A Simple Practice to Shift from Scarcity to Abundance: One-Sentence Journal | Beth's Blog

A Simple Practice to Shift from Scarcity to Abundance: One-Sentence Journal

Happy Healthy Nonprofit


The November Nonprofit Blog Carnival theme is how can nonprofits move from a scarcity mindset to an abundance mindset.  Yesterday, I wrote a post thinking about how this relates to self-care from an organizational culture perspective.   But from an individual perspective, it is about creating a new “good” habit around self-care and starting with some small steps or what BJ Fogg calls “Tiny Habits.”   So, I decided to sign up and give it a try with a tiny habit I have been wanting to establish.

I want to keep a one-sentence journal, a technique developed by habit change guru Gretchen Rubin.  The thought of writing a personal journal was daunting to me, so the idea of writing one sentence a day was very appealing. Perhaps I can incorporate this into my morning routine.

Gretchen Rubin says that keeping a journal will add to your happiness because it makes the memories vivid, helps you think about the relationships, and it is manageable. It also offers a feeling of accomplishment and progress.   When I shared this on Facebook, the idea resonated with a number of nonprofit folks, so decided to explore this idea further and try to make it a habit.

You can create your own five-year journal by getting a small notebook with 365 pages and have one page for each for five years.    You can also purchase a blank journal designed by Gretchen Rubin (shown above).   There are also ten year versions.

I don’t know why it took me long to try this one-sentence journal idea out, but keeping a one sentence a day journal is an easy way to build some reflection time into your life. Hitting the pause button is so important for energy replenishment and switching to abundance.   I’ve been able to do this for a few days, but I want to also experience BJ Fogg’s tiny habits technique to help me sustain this practice.

A big part of the Happy, Healthy Nonprofit:  Impact without Burnout book I’m writing with Aliza Sherman focuses on habit change – at the individual level and organizational level in nonprofits.

What tiny habits have you started that make you happier and healthier at your nonprofit work?  How have you been able to sustain tiny habits?

13 Responses

  1. Great post, Beth! I am a big believer in small changes. I’m working on a project now, where I encourage development directors to make small changes in their weekly work habits to increase their ability to raise major gifts. One example is carving out one hour per week to call donors to thank them and/or schedule visits with them. Another way is to call 3 donors per day – every morning. You’d be surprised at how this can add up in terms of results.

  2. Luke Miller says:

    This was a really inspirational post, Beth! I think I’m going to explore the idea of these small changes, and pick up a journal of my own. I’ve been historically terrible at journaling, but if it’s with this type of focus (and shorter content), I think it could be a pretty powerful addition. Thank you for sharing this!

  3. Beth Kanter says:


    I hear you on the onerous idea of writing an in-depth journal. I do so much writing at work that writing a long personal journal is daunting. So, I really liked this idea of doing a shorter journal – one-sentence is easy to do and gives you a sense of accomplishment.

  4. Craig says:

    I failed countless times at keeping a journal until I came across this exact book earlier this year. Game changer. Haven’t missed a day since. HIGHLY recommend going this route!

  5. Beth says:

    Craig, definitely a game changer!

  6. SEO says:

    This is great. I’m going to start one today. I have been writing down goals, but I think reflecting will be even more helpful especially in this way with no pressure to come up with much so there is no excuse.

  7. Eliza Olson says:

    Colin Sprake of MYMSuccess has developed a 90 day journal where you write down your successes no matter how small. 3 gratitudes, and 3 actions towards your big dreams and 3 actions towards your happiness. Colin has written 3 books on entrepreneurship. So many of his strategies can be applied to non-profits. e.g. I adapted his “core Values” and posted them on the walls of the Burns Bog Conservation Society’s offices. Mine are more long-winded than Colin’s because I specify the things related to donors, sponsors, members, staff. I like the 4th one. “Having that can do attitude: How can I? In other words, nothing is eliminated until it is thoroughly looked at.

  8. Eliza Olson says:

    I forgot to give Colin’s website. http://www.mymsuccess.com

  9. Aisha says:

    Hi Beth!

    Journalling has been such a powerful tool for me. I used to journal for 30 minutes a day because I was really trying really hard to make the switch to serve from abundance. Now that things are under control a less intensive process might make sense. I have going to try this out for a week.

  10. Genie Gratto says:

    I started one of these on the day I moved into the house I share with my now-husband and, now, our baby — it is a five-year journal that I thought would be great for chronicling our first five years as a family. It has been so much more manageable than other styles of journaling — even when I have fallen behind, catching up is painless, and looking back at the previous years’ entries as I enter a given day brings back so many good memories!

  11. […] And more from Beth with A Simple Practice to Shift from Scarcity to Abundance: One-Sentence Journal […]

  12. […] i stumbled upon this in one of my social media news feeds today and thought it to be very appropriate for me and my moment, my 45th year.  –> http://www.bethkanter.org/one-sentence-journal/. […]

  13. […] three accomplishments from your day, no matter how small. If that sounds like too much, how about a one-sentence journal? It’s not the length that matters — it’s the reflecting on wins, no matter how […]

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