I’ve always wanted to be one of those people who religiously keeps a diary. Maybe watching too many films as a kid where every character seemed to be constantly scribbling away, fluffy pen in hand, ideas pouring. I’m a rabid notebook collector, that’s for sure. But I never seem to be able to fill them. There’s something about a fresh notebook, so full of promise, that makes me scared to ‘ruin’ it. And then I lose all motivation.
So I decided to brainstorm some ideas of things I could put into a daily journal, to try to get back my motivation. Lots of little things is better than a big block of autobiographical text for me, and so a lot of these are quick-hits that you can keep churning out day after day.
1| Happy Things
Making a deliberate effort to notice positive things more was one of the best choices I made. It had a big impact on the way I saw things, how I reacted to things, my overall happiness, and I think to an extent my health.
Noting something good that happened to you at the end of each day, or a happy thought at the start, is a great way to add a little positivity to your day. Or even dedicate a specific notebook to happy thoughts, events, and photos. It can be your go-to happy place, reminding you of good times on bad days.
2| What You Ate
Ever since my dad retired, he’s taken a real interest in cooking and baking. As a result we’ve tried a whole host of new dishes and tastes, and I’ve been thinking about starting a challenge for myself, to widen my horizons even further.
Marking what you ate can help you track your favourite dishes, and ones you’re not so fond of. You can make sure you’re eating a balanced diet. You can make a little culinary passport, tracking when, where, and what you ate.
3| Things You Are Thankful For
Similar to the ‘happy things’ post – I made a pledge to myself a long time ago to be more thankful, and focus on the things I already have. Regularly reminding yourself of your little blessings can be a great way to promote happiness and a new sense of satisfaction. It can help curb cravings, and re-focus you on what matters.
Trying to remove clutter and fuss from my life was really helped by re-focusing in this way, and so recording how thankful I am of the things I already have would be a great way to keep on track.
My pinboards are constantly full of little pictures, mementos, inspiration, and quotes. I love finding little sayings that help me both express and focus myself. There are so many out there that’d it’d be easy to keep a ‘quote of the day’ section in your journal.
Keeping a little quotes record is also a way of journalling without journalling. If you struggle to write like you’re sorting out your auto-biography, pick a quote that captures how you’re feeling that day, what you’re grateful for or what you’re struggling with at that time.
5| Question A Day
There are a ton of question prompts for journalling out there and breaking your journalling down to little bites means you’re more likely to stick to the habit. Tackle one question a day to challenge yourself and explore your thoughts.
Cute DIY’s like this question jar are a fun way to add to the experience, and help keep it interesting and random so it doesn’t feel stilted or like a slog.
Journalling is after all an attempt to record our lives. If you’re starting a new challenge or attempting to learn a new skill, take a few moments each day to track how you progressed that day – or if you didn’t. There’s nothing like seeing a flat progress bar on one of my study apps to get my butt into gear. The journey is sometimes the most interesting part and seeing the little steps you made to get to the top of the mountain is a lovely record to have.
7| Start a Challenge
I’ve mentioned challenges a few times in this post and so I’d thought I’d add it as a category all of its own. There are a million and one challenges to try – reading, photography, writing, workouts, health, learning a language – all sorts.
Keep a record of your progress, your successes, your favourites etc. Documenting the process and progress is sure to keep you on track, or at least let you know where you need to improve.
8| Brain Dump/Free Write
I’ve done this a few times before – in therapy, and at uni. It’s hard to start and even harder to stop, in my experience. Shut yourself away somewhere with no distractions, zone out, and let go. Write down anything and everything that comes to mind. I’ve done them with and without time limits. What you write doesn’t have to have a reason. It doesn’t have to be well written. It just has to happen.
Free writing is a great way to kick-start creative feelings and brain dumps are great for clearing your mind, and for helping you realise exactly what’s troubling you. Even if it’s just a to-do list or a few sentences. Let it go.
9| Stats – steps taken, hours slept etc
I played way too many video games as a kid and now I have a weird interest in tracking stats for things, including my own life. I’m not alone in this – there’s a stat tracker for everything now. How long you did something. How much. When. Where. How.
If you’re trying to improve your health, or just sleep a little better, keeping track of how much water you drank, when you went to bed, what you dreamt – keep a little note every day of that day’s stats. You might notice some interesting patterns or identify a problem. If anything else, it makes you feel like a game character.
10| 1 Year On/On This Day
This one takes a little bit more work, a foundation. A couple of social networks show you your posts from that day in years previous and I’ve found it’s a nice way to spark often forgotten memories. Even little things that you wouldn’t think to store away can make you smile, or laugh…or cringe.
Keeping a written record of something that happened that day on years previous can be a nice way to keep memories alive and to be more present in your life – noticing how far you’ve come is a great way to ensure future progress.
Do you have any good ideas? What do you write in your daily journal? Let me know in the comments!