Keeping a journal is a great habit for reflecting on the past, processing the present, and clarifying your vision for the future.
And like any habit, it can be a difficult habit to form. We feel how important it is, but we get overwhelmed. For most of us, our journal is an on-again, off-again record. We’d love to have a rich record of our lives and our dreams—perfectly private, of course—but the habit never seems to take.
Fortunately, like any habit, journaling is a habit anyone can form. If you want to develop a habit, make it as easy as possible.
I keep a journal using DayOne. It syncs between my phone and my computer, so I have my journal wherever I am. Most importantly, I can make a journal entry at any time.
DayOne is a robust app with lots of features, but its complexity beautifully steps out of the way until you need it. It’s very approachable and easy to get started.
Here are four ways DayOne makes it super-simple to make a journal entry:
- Set a daily reminder. When it goes off, write one sentence right then. It can be about whatever you’re doing at the moment. However mundane you think it is, journals are inherently more interesting because of the way they can capture what our day-to-day life was like.
- Review your activity feed. Grant DayOne access to your location (if asked, allow it continual access to your location, not just when you’re using it). At the end of the day, review your activity feed. This gives you a list of the places you went today. You probably went someplace interesting—say something about it! Didn’t leave the house all day? There’s an interesting story there, too.
- Describe a photo. Flip through your camera roll. Did you grab a selfie at lunch with friends? Take a picture of a misspelled sign? A photo of a mama duck with her ducklings? Photos are a great journaling prompt! Add it to DayOne and say something about it! The app will backdate your post to when and where the photo was taken.
- Check in from your watch. Don’t have your phone with you? No problem! Open the DayOne app on your watch and create a new entry by checking in. DayOne will create a new entry with the current time and location, basically a placeholder you can go back and fill in later. (Pro tip: Instead of the “Check in” button, use an emoji. Or just dictate a quick thought.)
If you’re first getting started with journaling, limit yourself to just a sentence or two. Think of it like you’re making a post to your own private social media site. That’s how much you should write.
As you grow and start to establish the journaling habit, always write less than you feel like writing. Greg McKeown, author of Essentialism, credits that tactic with how he’s been able to keep a journal every day for over a decade now.
As you start journaling more, DayOne will grow with you. It’s a powerful app that lets journaling be as simple—or rich—of a habit as it you need.