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Gratitude Challenge: change a habit in 21 days

Do you want to start a daily gratitude habit but not sure where to start? Or maybe you started a daily gratitude journal but found it hard to keep it going? I can help with my easy gratitude challenge.

It can be difficult to keep the momentum going. Life gets in the way!

Even when you’ve experienced the benefits of journaling your gratitude, it’s easy to get out of the habit.

And before you know it, you’re back in the habit of negative self talk and negative thinking.

Join in the challenge and experience the difference expressing your gratitude makes in your life.

What is a Habit?


noun UK  /ˈhæb.ɪt/ US  /ˈhæb.ɪt/

habit noun (REPEATED ACTION)

something that you do often and regularly, sometimes without knowing that you are doing it:

Cambridge English Dictionary

It takes approximately 21 days for something new to become an established ‘habit.’

The best way to start a daily gratitude habit is to challenge yourself over 21 days.

21 days seem achievable right? That’s because we’re great at working towards a deadline and not some unknown date in the future.

Try my 21 day gratitude challenge and replace the habit of negative thinking with keeping a daily gratitude journal.

Benefits of keeping a gratitude journal

Keeping a gratitude journal is a great way to keep thankful and in a positive state of mind.  And it’s an easy and enjoyable way of boosting happiness.

Learning to be grateful for the things we have rather than continuously seeking the things we don’t have, unleashes the power of optimism in our lives.

As we focus on gratitude for the blessings we have in our lives today, we stop taking them for granted.

Cicero once wrote:

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of all virtues, it is the parent of them.” 

The attitude of never having enough and never being grateful is such a turn off. Others don’t want to be around it because it really drains their energy.

Yet the opposite is true if you radiate gratitude.

You’ll attract more reasons to be grateful and find more reasons to be grateful.

Studies have shown a range of benefits from the simple act of writing down the things for which we are grateful.

Consciously focusing on what we feel and expressing our gratitude means we will start to notice the positive people and events in our lives that we might otherwise take for granted (and stop focusing on the negatives around us).

hand lettering thank you in blue with gold petals around the word

Writing down what you are grateful for regularly will keep your thoughts positive in the longer term by developing a habit of reflecting on the good things in your life.

Training our brains in this way also strengthens relationships because we can see clearly how we’re supported and affirmed by others.

The world feels a lot less lonely when you become aware of just how much support there is around you.

You will experience:

  • improved health
  • improved sleep
  • a strengthened connection with others
  • satisfaction in relationships
  • joy and optimism
  • less anxiety

21 Day Gratitude challenge

I’m going to say it again because it’s important … it takes 21 days for a new habit to start to form.

The synaptic pathways in our brains get used to those signals and the pathway becomes stronger as time passes.

Your challenge over the next 21 days:

  • journal at least 3 things you have been grateful for in your day for 7 days
  • Increase this to 5 things for the following 7 days
  • the remaining 7 days write between 5-10 things you are grateful for  

Don’t panic if you find it difficult.  Don’t give up!  Remember, it takes 21 days to establish a new pattern or habit. 

Persevere and you’ll find the process becomes a normal part of your day.

Journaling your gratitude is most effective if you make the conscious decision to become happier and more grateful. 

So make that conscious decision today and experience for yourself the difference your positive thoughts and feelings will have towards your approach to life.

Your positive attitude will help you survive in the most challenging of situations.

Free Gratitude Journal

Click here to grab your free 7 page gratitude journal printable.

Keeping a gratitude journal will help you focus on the positives when life is a challenge.

When life is grey and you feel like you’re facing challenge after challenge, reading back through what you have written will help you remember the positives around you.

Gratitude Journal Tips

There’s no evidence that journaling at the start of the day is any more effective than journaling before you go to bed. 

You might find that the end of the day is better, reflecting on the day that’s coming to an end. 

Or you might find it helpful at the start of the day, beginning the day in a positive frame of mind. 

Journal whenever it’s suitable for YOU.  This will have much more of an impact on keeping your thoughts positive.

Try to keep it to the same time of day every day to strengthen the habit.

Once you’ve chosen the best time that suits your day, set a reminder on your phone or schedule in your calendar.

Don’t hurry through the time you set aside for your gratitude journaling as if it were just another item on your to-do list. 

This time is special for you to show your gratitude for everything you have experienced in your day.

Keeping a gratitude journal shouldn’t be seen as a chore and something that you should do.  If you begin to feel like this, stop and take a break. Pay attention to your thoughts. Is there a difference from before you started noticing the good things in your life and now? This might be all you need to get you motivated again.

I think it’s important for me to add that we can’t be happy and jolly all the time! There will be times when nothing seems to shift a bad mood or feeling low. This is when we need to identify the emotions we are feeling so we can make a change.

What if I get stuck for something to write?

There’s nothing wrong with being thankful for the basic things in your life but make sure you write down WHY you are grateful.  I am grateful for ___________, because ________________.

Ask yourself “What am I grateful for today? Why am I grateful for this? Why did this good thing happen?”

Try to avoid being thankful for the same things each day.  This will get harder but your awareness and thankfulness will grow.

Challenge yourself to find new things to be thankful for that you’ve never noticed before.

Learn to be genuinely grateful for what you already have and you’ll reduce the need to be constantly seeking more.

You’ll feel genuine appreciation for other’s efforts AND have energy left over to reach out to others from the perspective of being appreciative for what you already have.

Transform the way you approach your life by developing a daily gratitude habit.

Related self-care posts

Free resources in brackets (  )

Gratitude journaling for children

Keeping a gratitude journal isn’t just for adults. 

Studies have shown that the positive effects for children who keep a gratitude journal (counting one’s blessings) are

  • enhanced gratitude
  • optimism
  • life satisfaction
  • children experience a noticeable decrease in negativity therefore helping to keep children’s thoughts positive.  

Get your kids involved with journaling their gratitude. It’s a fun way for them to learn how to express gratitude.

Studies also show that children cope much better through their schooling too.  

Journaling gratitude is such a simple tool to help build resilience.

A great habit to get into!

Gratitude Quotes

Be inspired by the words of others. Which of these 60 gratitude quotes resonate with you? Download and print to add to your journal.

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