How was your week? Did you keep up with your gratitude journal?

I did – even if it wasn’t until the next day some days! I have to admit that keeping a gratitude journal at night was a lot harder than I thought it would be, and this coming week, I’m going to try doing it as part of my morning routine.

Let’s talk a bit about habits.

According to Charles Duhigg in his book The Power of Habit, there are three parts to a habit: the trigger, the actual action, and the reward. Understanding this, helps us to build new habits. Here it is, applied to my gratitude project.

  1. The trigger. So, if I want to start writing a gratitude journal daily, the trigger could be after I brush my teeth, I write in my journal for a few minutes before turning off the light. The trigger should be consistent for this to work. For example, I brush my teeth every night. I don’t watch a movie every night. Brushing teeth – good trigger; watching a movie – not a good trigger)
  1. The habit. Writing in my journal.
  1. The reward. Intrinsic rewards are best, and rewards can be small. For most of my habits, the satisfaction of checking it off my list has been enough.  I know that the rewards for writing a gratitude journal are many – including physical health, self-esteem, and mental strength. (See this Psychology Today article.)

I think the reward is where my problem starts. Since I’ve already checked my list for the day by the time I go to bed, I didn’t get the quick satisfaction of the checkbox and growing streak that I get for my other habits. (I use an app called Habit List for that.)

Since I have a great morning routine, I’m thinking of writing my gratitude journal in the morning this week. I’ll let you know how it goes.

How about you? Is gratitude becoming a habit?