How to Start a Gratitude Journal

Gratitude Journal

You want to be happier right?


Then let’s start with your mindset.

I started this site in 2008, when I was struggling with my work happiness. I was having a particularly bad day because I was being forced to move offices. I really didn’t like this change because I enjoyed the co-workers that I was surrounded by. They could always make me laugh.

As I stewed in my anger, my friend walked in and noticed that I was in a bad mood.

“Hey, Karl.” Tom said, then paused. “Man, you look like someone stuck their boot up your ass,” Tom said. “What’s going on?”

As soon as Tom acknowledged my anger, it released. I was lucky to have a friend like Tom.

I knew that when I switched offices I was going to need a few tools to be able to release my tension on my own.

I can’t remember where I actually learned about the career gratitude journal, but it has saved me on many days when I have felt like ripping out my hair.

This is how a career gratitude journal works:

At the end of every day you write down three things that you are grateful for.

Here’s an example:

Personal Gratitude Journal

This is actually taken directly from one of my journal entries. Please no jokes about my lousy handwriting and my 2nd grader drawings. 🙂

I don’t write in my gratitude journal every day any more, but when I’m feeling down I bust out my journal and let the gratitude flow.

At first it can seem tough, but I have never had trouble thinking of 3 things I’m grateful for when I get into the right mindset.

4 Gratitude Journal Rules

1. Be Specific

I actually don’t do this very well as you can see from the image, but the drawings help solidify specifics for me.

2. Be consistent.

Write at least 3 things you are grateful for every day for 30 days. It will change your life. I promise.

3. Write “I’m grateful for…”

At the top of every entry you write “I’m grateful for…” because you want to help solidify why you are writing your entry. This helps develop a positive mindset before you even begin writing.

4. Review Your Journal Every 30 to 60 Days

There are few things more uplifting when you are feeling down than taking out your gratitude journal and reading over a few entries. This also helps trigger a more positive attitude.

That’s it!

You don’t need a fancy app. Although I have used Evernote on my iPhone when I didn’t have my journal with me.

I actually like writing on paper because I like to draw little images with each entry. Little doodles and drawings can convey feelings that words might not be able to. Here is a cool article (PDF) about Doodling Expert Sunni Brown.

I suggest creating a journal to write in at the end of each work day. The journal doesn’t need to be fancy. Could be a spiral notebook.

All you need to do is just ask yourself:

“What did I enjoy about my workday?”

Then let it flow. If you want to write more than 3 things you are grateful for, be my guest. The more gratitude the better.

Then come back and let us know how powerful your gratitude journal experience was for you. How did it change your perspective and your relationships?

Your Turn

What are 3 things that you are grateful for today? Please share with the Work Happy Now community in the comments section or our Facebook group. This is a great place to kick start your 30 day gratitude journal challenge.


  1. Yes indeed, Karl! I’ve never been so thankful for everything and for everyone else including YOU for being part of my spiritual life.


    • Karl Staib - WHN Author and Speaker says:

      Hi Ross! I’m so grateful that you and everyone else who is a part of this community. It’s been a huge part of why I wake up with a smile on my face, ready to enjoy the day. My gratitude journal changed my life and I’m still reaping the rewards. I hope that just a few thousand people start keeping a daily gratitude journal because of this post. 🙂

  2. I write inside a journal constantly but thats just random ideas. Additionally I’m attempting to write a novel however i begin with an overview after which move from there. 🙂

    • Karl Staib - WHN Author and Speaker says:

      Hi Korah! I believe all journaling is good journaling. As for a book. They are a lot of fun and a lot of work. I think to key to writing a good book is consistency. Try to find time to write every single day.

  3. Hi Karl,

    Thank you for this post! I’ve attempted to start gratitude journals a few times, but I never thought of doing one specifically geared towards career. I like the idea of being more specific. I’m a paper and pen gal too but I started using this site, which is cool in that you can see other people’s gratitude posts as well. So not only do I feel good reviewing my own entries like you said, but I feel a lot of positivity from reading strangers’ posts.

    • Karl Staib - WHN Author and Speaker says:

      Hi Nina! The more specific you are with your gratitude journal the more joy you will get out of it. Looking back a month ago and seeing little emotional snapshots that I saved with words and images has changed my life.

  4. I love the article! Gratitude feels so important. When I am grateful with all my heart, it’s like the negative feelings leave my body.

    With that in mind, I’ve done something a bit different – I’ve started using a gratitude jar. Whenever something awesome happens, I write it down on a small piece of paper and put that paper in the jar.

    At the end of the year, I look at all the beautiful things that happened to me. It is a superb feeling matched by no other!

    • Karl Staib - WHN Author and Speaker says:

      Hi Mark! I’ve heard of people using a gratitude jar. Would you mind sending a picture of it to me? I would love to share it with the Facebook group.

  5. This is a very very good mindset. Using a gratitude journal helps a lot. makes sense to me. I’m starting mine now! Start yours too!


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