Journaling is a popular activity highly recommended by many self-help guru’s and motivational speakers. The reason they recommend journaling? Simple: it works to create more gratitude and self-growth in your life, to keep you living in appreciation, and to help you reach your goals and dreams.

Writing down things you are grateful for daily is also a fantastic way to cultivate a more positive state of mind. Need some tips to get you going? Grab your notebook and choose from the following:

Start by being thankful.

Write down things, people, events and places that you are thankful for. You can do this upon waking, perhaps over a cup of coffee or tea, as a reflective way to appreciate your life and all that’s in it. Alternately you can do it at night, taking a few minutes to write down any thoughts and moments you appreciated that day – the moments that brought a smile to your face or a warm feeling in your heart.

Don’t feel obligated.

If you put pressure on yourself to journal daily, you may feel resentful or put it off even more. Journal when you have down time, when it’s quiet, when you feel troubled, when you feel exuberant, but always when you want to, not at a set time.

Start with the basics.

Many people don’t know where to start. Start at the beginning. Start with the daily things you recognize as sustaining and nurturing your life. An example could be “I’m grateful every day I have food to eat, that I’m never hungry, that I’m never cold , that I live in a beautiful home that shelters me and makes me feel safe.” You’ll find yourself expanding on these sentiments each day.

Don’t stick to a plan.

Some days you may want to write a short list. Other days you may write a whole paragraph. Still others you may fill pages and pages. Just go with it.

Say Thank you! 

You can write as if you are writing to a God or higher source, to a friend or even to yourself.  Write “Thank you for my ability to enjoy nature” or  “Thank you for my healthy body.” Two of the most powerful words we can say are thank you. Do you say it often enough?

Everyone is in your life for a reason.

Take time to be thankful for everyone and to appreciate all they offer you, even if the relationship is, at times, a struggle. Writing can often help you see more clearly how someone is bothering you or how he challenges you as a person – or simply how she bring out the best in you through their unconditional love.

Journaling can help you reach goals. 

Once you have a specific goal, wish or dream on paper, you can write down the steps you took that day to get closer to your goal. Recognize the emotion and applaud yourself for working on your goal. Commit to doing it often. If something doesn’t go right, hold yourself accountable and re-design the steps you will take in order to get back on track.

Keep your journal handy.

Take time to re-read it your entries. You can do this once a week, once a month or just whenever the urge strikes you. When reading mine, I often get teary and overwhelmed with appreciation and all I have been blessed with. Gratitude is a strong emotion and taking the time to feel it is humbling and empowering at the same time.

Journaling can help you transform your life into one of more gratitude, joy and harmony. It can help you turn confusion into clarity, make sense of events and help you see the good in every situation. It also brings a peaceful feeling into your heart and helps you create better tomorrows by living in appreciation.