Keeping a daily journal is a great way to start a habit of writing every day. It’s relatively easy to write about yourself compared to subjects you don’t know (or for fiction, have to create). Keeping a journal serves a dual purpose: a way to practice writing and a way to record the moments of your life.
There are infinite ways to journal and here are a few that you can try today:
Gratitude journals are as simple as they seem: write down the people, places, things, or moments that you’re grateful for each day. You can write about one thing, many things, and even micro-journal using the note feature on Lift. Practicing gratitude daily makes you a better person, too: people who keep gratitude journals are more likely to do good deeds for friends and strangers than people who don’t.
Write Three Positive Things Each Day
Reflecting on the positive moments of your day has been shown to decrease depression and increase happiness. It’s takes just a few minutes every night to keep up this kind of journal. Pro tip: sharing your positive moments with your partner can be a great bonding exercise (Lift’s CEO Tony does this).
Keep a Food/Meal Journal
Food journals are traditionally used in diet programs to help people track what they eat, but food can be a great prompt for writing about the many human experiences that revolve around food, too. You can write about the conversation you had with a colleague over lunch, a new cooking adventure in the kitchen, or your Missed Connection at the coffee shop.
Write About Your Feelings
Writing is a free form of therapy. It’s easy to live your life in autopilot without pausing to reflect on how you feel. Taking a moment every day to write about your emotions can help you process them and understand the impact that daily decisions have on your happiness.
Write About Important People in Your Life
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be surrounded by everyone you loved? For 10-30 minutes each day, you can have that experience by writing about them. Make a list of people you who you treasure in your life–family, friends, even strangers–and then write entries about what you remember about them.
Write Gratitude Letters
This is the gratitude journal version of the Important People journal: write letters to people thanking them for making a difference in your life. This can be a very emotional exercise, so keep that in mind as you pace yourself (and keep a box of tissues handy). You can keep these letters to yourself, or if you’re brave, send them out.
Make a Dream File
Spend 10-20 minutes each day writing about your dreams and how you’re achieving them. What are your goals in the next week, year, or decade? What do you want to achieve in your lifetime? What goals would you shoot for if you didn’t care about what other people thought and didn’t have to worry about money or responsibilities? Write these thoughts down. Forcing yourself to write down your goals is usually the first step in achieving them.
Keep a Traditional Diary
Keep all of the options open by writing a traditional diary. Write a chronological list of what happened today or hone in on a specific moment. I always found that naming my diary helped the writing flow better, since I much prefer conversation to any other type of communication (even writing!). My diary’s name is Rupert and he’s been a supportive force since 2004.
We just added Questions & Answers to Lift where you get advice from other journal writers or give some yourself. If you have a question about journaling or advice to give, please share it. Here’s one popular question: What is the best time to write in your journal?