Keeping a Daily Journal – How It Will Make Everyday a Success + What To Write
“There is, of course, always the personal satisfaction of writing down one’s experiences so they may be saved, caught and pinned under glass, hoarded against the winter of forgetfulness. Time has been cheated a little, at least in one’s own life, and a personal, trivial immortality of an old self assured. And there is another personal satisfaction: that of the people who like to recount their adventures, the diary-keepers, the story-tellers, the letter-writers, a strange race of people who feel half cheated of an experience unless it is retold. It does not really exist until it is put into words. As though a little doubting or dull, they could not see it until it is repeated. For, paradoxically enough, the more unreal an experience becomes – translated from real action into unreal words, dead symbols for life itself – the more vivid it grows. Not only does it seem more vivid, but its essential core becomes clearer.”
Keeping a Daily Journal is one of the simplest, yet most important things I’ve decided to do the last couple of years.
Being able to write essentially whatever my heart desires, from business ideas, things i’m grateful for, how my day is going, to snippets of articles I find interesting and things I want to learn has given me anxiety-relief, a little more direction and perspective as I go through life, and true internal happiness that isn’t reliant on external validation or material possessions.
While this sounds too good to be true, I feel I’ve pinpointed a couple areas that you must write about everyday to start off with for an excellent foundation to reap the benefits. These can be supplemented additionally with whatever else you want to write about.
Everyday entries should have these core sections
A Gratitude Section
- If I had one thing that I will always start with it is a list of 3-5 things I am grateful everyday. It can be anything, your computer, your car, your parents, the fact you live in a nice neighborhood, your intellect, your passions, etc. We as a people sometimes are so negative that we never truly appreciate the little things we have. Think about how appreciative you are when you recover from have a sore throat for a couple days, after feeling like you were swallowing knives. Even being able to swallow your food without pain is a blessing in that moment. Don’t lose that feeling of gratitude by making a list everyday of things you are grateful for. It will make you exponentially more happy and content.
A Thoughts Section
- This is the abstract part of the journal that you typically associate with journal writing. This is the section where you can write anything and everything going through your mind that day whether it be the best day ever, the most depressing day ever and everything in between. Your career, family, dreams, relationships, business ideas or ventures, struggles, victories, philosophies, mood etc. can all be jotted down here. How you are feeling, and what is happening in your life can also be a major chunk of this section
A Daily Task-list Section
- Everything you need to accomplish in the day in order from highest importance to lowest importance. Check mark them off when you finish and tally your check marks out of how many total tasks you have in that day and record them up on a cumulative weekly basis. For example if everyday you had 5 things to do and everyday you finished 4 of those things, your weekly tally would be 28/35 (4×7/5×7) This will give you incredible insight into how productive you are, or are not. The best thing is visually seeing this pushes you to try to accomplish as many as you can. It becomes a game.
An Everyday Learning/Knowledge Section
- I think we should be learning something new everyday. However I think you should be able to choose exactly the topics and what you learn as a natural progression. Someone starting off researching psychology for example may naturally find himself eventually connecting his knowledge to technology, or medicine, or fitness. Everything is interrelated and the pursuit of knowledge will inevitably take you down many avenues regardless of the starting point.
- Everyone has an aptitude for learning something, and everyone has hobbies and interests. One day you could possibly monetize those hobbies, but for now learning something new should excite you (although sticking through anything requires discipline after the excitement subsides). Maybe you want to learn about strength training and tailor a workout to your specific needs, or maybe you always wanted to learn guitar but you never got around to it. Each day you write something new about a topic of interest until you have gained enough knowledge about that topic.
- What you’ve eaten in the day/Caloric intake
- Dream Journal entry – Write about any dreams you had upon waking. This will also help you if you are practicing lucid dreaming.
- “Quote of the Day” section – an empowering quote or quotes that spark action, involvement, or further thought
Essentially you can write on whatever you want in the additional categories section, just make sure you have the core categories first, and you don’t have too many additional things added. Having too much on your page will take some of the innate simplicity of journal writing away. The goal here is the most organization of thought and routine as possible with the least amount of clutter. Leave the clutter of thought for the “thoughts” section.
Keeping a journal is a form of organizing everything we have in our minds in one location. This can be highly stress relieving if we are bogged down by many thoughts, and can even stimulate creativity that you never realized you possessed. Some days you will be surprised how the ink will be flowing so fluidly and naturally, and some days you will struggle but stick with it and it will really help in your day to day life.
Do you keep a journal already? What kind of topics/sections do you have in yours? What are some of your ideas for topics for the “additional categories” section?
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