Why I Stopped Taking a Gratitude Photo Every Day

Earlier this year, I announced as part of my plan to live life with more gratitude that I would be taking a picture of something I was grateful for each day.

If you are following me on for on Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter, you may have noticed that I have not been posting a daily picture.

The gratitude photo was an experiment.

I took what someone else had done (Hailey Bartholomew) and tried it to see if it would work for me.

Nature and bench scenes are popular in the gratitude world. Pictures of sunrises and sunsets were not easily captured on my phone (which serves as my primary camera). The colors that make the start of the day and end of the day so brilliant and wonderful and amazing just didn’t come across. I love nature, but I was not satisfied with my pictures. I also was not willing to pull my car over on a busy road to get out and take a picture!

When I struggled to come up with a photo for the day, I usually went with the cat picture. My cats are cute and wonderful and I am grateful to be able to support their needs and share my life with them. However sharing photos of them and calling it a “gratitude photo” began to feel like a cop-out.

The Lighthouse

Lighthouse made by my mother-in-law.
Lighthouse made by my mother-in-law.

I felt like the pictures did not really convey that feeling I wanted to express. For example, I am very grateful for the lighthouse pictured. My mother-in-law made it for my husband and me shortly after we were married.

The lighthouse was chosen because our bathroom had a lighthouse shower curtain and wallpaper border at the time. Now, 12 years later, I am very happy to have this lighthouse.

What first seemed like clutter has turned out to be very useful. We use it to keep the bathroom door open when the windows are open (sometimes it is windy enough for the door to blow closed).

And more recently, we’ve used it to keep the door open while we are away to prevent the kittens from becoming trapped in the bathroom (which happened once). We didn’t know how they did it at first. I later discovered that sometimes the play through the crack when the door is open and the one in the bathroom can close the door.

Also, my mother-in-law passed away several years ago and the lighthouse serves as a reminder of her and the items she made for us and many others.

All that would have been hard to capture with only a picture tagged with #365grateful and it felt like too long of an explanation for social media.

Conclusion – The Furnace

The final realization that this may not be a great fit for me was the day I shared a picture of my furnace. I wanted to convey how grateful I was to have a warm home on a very cold day in February.

My husband saw it when he was scrolling through his Facebook feed. He turned to me with a puzzled expression and said, “You put a picture of the furnace on Facebook!??” (here is the link to it on Instagram if you really want to see what my furnace looks like).

I will still be posting pictures occasionally with the #365grateful tag, just not every day. A picture may be worth a thousand words, however, I feel like I need to use words to express and explain my gratitude.

How am I feeling about the living with gratitude project?

Gratitude photos may work for others. I am grateful that I gave it a try even though it didn’t have the result I expected.

Five minute journal with kittyOn February 10th, I started the 5-minute journal and have not missed a day.

It’s helped me to focus on the things in my life that I am grateful for that are not easily captured in a photograph. I will share more about the five-minute journal in another post.

I am continuing to learn about the positive aspects of gratitude. I finished reading A Simple Act of Gratitude: How Learning to Say Thank You Changed My Life (affiliate link) yesterday. I wish I had read it sooner! I am feeling inspired to write more thank you notes! (book review coming soon).

I feel excited about life and it’s opportunities and more grateful than ever. I am paying attention to the people around me and all that they do! I am thankful for the opportunity to share my experiences. Thank you for reading!

I hope my journey inspires you to look for ways in your life to feel grateful.

You may also like my first post on living out life with gratitude.

About The Author
Heidi has been writing thank you notes for more than 30 years and is the author of A Modern Guide to Writing Thank-You Notes. Her goal is to help people write better thank-you notes by providing tips and examples.

8 thoughts on “Why I Stopped Taking a Gratitude Photo Every Day”

  1. Thanks for posting! I just shows that one person’s ideal “experiment” may not necessarily be another’s. I love to take pictures, too; but can certainly see where a picture may NEED those “thousand words” to explain what you are trying to convey!

    I like the idea better of a “Five Minute Journal” (of gratitude or thankfulness)…in fact, I have two notebooks going; one is a “Gratitude Journal” which I don’t write in everyday – but should! The other is a “Blessings” journal – which is more of a list of blessings FROM others or TO like receiving an unexpected gift or letter or card…which can be looked at as a “gratitude” as well as a blessing; but I started each notebook at different times…BUT I DON’T WRITE IN THEM EVERY DAY – or sometimes forget to write down a blessing or something I am thankful for…

    Love reading your ideas, and I am going to TRY HARDER to keep up daily…Thanks for sharing!

  2. I just read your latest post. Yes, sometimes hard to put gratitude in a photo. i like it that you were creative with furnace picture. One thing I could be grateful for every day is electricity and running water and working furnace. You almost have to be waiting in the right spot to get what some call the perfect sunrise or sunset. I do like to take pictures of both but usually not in right place at right time. I don’t write in journal,but before I go to sleep for the night I think about what and who I am thankful for that day. I think you do an excellent job with your writing. It is always to see what you write about.

  3. Hi. I loved reading this and learning more about you. Also that you stated you have became aware of the people around you and what all they do. I am grateful or you.

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