This time last year, I was in a bit of a poor place. There was little in my life I was happy with, and I was finding it very difficult to derive any enjoyment from anything as my life just consisted of working, sleeping and eating (ironically, the one thing I had at that time I was happy with, is no longer in my life).
Before Christmas, I had seen a tutorial on a website for creating a perpetual calendar journal. The tutorial (you can find it here) was suggesting it more as a gift, but I saw its potential as a tool to help me out of my rut.
So I collected together some pretty postcards, coloured index cards and a box to put them all in. My own intention with this calendar journal was to try and record at least one positive thing about the day, as that was the problem I was experiencing at the time. I'm happy to say this did mostly work and, having kept up the journal for a year, I can say there have only been a handful of occasions where I have had nothing especially good to write about the day.
Having this journal has had two effects on my life. The first is that I have now got into a habit of noticing positive things about my day, no matter how minor they are - I recall one entry being about a particularly beautiful sunset. Even such small things, if you pay them enough attention, can be significant enough to have an effect on the rest of your day.
The second is that I did actually make an effort to do something outside of work, so that I would have something to write in my journal and therefore have some nice memories to look back on in years to come. This meant that, rather than coming home from work and going straight on the computer because I was too drained and fed up to do anything else, I took the time to go out for a short walk, or make the effort to cook something nice or try a new recipe. I tried to be in a place where my default position was one of doing something I enjoyed instead of just watching TV or surfing the net.
I'm really looking forward to the next year, as I'm sure I will have plenty more fun things to record in my journal, and it will be interesting to compare individual days against each other - particularly with my circumstances being so different now.
For the first time in several years, I am actually excited for what 2012 has in store for me.
Happy New Year!