Skip to Content

Things to be thankful for: daily gratitude list templates

Gratitude has immense psychological benefits. However trying to think of ways to keep your gratitude practice meaningful and varied can be challenging. These ideas for creating a daily gratitude list will give you fresh ways to show how thankful you are for the life you’ve been given.

image of a dock on a lake with the text overlay creating a gratitude list things to be thankful for

When I was 26 or 27, I decided to read some of my old diaries. I had them from when I was 12 until when I was 18. They chronicled some very interesting times of my life.

Most of them were funny. Some of them were cringe-worthy. A few of them were very tough. I went through a lot of changes over this time period, including leaving home and living alone at the age of 16.

But it was good to read them – good to see how far I had come in my life.

That diary from when I was 14 though? It was depressing as hell.

Want greater connection in your relationship?

Then you'll want this freebie.

It's called The KISS Connection and it's a FREE 4-step everyday practice that will bring back that loving feeling.

Hit the pink button to grab your free copy today.

That year was the last year I lived with my mom. Reading it took me back to that time in a painful, soul-hurting way that lasted for days.

I eventually decided that a ceremonial burning was the best thing to do with said diary. I put it in a metal bowl, set fire to it and watched all those memories turn to ash.

These days, I still keep a diary of sorts. As part of my Miracle Morning I do daily writing in my bullet journal.

I tend to keep this writing focused on things I am thankful for – things that have happened or feelings I have had in the last 24 hours that keep me grounded in the goodness of my life.

Keeping a gratitude list is a good practice – and one that’s a lot healthier than writing down the depressing details of your existence (although there’s a time and place for that too – don’t get me wrong).

However sometimes doing the standard “three things” can feel a little flat.

I know when I was in a down period it actually made me feel more depressed to be writing the same things to be grateful for every day (my home, my husband, my dogs).

Want fun conversation on your next date night?

Then you'll want this freebie.

Wondering what to talk about on your next date night that's not work, kids or finances?

Grab your free printable question cards now for fun conversation guaranteed.

Hit the pink button to grab your free copy today.

It was like there was nothing else good I could focus on.

That’s when I made an effort to come up with a list of gratitude prompts that would enable me to not only reflect on my day in a positive way, but also to do so in a creative and meaningful manner.

If you’ve ever struggled with making a regular, daily gratitude list, then this is for you!

Oh and if you like the look of the printable gratitude list templates at the bottom of every section, then sign up at the end of this post to have them sent straight to your inbox for free!

The three Ps

The “three Ps” is a simple gratitude list that helps you focus on things to be thankful for in an easy, structured way.

It involves writing down three things, oddly enough starting with the letter P, which make us appreciate life.

The first P stands for a PERSON who has made your life a little better today, even in a small way. It could be as subtle as a smile and warm greeting when you came into work, or a cup of coffee your husband made you in the morning.

The second P stands for a PLEASURE – something you have experienced that day that has made you feel good. I often find that these are associated around the senses – the sound of a child’s laughter, the smell of gardenias, the sight of a sunset.

The third P stands for a PROMISE – this is something that you are looking forward to – a promise for the future. The thing you are anticipating could be later that day (even as simple as a favorite tv show) or an overseas holiday you have planned for later in the year.

image of the 3 ps daily gratitude list

The three Ps take your list of things to be grateful for to the next level.

Positive change

Sometimes in life it seems like we’re not making any progress. Those small daily shifts that over time lead to big results can be difficult to see if you’re not searching for them.

Expressing your gratitude through listing positive changes is one way of making you realize that those small daily steps really do have an impact.

While the nature of the change will of course be dependent on the things you have been working on, these are changes that you could note as part of your gratitude list:

• Increasing steps walked / distance run / reps completed
• Losing weight
• Eating healthily
• Drinking sufficient water
• Sleeping enough
• Meditating
• Managing your mood
• Completing a task that is part of a much bigger task
• Increasing income
• Decreasing debt
• Connecting with others

Once you have decided on the change you want to focus on, use the following gratitude prompt:

Today I [insert what you did, or the goal that you achieved].

This is a positive change since [insert time] where I [ insert event / item].

I am grateful that I have been able to make this positive change in my life because [insert reason].

For example:

Today I was able to drink eight glasses of water. This is a positive change from when I started focusing on this, where I was lucky to have one glass in a day!

I am grateful I am able to make this positive change in my life because it makes me feel more energized and makes my skin look better.

image of the positive changes things to be thankful for printable

A daily gratitude list focused on positive change can help you keep inspired and motivated.

The extraordinary

Another gratitude prompt for your daily reflection can center around the extraordinary.

As one day merges into the next, it’s easy to lose a week, a month, and to feel like life is passing us by.

That’s because the human brain works to merge all like experiences into one.

If you think about your commute, for example, it’s hard to differentiate one day from the other, unless something different, something unusual happens.

When you pull out things to be thankful for that are unique in some way, you stop that blurring in its tracks.
These are moments or experiences you could focus on that are out of the ordinary:

• Awe. Did you have the joy of seeing a rainbow? A sunset?
• Luck. What moments of luck did you have in the day?
• Chance encounters. Did someone cross your path that had an influence on your day?
• Extending your comfort zone. Did you try something today that really stretched you?
• Achievements. Did you achieve something today that you had been working hard towards?

image of the extraordinary gratitude list

A grateful list focused on the extraordinary can be an amazing thing to look back on!

Kindness

Your gratitude list can also be focused around concepts.

Once such concept is the concept of kindness.

This can be both kindness shown to yourself and kindness you showed to others.

When we feel stressed, we tend to feel as though we’re all on our own. No-one is able – or willing – to help us, and we feel overwhelmed.

Using a kindness someone did to you as your gratitude prompt makes you realize that you are not alone. There are people out there supporting you – even in a small way like opening a door – who help to make your life a little easier.

But it’s also important that we focus on the kind acts that we do for others.

Depression and stress can make us almost a little selfish, because we pull into ourselves, and withdraw from others. However, research has shown that “happiness makes us give more, and giving makes us happier, which leads to a greater tendency to give and so on” (source).

Your gratitude prompt can be as simple as:

Kindness was shown to me when…

I showed kindness today when I…

image of the pay it forward gratitude template

Focusing on kindness is a gratitude list example which will make you feel more positive about life.

Your why

If we go back to the beginning, you may remember how I said I was in a rut with gratitude, writing down the same three things every day – my home, my husband, my dogs.
As true as those things were (and still are!) there was one thing that was missing.

The why.

When you write down that thing you’re grateful for, take the time to write down, with as much specificity as possible, to state why you’re grateful for it.

I love my home because it’s beautiful. We built it ourselves and it reflects our style, how we like to live, and more than that, how we were able to turn our dreams into a reality.

When I’m outside in the garden, I feel at peace.

There’s no place in this earth that I’d rather be in than my home.

I think you can see from that small example alone, that thinking about your why enables you to develop your gratitude list into a more meaningful statement that helps to tease out your values and all things you hold dear.

Memories

Another example of a gratitude prompt is to focus on a memory.

A little bit like the “extraordinary” above, this is the moment from the day that you want to hold in your heart – or more accurately on paper – forever.

Writing just one sentence about that one moment can do this.

I want to remember ….

I want to remember the kiss I had with my husband before we left for work.

I want to remember what the grass felt like under my feet when I was forced to go outside at 3.45 am to take the dog to the toilet… and how the sky was clear and I could see the Milky Way above me.

I want to remember how my sweet puppy jumped up and gave me big kisses when I sat on the couch.

Not only do you feel good writing these down, but rereading those memories makes for a beautiful experience.

Image of the today I'll remember gratitude list printable

If you use this gratitude list printable, you’ll be able to see all the goodness of the week at a glance too!

Your body

While all the ideas I’ve presented so far have been well and good, sometimes we go through really sucky times in life.

When we go through those sucky times, it can be hard to think of anything good.

That’s when we have to get deep with our gratitude practice by taking a different look at the things we take for granted.

I have a love hate relationship with my body. I have had problems with my weight in the last few years and that has shaped the way I feel about myself. I know that shouldn’t be the case – but it is.

And I don’t think I’m alone in that. It’s much more likely for us to focus on the negative than the positive. Bad thoughts come easily. The good ones have to be much more intentional.

That’s one of the reasons this gratitude practice is so effective.

Simply name a body part and something it did today that you are grateful for.

For example:

I’m grateful for my hands, for they allow me to type on this keyboard.

I’m grateful for my ears, for they allow me to hear the sounds that make me feel like I am at home.

I’m grateful for my legs for keeping me going on physically when I was tired mentally.

Image of the my amazing body gratitude list template

The physical environment

I get it. Sometimes there feels like NOTHING in your life is good.

That’s okay. We can still feel grateful.

Another example of gratitude prompts for when you don’t feel grateful at all can be around the physical environment.

For example:

I’m grateful for the rain and how it provided the garden with much needed water.

I’m grateful for how the sound of the rain makes me feel cozy and warm when I’m inside.

I’m grateful for the warmth of the sun.

Or you can feel grateful for flowers, plants, trees, mountains, lakes and so on – aspects of the physical environment. How they look, how they smell, the sounds the make or the purpose they fill are all things to be thankful for.

Image of this wonderful world printable gratitude list

Gratitude has immense psychological benefits. However trying to think of ways to keep your gratitude practice meaningful and varied can be off-putting.

These different gratitude prompts will give you fresh ways to show you things to be thankful for.

You can grab your copy (no sign up required) by clicking here.

Want greater connection in your relationship?

Then you'll want this freebie.

It's called The KISS Connection and it's a FREE 4-step everyday practice that will bring back that loving feeling.

Hit the pink button to grab your free copy today.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Heather

Friday 9th of October 2020

Love all these prompts

Katie

Sunday 11th of October 2020

Thank you Heather!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.