I’ve historically not be big on journaling. Recently, however, I’ve been using an abbreviated daily journal format that’s short and structured vs blank pages staring back a at me. 

The format I use asks me to set priorities and specific time commitments at the beginning of the day, then helps me capture key lessons and observations at the end of the day.

But the most important part of my new journaling ritual is a twice-daily expression of gratitude.  I do it both at the beginning of the day and at the end of the day.

It’s simple and may sound redundant to those who haven’t done it, but I find that explicitly writing what I’m grateful for is incredibly powerful.

Late last year I started sharing some of my “ten lessons from ten years in business” here on the blog.  So far it’s included Putting Values FirstPutting Yourself FirstTwo Types of FocusPower of Thank You, Strategy is Choosing, Plans aren’t as important as Adjustments, Give Freely Without Keeping Score and Nobody Has The Answers You’re Looking For.

Oftentimes what I write that I’m grateful for is repetitive.  I’m grateful for my health, my family, basics like food and safety, a roof over my head and warm place to sleep.  Sometimes I’ll add something specific to what’s going on that day or week.  But the power is in how expressing gratitude explicitly changes and sustains your mindset.

Every day we face adversity.  Every day things go wrong, we lose deals, miss flights, come in second and see others getting ahead, doing more, shining brighter.  And all of that sucks.  But I’ve found making a twice-daily habit of explicit gratitude helps put all of that in perspective.

It raises my game, keeps my energy and focus in a place where I can do the most good and bring the most value to those around me – colleagues, clients, family and more.

My gratitude habit has even more direct business and leadership benefits than that. I’m more patient and focused in tough situations and conversations. I spend less time in an anxious cycle worrying about something either outside of my control or that, ultimately, doesn’t really matter.

Expressing gratitude to those around us important (and I’ve covered that separately in an earlier post from this series).  But acknowledging that for which you are grateful, directly and personally, is where you start.

Simple, fast, powerful.