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The Surprising Benefits of Journaling One Sentence Every Day | James Clear

Learn from old experiences

When looking back on her previous journal entries, Virginia Woolf remarked that she often found the significance to lie where she never saw it at the time.

Reading your old journal entries is a bit like reading a great book for a second time. You pick up on new sentences and see the past in a different way.

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The Surprising Benefits of Journaling One Sentence Every Day | James Clear

The Surprising Benefits of Journaling One Sentence Every Day | James Clear

https://jamesclear.com/journaling-one-sentence

jamesclear.com

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Key Ideas

Learn from old experiences

When looking back on her previous journal entries, Virginia Woolf remarked that she often found the significance to lie where she never saw it at the time.

Reading your old journal entries is a bit like reading a great book for a second time. You pick up on new sentences and see the past in a different way.

Journaling sharpens your memory

Time will change your face without you noticing, but it will also change your thoughts without you realizing it. 

Our beliefs shift slowly as we gain experience. Journal entries remind you of how you once thought.

Journaling motivates you

There is something about knowing that your day will be recorded that makes you want to make at least one good choice before the sun sets. 

Proof of progress

When you have a bad day, it can be easy to forget how much progress you have made. But with a journal, it's easier to keep a sense of perspective. 

One glance at your previous entries and you have proof of how much you have grown over the months and years.

How to Make Journaling Easy

Write one sentence per day.

The primary advantage of journaling one sentence each day is that it makes journaling fun. It's easy to do. It's easy to feel successful. And if you feel good each time you finish journaling, then you'll keep coming back to it.

Journaling Prompts

  • What happened today? (Daily journal)
  • What am I grateful for today? (Gratitude journal)
  • What is my most important task today? (Productivity journal)
  • How did I sleep last night? (Sleep journal)
  • How do I feel today? (Mood journal)

Leave 31 lines underneath each prompt. One line for each day of the month. This is where you'll write your one sentence each day. Once the month is complete, you can look back on 31 beautiful journal entries per prompt.

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  • Recording your thoughts in a medium outside your own head helps your mind to become quieter: It stops returning to the same worn-out mental loops over and over. 
  • When you recount and reflect upon your thoughts and experiences you are, in effect, telling your own story. Journaling helps us clarify, edit, and find new meaning in these narratives.

Journaling and personal goals

Journaling about your goals helps you clarify what you want and encourages you to consider the why and how not just the what

It serves as a tool for identifying what you should prioritize on a daily basis, and what you should let go of. And it also gives you a record of the progress you’ve made toward your goals to keep you motivated.

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How to start journaling

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Benefits of a Daily Journal

  • When you keep a journal, you can look back on important life events to read about how you felt at the time. You may also be able to learn from these past experiences.
  • Writing about traumatic events results in physical and psychological health benefits. Journaling focuses on understanding traumatic events and makes people see these events with an extra level of clarity.

Set Aside Time Daily

Start your daily journal off on the right foot by scheduling your writing for a set time every day.

  • If you find your mind is most active in the morning, wake up 15 to 20 minutes earlier and jot down your thoughts then. 
  • If you prefer to record everything after the day is over, then make it an evening activity before you go to bed.

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Do it Before You Get Out of Bed

Try grabbing your notebook as soon as your alarm goes off and writing for a few minutes before your feet even hit the ground.
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Use an App

While many people recommend journaling in a physical notebook to give your brain a break from screens, if you’re having a hard time keeping up that practice, you can try using an app that you can whip out when you have an extra moment in the day.

Don’t Use Full Sentences

Feel free to have your journal as disjointed as you want. 
Leo Babatua of ZenHabits says he only writes his journal in bullet points; just three to six per day. By making it this easy, he says it’s much more attainable for him to keep it up.

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