When people hear the term GAP Year they associate it with taking a year sabbatical from work or before they commence study. But the GAPP YEAR I’m referring to is not the same. To find out more, read on.

Since the beginning of 2020, every day for the past sixty-plus days, I have been sharing on my Debbie Smith Author Facebook Page my daily GAPP YEAR points.



My 2020 GAPP Year is something I devised at the beginning of the year to help me find the golden nuggets in each day I encounter. I’m not a fan of New Year Resolutions, but I needed something to help me stay focused on the positive things in my life and to retrain my thought patterns from negative to positive.


I’m not sure about you, but I need tools in my toolbox to help me work my way through the times when life steps in and graces me with some lemony situations. I have my faith and that strengthens me but, on a practical level, I favour words and journaling and often turn to my journal or write letters to help me figure stuff out or work through situations. I’ve discovered over the years I don’t even need to share the contents with anyone but myself in order to feel a bit brighter about a situation I might be experiencing simply by using this method.

A revelation came to me toward the end of 2019. After some time of experiencing some particularly challenging life situations, we ALL go through them so I’m not special, I began to feel a bit beaten up and found myself sliding down the old rabbit hole of negativity. I’m normally a super optimistic and positive person, so when my feelings began to slip and slide all over the shop, I knew I needed to retrain my brain. It’s too easy to topple down the slippery slope and from all accounts, it can happen to anyone. I know challenges will come in life, sometimes every day, and I accept that I will have my battles. I can’t change that. But, I can change how I react, deal with and inadvertently live with them. That’s my challenge.

So, before this menace had the opportunity to grow bigger than Ben Hur, I decided to take action. I implemented a few new strategies in my routines, which I won’t discuss here because my main focus is to share about my 2020 GAPP YEAR as my tool of choice to sow the seeds of positivity.

I have practised GRATITUDE  previously, but I wanted to think more deeply about each and every day I am given, so I can end each day knowing that it doesn’t matter whether my day has been ordinary or extraordinary, by doing a simple daily mind-exercise, I can change the way I view my life, for the better.








After sixty days I can happily say it is working and it is not a chore, but more a good habit I created to help me stay balanced.


I use my journal to write my daily points but, in addition to this, I also decided to keep myself accountable and add my entries to my author Facebook page. This way I am writing not only to myself, but to an audience, so I have to lift and maintain the standard of my writing. I never know who might read it so I have to really think and express myself in the best possible way. People do read what I write and I am mindful that someone out there just may be struggling in certain areas of their life and by reading something thoughtful and inspiring, it may impact them in a positive way too. It is my responsibility to create an interesting reading platform, just in case.

I enjoy journaling and writing by hand with my handcrafted pen into a beautiful notebook. The journal I am currently writing in is pictured above. It is designed by Adèle Basheer for her Intrinsic range of products.

‘believe ~ follow the path of the brave to where life lies extraordinary.

Adèle Basheer

Adèle writes …

“A journal should be written on pages within a cover that inspires your soul. It should be beautiful to you because your life contains beauty. It should be precious to you because your life is precious. Your journal will become a friend for life and within its pages, you will find greater insight, awareness and wisdom to encourage your on your life’s path.”

DAY 1 – JAN 01 – 2020


I have decided that this year, 2020, and the start of a new decade, I am going to work hard on training my brain to stay on a positive track and avoid falling into the trap of negative thoughts. I want my brain to default to positive thoughts. I want to teach myself to think, look and find the positives in life so I can find and live joyfully.

I’ve decided to use my 4 point plan. I have thought about this for a little while and have coined the term MY POWER GAPP YEAR.

I’ve decided to use this strategy as a tool to help me improve in this area of my life. It’s a quick way to remind myself daily of the good things in my life. To focus and be open to them, rather than the negative stuff, that sometimes overshadows and snuffs out the joy and positivity and robs us of happiness and makes us feel heavy; burdened and cumbersome.

Each day I will commit to a habit of reflecting on my day and finding 4 POWER POINTS to energise myself.

Here is Jan 1’s entry:

GRATITUDE:  I am grateful for our friends who came to visit and share 2020 New Year with us.

 APPRECIATE:  The superhero firefighters fighting the fires in many states of Australia.

 POSITIVITY:  Even in the wake of these horrendous fires, people who have lost everything remain positive and thankful for their lives. This is huge when we are blessed to have our home. I don’t take this for granted.

PERSEVERANCE:  I continue to pray for the people affected by the fires, the superhero firefighters who are exhausted or worse, and for rain in the areas that need it most.

I worried that I would not be able to sustain writing on these four points all year, but after sixty-days, I can now safely say I have developed the habit and it is uppermost in my thoughts. During the day, I am on the lookout for the positivity in my life, the lessons I am afforded and I think more creatively on how I can share my revelations. I am not saying that it’s perfect. For it’s far from perfect. There have been a couple of late entries due to illness or from having super big days and there’s been no energy left in the tank, or simply that I’ve been having a great day and forgot. It doesn’t matter. I add my post the next day in the morning and my due post in the evening like normal. You can catch up easily. I did not devise this plan for it to become a rod for my back, but merely a tool to use to help me form a pattern for positivity…and it’s working!

What do you do to help strengthen your mental health and to add positivity into your life? I would love to hear from you if you are happy to share. Please comment below.

Positivity is staying mindful to all possibilities.

Debbie Smith

Debbie Smith is a local Sunshine Coast children’s author based in Noosa. She is an educator and book reviewer who recently released her debut picture book, If You Meet an Elephant, in August 2019. She is currently working on a new picture book manuscript, a children’s short story collection, a middle-grade horse series and she writes the odd poem or two. Debbie enjoys hosting creative writing and art workshops for children. Her lifelong career as an early childhood and primary extension specialist teacher allowed her to share her passion for children’s literature and gave insight into the world of children.

Debbie is available for school visits, homeschool visits, bookshop events, writing events. Please use the CONTACT FORM to enquire. Debbie would love to hear from you.