How I Journal Daily

I'd like to write more and more often. I'm not one who makes new year resolutions but today seems like as good a day as any other to start writing here every day.

I've kept written journals and diaries for decades - started in college. It was always a personal way to clarify or solidify or capture feelings. There was no discipline to it - just an expression of emotion - and was not meant to be shared publically.

My daily journaling has changed quite a bit since my college years. For almost ten years I experimented with a daily (5 Minute) journal format, a gratitude journal, Morning Pages, no-format journaling and an unscripted Bullet Journal format. After a year of experimenting I finally settled on my own "modified-five-minute-bullet-journal" which include the following daily prompts:

What Am I Grateful For Today?
List a few items that I'm grateful for - usually 3-5 things. I keep these gratitude lists on a separate page spread that I create for each month.

What Would Make Today Great?
List three things that would make today a 'good' day. These vary on a daily basis and might be a specific work task or personal task that needs to get done today (write a memo, a deck or an important meeting), or something that I'm working on personally (connect with spouse, call parents, house project) or something that I need to be doing (pray, meditate, workout, write, etc.). It could also be something nebulous like "make sure to spend time outside at sunset" or "take time to think about ____."

Daily Affirmation: "I am......."
I often write down a keyword or theme for the day that either captures how I'm feeling at the moment or how I want to be/feel throughout the day.

At the end of the day I then do a reflection and List Three Good Things from Today:
This list is comprised of accomplished tasks, specific feelings, a conversation, an experience, a moment, a thing, a person, an animal, etc.

How Could I Have Made Today Better?
A quick word or sentence about what I could have done better or experienced differently.

These combined reflections take me 5-10 minutes a day. In between my morning and evening reflections I leave room to capture other notes, tasks, thoughts, lists, quotations, scriptures, ideas and important dates/experiences.

I've kept this format now for almost a decade now and its served me well to have a daily cadence twice a day that forces me to look ahead and then reflect on the day.

I'll add that this is all handwritten on a paper journal. I've tried moving to a digital format a few times and it just doesn't feel right. It just didn't work for me. I really enjoy and want to hold on the act of writing with a pen or pencil on paper. It forces me to sit, think and write.

I do a bit more with the bullet journal format that I'll elaborate on in a future post.

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