The concept of a gratitude journal isn’t brand new but, it’s not often talked about as a best practice for artists. I, like I’m sure many, have rolled my eyes at the thought of one assuming it would just be another task to add to my day that I didn’t have time for. I’ve recently changed my attitude on that though when I was reflecting upon my accomplishments in my art business from 2018.
When you’re building a small business of any kind, it can be easy to get caught up in the “I need to do more” attitude. So much so, that you start to forget how far you have come in the process. The end of the year is always a great time to look back on what you’ve done and set goals for the next. This is something I do regularly and reevaluate every few months. I was having a moment of feeling like I wasn’t doing enough when I actually stopped and wrote down everything I had accomplished in 2018. The list included my goals for the year and the things that I had accomplished above and beyond that. Really taking the time to look at it all was when I realized that I needed to be more mindful and grateful.
I made the decision right there that I wasn’t going to wait anymore until the end of the year to take time to appreciate the good things that are happening. It was clear I needed to make it a regular practice. I found a journal online that I loved from my favorite book store and put it on my Christmas wish list. It should be noted that you can make a gratitude journal out of any blank notebook or sketchbook, I just really liked this one.
Make a Reverse Bucket List
One of the things that I loved about this particular book is that it suggested making a reverse bucket list. So instead of listing all the things that you want to do, you list all the things you have accomplished thus far. This is such a simple but kinda mind-blowing idea. When I sat down to make that list I once again had a moment of realizing that I hadn’t been really appreciating the things I have accomplished in life. The thing is, you don’t have to have cured a disease or won a marathon to have a valued list. Maybe you were the first person to get a college degree in your family, or maybe you’re proud of the first painting that you sold to someone you didn’t know. It doesn’t matter what your list contains, as long as they are things that matter to you.
Get a Gratitude Attitude
So how does this all relate to your art business? If you are the type of person who is stuck in “need to do more” or even ” not good enough” syndrome, then gratitude journaling is a step in the right direction for you. When you take the time to focus on the things that you do well or are grateful for instead of your shortcomings, your attitude starts to change. A huge hurdle a lot of artists have with moving forward is lack of confidence. No one is more responsible for your self worth than you are. All the likes, follows and positive comments in the world mean nothing if deep down you don’t believe them or can’t sustain a positive view of yourself and your work without them. It always starts with you.
Practicing Being Grateful
Pick the time of day that works best for you to write down three things you are grateful for. You don’t need to make your lists just about art but it helps to include those specific things.
As an example one day you might write 1. The ability to draw 2. the colors in a sunset 3. roses
Another day could be 1. a place to create my art 2. clean water to drink 3. colored pencils
Get as specific or general as you like, but the point is if something happens that day that stops and makes you smile, big or small, then that’s part of your list that day. When you start making a mental note during the day in relation to gratitude it starts to direct your focus on the positive things you may have been ignoring or brushing aside.
Putting it All into Perspective
Gratitude Journalling isn’t going to be the solution for world peace, and it won’t in itself make you a better artist either. The point of it, however, is that when you change the tone of what is occupying your thoughts, you can move forward in a more positive way. You will also actively be acknowledging your accomplishments as they happen rather than quickly moving past them or forgetting them altogether. Then, when you look back at your journal at the end of the year, you will see not only the highlights and achievements but also the small things that make this life worth living.
We live in a world that is constantly telling us to do more, be more, upgrade, and improve. While some can use this as motivation, others can be broken by it feeling like they will never achieve the standards being set. If you have the ability to create art, no matter what your skill level is at, cherish and celebrate it. You have the ability to see and recreate the world with your hands in a way that many others can’t. That in itself is something to be truly grateful for.
If you’re interested in purchasing the same journal that I have shown in this article you can find it HERE – Kikki K. Gratitude Journal (please note this is NOT an affiliate link).
What are you most grateful for as an artist? Share with me in the comments!