Developing appreciative journals

Appreciating People launches latest journal

We’ve often been asked what led us to develop a range of appreciative journals. You can trace it back to four influences, leading to an early morning burst of creative activity. The first influence was the St George’s Hostel work in 2010, when – with limited success – we used notebooks with appreciative questions to support hostel residents flourish. Our second influence was Jackie Kelm’s work on Appreciative Living, which encouraged people to develop and appreciative muscle and mindset. Thirdly, positive psychology research indicates that journaling and recording good and positive things for up to 28 days increases wellbeing and raises levels of positivity. The fourth influence was an internal company recognition that an appreciative journal would enhance our Appreciative Inquiry training offer, as well as creating a useful learning resource for wellbeing.

This all led to a spurt of creative energy during the 2011 Christmas break. In four hours, the outline framework and core questions for our first appreciative journal, Food for Thought, was designed. Supported by permission to use questions and ideas from Jackie Kelm’s book Appreciative Living, this first Appreciating People publication was launched at the 2012 World Appreciative Inquiry conference Ghent, Belgium.

Since June 2012 we’ve produced four more Appreciative Journal/workbooks* and – in our Appreciative Journal development voyage – learned more and more about the journaling approach. Over the last six years we know these publications have made a difference to individual lives, and enhanced our AI training offer.

We’ve also learned there seems to be people who find journaling easy to do and others who find it a challenge. As our knowledge and experience built we realised there was a common element to all appreciative journals, and any additions were linked to particular subject matters. A standard element is 21 days of recording three good things, followed by seven days of acts of gratitude.

In November 2017 we published Reflections, an appreciative journal with a practical resource guide.  Although much positive feedback has been received, there have been a number of requests for just the Three Good Things journal element. Many comments stated it was ‘too good’ to write in. The decision was taken to separate out the Three Good Things into a standalone mini journal. It will be used to:

  1. Support people who want to try out appreciative journaling in a simple and accessible way
  2. Provide existing appreciative journal users with a resource to continue Three Good Things journaling
  3. Provide a testing facility for potential new journal products


You can download the Three Good Things flyer here…

“ The three good things journal is a simple practical tool that anyone can use to great effect”

Linda Hutchinson, Ideas Alliance

“I was delighted to receive the mini journal Three Good Things – awesome!”

Robyn Stretton-Berkessel, Positivity Strategist

Other Appreciating People journal products

  1. How to be More Awesome – originally for secondary school students, and now used by journalers of all ages
  2. How to be More Awesome – the student planner edition. Our updated, revised school journal, reworked with content built around a student year planner
  3. Number One – a workbook and wellbeing journal for 8 to 13 year olds, created in partnership with the Canal and River Trust and National Waterways Museums
  4. Reflections – an Appreciative Inquiry work book and journal

Tim Slack