- Ashley Varner

it’s my goal to reach every Christian mom with the truth that God wants to transform their life by renewing their mind.

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