After a tough 2011, a very good friend bought me a journal as a Christmas gift. I unwrapped the beautiful, handmade notebook and instantly thought great, a new notepad for meetings.
But the gift came with a caveat.
It was mine to use every day, but only to record the good things that happen. Everything that had a positive effect on my day, made me smile, made me laugh, made me grateful, was to be noted down.
I’d never wrote a journal or kept diary in my life. I struggle to blog or write regularly, preferring to read or listen to others instead. And I thought I’d struggle with writing daily. I thought it would become a chore.
Its funny how quickly something can become a habit. I’ve wrote in my “happy book” as I call it every single day for 4 whole years. 4 years. I can’t quite believe how quickly those 4 years have passed.
Every night before I sleep, I think about the day gone by and I write down as many positive things as I can remember. A text that made me smile, the birds I saw eating the fat balls in the garden that morning, my favourite song on the radio, a walk with Buster, an exciting new project, the sun shining, a phone call from a client, a great home grown dinner, a long hot bath, a hug.
Small things, things you might not think that significant or just take for granted day to day.
Each year over the Christmas break we, Lee and I, make a trip to buy a new book, and that book travels with me everywhere I go. Last year to Australia, Paris, Cornwall, Brighton, Oxford, Dorset, Wales and Italy. I never miss a day.
I can flick through any of the books and be reminded of something good that happened, every single day for the past 4 years, but this isn’t about burying my head in the sand. I read and I watch the news, I don’t hide or shy away from the real world or the atrocities that occur all too often.
Why has this become such an ingrained part of my life? Why do I bother to do it?
I do it because I sleep better. I go to bed thinking of the good things that have happened and not much else.
I do it because even on the very worst of days, when your world has been turned upside-down on its head, something good has happened, no matter how small or how hard it was to find.
I do it because it makes me appreciate all the small things that are actually the big things in my life. And I do it because it makes me happy.
Give it a try.