The Habit I’ve Been Missing


I’ve been feeling a bit unfocused as I think about what to share with you this week. My schedule has been busier than usual, filled with extra family time and fun activities. The additions to my schedule have been good things, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t distracted me from the practices that keep me engaged with my day-to-day life. My journaling, in particular, has been sporadic at best.

Last year at this time, I was in the process of moving to a new house. While I’m not in the middle of a big life shift this year, the little things can interrupt our lives too. Between having a few extra entries on my calendar and the shifting seasons, I needed this reminder to restart the three little lists that anchor my days. I hope revisiting one of my favorite habits sparks some helpful ideas for your own daily routines.

I’ve been feeling a bit disconnected lately. I guess it’s not surprising. I just moved to a new home, my stuff is still in random piles and boxes, and I’ve yet to settle back into any sort of daily routine. One habit I’ve been missing most is journaling.

Over the past few years my journal has become one of my greatest tools for staying connected with myself and what’s going on around me. Normally I write a few stream of consciousness pages each morning, but I’ve only journaled a few times in the past month.

I miss my morning pages and how much they help me identify and process what’s going on in my head and my heart. I hadn’t realized, however, how much the last three lines of each journal entry anchor me in my day-to-day life.

No matter what I’ve been writing about, the final three lines of the last page are reserved for three tiny lists.

The first line is a list of gratitude. I think back over the previous day and acknowledge the things I feel grateful for—both the momentous and the mundane. I’m quick to get caught up in everything that’s wrong or stressful, but gratitude isn’t just for when everything is amazing. Seeking gratitude helps me see a fuller picture and reminds me to pay attention to the moments I don’t want to miss.

The second line is a list of evidence that I am loved. Deep down there are parts of me that question whether I’m actually lovable. I can get so distracted trying to assess whether or not people like me that I miss the ways I’m shown love. Again, there are occasionally grand gestures, but most days it’s the little things—an email from a friend, my husband making breakfast, an acquaintance asking how I’m doing. I need this daily reminder to stop questioning whether I’m worthy of love and start noticing the love in my life.

The third line lists evidence that I’m good enough. I almost never accomplish as much as I want to in a day. When I look around I see so many people who appear to be doing more and doing better. It’s easy to start believing I’ll never do enough or be enough. Recording what I did accomplish, when I did act in alignment with my values, and where I did show up as who I want to be turns my attention from all the ways I think I fall short and reminds me of who I am and what I am doing. Acknowledging the little ways I’m doing well gives me a lot more momentum than criticizing myself for not being better.

Each list is only one line in my journal. I intentionally keep them small. There’s no pressure to compete with the day before. They take only a moment to complete. Every morning these three little lines pull my thoughts from complaints, fear, and criticism and direct them toward gratitude, love, and worthiness.

As much as unpacking boxes and arranging cabinets, returning to my daily practice of journaling and tiny lists will help me reconnect with myself and the world.

I’d love to know…do you journal? What practices anchor your day? What happens when you let them slip by the wayside? What are you grateful for? How are you loved? What can you call good enough?