Thankfulness Isn’t Just for November

Thankfulness Journal

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A lot of people take advantage of the month of November, Thanksgiving month, to focus on being thankful.  Every day they write down something they’re thankful for.  It’s a great practice but it doesn’t have to be limited to November.  Being thankful every day can have a tremendous impact on your well being.

And if you want to take it a step further, you can record a few other things to help you stay focused and thankful.

B – Blessing (something good)
O – Obstacle (something difficult) or something bad that happened
L – Lesson (something you learned)

I’ve been doing this for years, usually in my planner.  I create three small boxes at the bottom of my planner page and jot down something for each category.  Most of the time I do it at the end of the day.

Blessing/Something Good

Obviously this is something good that happened. You can either list something specific that happened, like getting a raise at work, or something general you’re thankful for, like running water or good health.

Obstacle/Something Bad

This category can be something bad that happened, like getting a speeding ticket, or it can be something difficult you’re dealing with, like insomnia or fatigue or trying to eat right.

In case you’re wondering why you’d want to include the something bad or something hard, it’s really very simple.  Most of us don’t have really bad things happening to us on a daily basis.  So if you have to write something down in this box, and you don’t have anything big to write, it makes you even more thankful.  Sometimes, at least for me, the act of writing down the bad thing helps me see that it really isn’t that bad or it helps me figure out a solution.  If it doesn’t work that way for you, skip it.


This can be something serious like “I need to learn to keep my mouth shut” or something funny like “rain causes people to drive like idiots.”

And finally, here are a few samples from my own planner pages:

Thankfulness Journal

Thankfulness Journal

 Thankfulness Journal

On this sample, I added a fourth category called regrets.  Identifying my regrets (things I wish I hadn’t done or had done differently) helped me do better next time.

Thankfulness Journal

On this sample, I used a little bit different format.  I also added a category called Worry.  For a while I recorded things I was worried about.  Writing it down helped get it out of my head and later I could look back and see that my worries were unfounded nearly all the time.

This sample also shows that sometimes you just can’t come up with something in a specific category.  If you can’t, leave it blank.  This exercise isn’t supposed to be stressful.

Thankfulness Journal 6

On this sample I added a category called Questions.  It was just something fun I did for a while and I had a lot of interesting questions!

So what do you think? Are you ready to join me in keeping track of your blessings, obstacles and lessons every day (or most days)? Or do you do something similar already? If you do, I’d love to hear about it.



  1. I write questions in my inbox or to do list as a problem that I need to solve. I force myself to write also a gratitude things just to notice things that I don’t always notice. Lessons learned I write in my journal on do1p or on a week review page when (if) I make a weekly review. Obstacles go to the journal too. So I write it all too. Your sysem is great because it is written concisely and clearly and you know where to find them.
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  2. I’m going to try this! Thanks for the idea and Happy Thanksgiving!

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