Once I realised that I was capable of change, and when I noticed that I’d developed a habit of making porridge each morning, I decided that it was time for me to start a new habit. A habit of recording each day three things that I’m grateful for. Developing a grateful mindset has been found to be one of a number of key principals that enable happiness.

There are a number of ways you can do this:

  • buy a blank notepad or book. Just write each day.
  • buy a specific notebook or journal. A quick search on Amazon etc and you’ll find several alternatives.
  • buy a specific app. Again, search Google apps etc for gratitude and you’ll be given a number of options

You have a number of options on how to do this, but you know you best, and so whilst I chose an app, you should chose the method that suits you best.

Now my specific goal was to write down 3 things each day. When I started out, I’d do this last thing at night, but then I realised that this didn’t work for me. When I go to bed, I want to switch off, and this activity needs some thought. So, I switched from doing this at night, to doing this first thing in the morning, and this works well for me. Now each morning I:

  • get up
  • make a cup of tea
  • take my tablets
  • do my gratitude journal
  • watch a TED talk
  • then get on with my day.

Personally, I’ve found that by stacking this new habit with existing habits (get up, make tea) that it’s starting to become engrained. It’s not automatic like the porridge habit, but this will come with time and practice.

When you’re developing a new habit, be mindful of the practical stuff, and if one way doesn’t work, try another. And on the way, remove as many obstacles to developing the habit as you can, for example, I chose a gratitude app because once I’ve done the journal it’s easy to switch to the TED app.

Our brains are wired to love habits. Each time we repeat an action, a neutral pathway develops, like when you create a pathway in grass by walking the same path. The more you repeat the habit, the stronger the pathway. The Happiness Advantage taught me that not only can you teach an old dog new tricks, but that our brains are actually designed to keep learning and growing!

Happiness is not the belief that we don’t need to change:

it is the realization that we can

Shawn Achor

Further reading:

Take care for now

Karen x