Last year a friend told me about a unique journal called “One Line a Day,” which spans a 5-year period. Each page in the journal is for a particular month and day (e.g., January 1) and there are 5 different spaces on each page for each year 2018, 2019, etc. You write an entry for a particular day like January 1, 2018. The next day you flip to the next page to fill in the entry for January 2, 2018. You continue writing through all 365 days of the year in this manner, and when 2019 arrives, you return to the beginning of the book to fill in the 2nd entry space for the January 1 page. The beauty of this journal concept is that not only does it make journal writing manageable through simple and short entries, but there’s also an easy mechanism to read your entries over time.
As a family we try to practice gratitude daily, either by writing in gratitude journals or just by saying one thing we are grateful for before bedtime. With the start of the New Year, I wanted to change things up a bit to keep the novelty of our gratitude practice and to start a new family tradition that we can all easily maintain.
My husband and I got the “One Line a Day” journals last year, but we added both our littles to the mix this holiday season. Now all four of us have the same exact journal, each one labeled with our first initial. Our girls were very excited about this gift. We focused our “One Line a Day” on one thing we are grateful for.
Yesterday night we did our first journal entry as a family. My 3-year old can’t read and write yet, but she verbalized what she was grateful for -“cuddling her family after waking up.” I wrote the entry and gave her some room to scribble. We also have the journals lined up in a central spot in the house so it stays top of mind for all of us.
Time and time again, the practice of gratitude has shown to have great benefits- from reducing toxic emotions, to lowering stress and improving immunity. There’s research that shows that gratitude can actually rewire your brain with positive “lasting effects” for both littles and bigs, helping to “train the brain to be more sensitive to the experience of gratitude down the line, which could contribute to improved mental health”.
The research also shows that the benefits of gratitude take time to take effect, so having a consistent “attitude of gratitude” can help us gradually incur the benefits. Maintaining a gratitude practice is not always easy and takes discipline, so changing things up, doing the practice as a family, making it fun and creative will all be part of the magic to keep our gratitude practice alive. The “One Line a Day” journals seems like a great way to kickstart a healthy habit that we can hopefully maintain for a long time.
What gratitude practices are you trying for the New Year?