The Only New Year’s Resolution I didn’t Abandon

It’s New Year’s, which means it’s that time of year when we all make a resolution that we forget about in two weeks. No need to feel ashamed of that, because we’ve all been there! But as 2016 came to a close, I realized I was still going strong with the resolution I had made myself at the beginning of the year.

I promised myself that I would write down everything that made me happy all 365 days of 2016, and guess what? I’m still doing it.

The Only New Year's Resolution I didn't Abandon: and why you need to start it | College with Cairlyn

Keeping a gratitude journal like this is such a great way to improve your mental state of mind. Writing down what makes you happy, helps you to remember it, and by omitting the negative things, you’re diminishing their power over your emotions. Basically, writing down what makes you happy instantly makes you happier, and helps you stay that way in the long run.

I have absolutely no idea where I got the idea for this little project, but I loved doing it so much. Yes, some days I forgot to do it, or was too exhausted to do it the same day so I had to do it the next morning, but it was worth it.

One thing I did notice the first month was that I was letting how much I had written each day affect my mood. I thought that if I had written less than five or so things that it meant I had a sad and boring life. I got a little stressed and tried to create superficial “happy” experiences just so I had more to write in my journal. Then I realized quantity isn’t nearly as important as quality. I could have 20 mediocre things to write, or I could have five crazy exceptional things to write about and you can bet that I would prefer the latter.

Related: Why Everyone Should Journal & how to start one

Not only did my gratitude journal teach me quality over quantity, but it also showed me that I have so much more to be happy for than I thought.

When something positive happens, I tend to gloss over and forget about it, but when something negative happens I can’t stop thinking about it. Since I end up thinking more about the negative things in life, it seems like there are more negative aspects of my life than there are negative.

Then I started this gratitude journal and I realized I have an abundance of reasons to be happy on any given day.

It may seem like a waste of time or a pain to have to take the time out of your day to jot down just a few simple things, but I promise you it’s life changing.

Plus, it really is amazingly simple. I’m sure you’d get the same outcomes as me even if you just wrote down one thing per day of the year. I mean, that’s still 365 things that make you happy!

Here’s my new journal for 2017 and some example entries:

gratitude journal new year's resolution gratitude journal new year's resolution

gratitude journal example | how to start a journal

So there are some examples of things you can write, and the variance of length in my entries.

I really think this was my best New Year’s resolution ever, and I doubt I’m ever going to be able to top it. I still don’t know what my resolution for this year is going to be, but you can bet I’m going to be continuing this and making it a tradition! I mean, how cool will it be to look back on these in a few years from now?

Have you ever kept a gratitude journal? What was your best New Year’s resolution? What’s your resolution for the year? Let me know in the comments below!

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