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.
- 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)
- The habit. Writing in my journal.
- 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?