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The Surprising Benefits of Journaling One Sentence Every Day

Journaling sharpens your memory

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

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

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The Surprising Benefits of Journaling One Sentence Every Day

The Surprising Benefits of Journaling One Sentence Every Day

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

jamesclear.com

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Key Ideas

Learning 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

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

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

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.

Journaling to have a 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.

Making 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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What you write, you learn

The key to learning is to stop passively consuming information and start actively engaging with the ideas we encounter.

One effective way researchers have found to reinforce learning is th...

What you write, you control
  • 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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Integrating journaling in your daily life
Integrating journaling in your daily life

The biggest mistake is to journal only in reaction to something that is going on, instead of letting it be part of a system.

Make writing in your personal journal part of your every...

Benefits of a 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.
Schedule journaling time

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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Journaling Before You Get Out of Bed
Journaling 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.

This way you know it will get done, and the activity first th...

Use a Journaling 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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Journaling as therapy

Labeling emotions and acknowledging traumatic events, both natural outcomes of journaling, have a known positive effect on people, and are often incorporated into traditional talk therapy.

Morning Pages

3 pages of longhand writing, strictly stream-of-conscious, done as soon as one wakes.

They are not meant to be art. Or even writing. They need not be smart, or funny, or particularly deep. It's a form of “brain drain”, a way to expel all that angry, petty stuff that spirals through our subconscious and muddies our days.

Benefits of Journaling
  • Boost in mindfulness
  • Better memory
  • Better communication skills
  • Improves mental health
  • Better sleep
  • A stronger immune system
  • More self-confidence
  • Higher I.Q.
Adjust Your Mindset

Your first notebook will be your learning notebook. Like any productivity method, it will take time to find a bullet journaling flow and structure that works for you. 

Any creative en...

The first steps

  1. Get a Journal and Writing Utensils
  2. Start an Index Page: The backbone of your BuJo system, like a table of contents in a book
  3. Create Logs - places where you can brain-dump tasks, projects, goals
  4. Pick Signifiers: Many people use bullets for lists of tasks, circles for events, and dashes for notes. 
  5. Document Items with Collections: Collections are running lists and anything you want to remember for later(like blog topics, books you want to read etc.)

The 3 common types of logs:
  • A future log helps you keep track of items that aren’t yet on your immediate radar.
  • Monthly logs include things like calendars and categorized goal lists for the next 30 days.
  • Daily logs may includes entries of to-dos, meetings, and reminders.

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Wanting to control everything

By procrastinating, you hold the most control over whatever task you’re working on. However, this also means, obviously, that that particular task isn’t being done.

Seeing a task as one big project

Almost everything we do can be broken down into little manageable parts.

Take, for instance, the laundry. If the laundry seems like a daunting task to you, break it down into steps. Collect all your dirty clothes. Separate colors and whites. Put your clothes on a wash cycle. Put them in the dryer. Fold them.

Being a perfectionist

It can be tempting to put things off or delay completing tasks simply because you’re worried about the outcome being less than perfect.

Just remember that it’s okay if things don’t turn out exactly how you had them in your head.

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Getting Through the Hard Stuff with Journaling
  • Journaling is the act of processing the past (and even the future) in the here and now.
  • Writing is and of itself **cathartic.
  • Feelings and experience...
A positive frame of mind
It is a really good idea to force yourself into a positive frame of mind at least once per day. No matter what happens each day, when you sit down for dinner, think about the good in you...
The cumulative effect
The individual impact of any one piece of gratitude is small, but the cumulative effect is huge. The power of this habit comes from a multiplier effect that takes hold after practicing it for a month or two. You begin to realize that nearly every day is a good day (at least in a small way).
Gratitude is free
You start to realize how insignificant monetary things are for your day-to-day happiness. The majority of your grateful moments don’t cost a dime: time spent with friends and family, something nice someone said, a good workout that day. 

That’s not to say money is unimportant, but there is something comforting in realizing that the moments you’re actually grateful for each day are free.

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The journaling trap

By examining positive moments too closely, we suck the joy right out of them. 

Therefore, when seeking insights from journaling, explore the negative and not overthink the...

Discharging emotions

Using journaling solely as an outlet for discharging emotions may suck the insight right out of the experience.

The benefits of expressive writing only emerge when we write about both the factual and the emotional aspects of the events we’re describing—neither on its own is effective in producing insight.

Moderation, even in reflection

To ensure maximum benefits, it’s probably best that you don’t write every day in your journal. 

People should not write about a horrible event for more than a couple of weeks. You risk getting into a sort of cycle of self-pity. But standing back every now and then and evaluating where you are in life is really important

Benefits of journaling
Benefits of journaling

Journaling can help with personal growth and development. By regularly recording your thoughts, you will gain insight into your behaviors and moods.

Journaling can ...

Journaling: An effective tool
  • Journaling can be used to sort through turbulent emotions and to discover hidden lessons from your experience.
  • Art journaling: using mixed media can help you express yourself in refreshing and unusual ways.
  • Journals can help you reflect. Journaling is a method of allowing the light of understanding and compassion to shine on your past.
Tips to get started with journaling
  • Start writing about where you are in your life at this moment. Describe your living situation, your work, and your relationships.
  • Don’t edit your thoughts or feelings and don’t correct your grammar. Don’t censor your thoughts.
  • If there’s something you are struggling with or an event that’s disturbing you, write about it in the third person.

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