Why You Should Keep a Gratitude Journal

Posted on Oct 31, 2013 | 0 comments


Photo Credit -happyserendipity.com

Photo Credit -happyserendipity.com

In today’s world, it can be very easy to focus on the things we don’t have rather than pay thanks to the things that we do have. Indeed, that’s when keeping a gratitude journal comes in to play. Not only does it take the focus off our unnecessary wants, it gives us a reason to reflect on all of the good things in our lives. And you shouldn’t limit the project to just yourself. Instead, involve the whole family and let the gratitude journal your children keep become a way to show them what is truly important in their lives.

Keeping a gratitude journal makes it easier to focus on priorities. It shows us how our past wants were achieved or dismissed and it gives us an idea of what areas of our lives are good and which areas need improvement. For example, we may have created a good career, but haven’t kept the friends from our past as close as we would have liked to. The gratitude journal can help us find a way to reconnect with our old gang and find ways to let them know how much that part of your life meant to you.

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Six Tips for Better Journal Entries

Posted on Oct 29, 2013 | 0 comments

Journal - Bev Sykes

Photo Credit – Bev Sykes

Journaling regularly is a very satisfying act.  It’s the type of pastime with numerous benefits.  Not only does journaling give you a private place to record your thoughts, it gives you the opportunity to revisit different times in your life and reflect upon the growth and progress you have made as a person.

Your journal can enhance the quality of your life, help you pinpoint your dreams and aspirations, and strengthen the relationships you have with your family and friends.  So, how can you improve your journaling practice?  What type of things can you do to enhance the quality of your digital journal entries?  Is there a way to make things look, feel, and read better?  Are there any tools you can use to safeguard your most private thoughts?

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Thoughtree for iPhone Review

Posted on Aug 11, 2013 | 0 comments

photo 1 Our introduction to “Thoughtree” was a beta version of a “personal thought network”, described by its award winning developer, Jude Abeler, as “drop dead simple”. That is an understatement. In its concept, Thoughtree is decidedly uncomplicated, and yet visually appealing. Its black and white design is the very essence of “simple”.

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10 Ways to Turn Journaling From a Resolution to a Habit

Posted on Jan 1, 2013 | 0 comments

Journaling Will Be Different in 2013!

We’ve all been there. February comes and you can’t even remember your New Year’s resolutions, let alone accomplished them. Maybe it has something to do with the calendar. Perhaps there is a magical spell that is cast upon us when we move it from January to February.

This year it all changes.

Well, probably not for jogging or eating right. I can’t really help you with spending less either.

But for journaling, this is the year that you will finally break through. How can I be so confident? Now you have a secret weapon you never had before: Easy Journaling. Way back in 2011 and even in 2012 keeping a personal journal and diary was mind-bendingly difficult. Now, though, it is as easy as a snap. Probably easier.

Photo Credit - Jon Glittenberg

Photo Credit – Jon Glittenberg

10 Ways to Turn Journaling From a Resolution to a Habit

Though the previous five paragraphs are nice and everything, I know that you came here for substance so that is what I will now give you. Ten hard cold tips that will simplify your journaling and ensure it is the one resolution that will last all the way to March!

10. Schedule a consistent appointment to write. This can be daily or weekly, just make sure it is consistent. If you prefer weekly, try Sunday morning, perhaps. Night time is a popular daily journaling time.

9. Never miss. Even if you just write a single sentence, the shear act of making an entry every day or week will solidify the habit. If you do miss, double up on the next time to convince yourself of the importance of the habit.

8. Find the right journal. Perhaps you have been keeping a handwritten journal. From personal experience, making the switch to digital journaling (or eJournaling) makes the process magnitudes easier, funner and more accessible. Don’t want to pay money or click on the neat little “Find The Right eJournal” button on the top of this page? Then just start a free account at Penzu or LDS Journal, my two favorite online journals.

7. Personalize your eJournal. Most digital journal applications or services allow you to jazz it up a bit. This may be as simple as trying out a new font or even switching the background. A fresh look now and again will make it more desirable to come back to.

6. Add pictures! Ever since I have really learned the more effective way of keeping a journal electronically, the one single thing that has changed the experience for the better more than anything else is my goal to add at least one picture to every single journal. Not only does this document your life in a whole new way, but it makes me take more pictures!

5. Find a supporter. Ever since my wife saw what my eJournal looked like when it was printed out, she has really wanted one for herself. To help her in this goal, she has forced strongly encouraged me to remind her every night when I write mine. Your supporter could be your spouse or significant other, parent, child or just a friend. Don’t associate with humans? Just shave “JOURNAL” into the side of your dog. I’m sure she won’t mind.

4. Replace a worse habit. I think I would be correct in assuming that most of us don’t live up to our journaling aspirations because we can’t find enough time. Well, we do have enough time for entertainment tonight or texting, don’t we? Try this simple trick. Every time you go to play Angry Birds, instead write a short entry in your journal. Besides, Angry Birds is overrated and I don’t care who knows it! (I prefer Tiny Wings myself)

3. Write entries from multiple devices. If you do keep a journal with Penzu, LDS Journal or a host of Android, iPhone or iPad journals, you probably have the ability to keep them in the ‘cloud’. If so, try and write different entries from different devices just to confirm that your journal really is that accessible and remind yourself that if you are away from your computer, you may be able to keep the entry from your phone.

2. Cut back on other resolutions. Yup, I went there. I think many fail at NYR simply because they try and do too much. If you haven’t done this before, consider making one resolution this year (which, of course, will be to journal more consistently) and one resolution only. This way you will be more focused and your chances of success will skyrocket.

 1. Recommit to your journaling goal frequently. Okay, now that I have given you all of this great advice, I need to reveal something that may shock you so please, sit back in your chair a bit. I’m not a fan of New Year’s Resolutions. I never have been. I think more than not they are an attempt at redirection that results in frustration more than change. How can I be so negative and hard on resolutions? Simple, I am more of a “Sunday Resolutions” or “When It Is Time Resolutions” guy. Although yearly resolutions can be good to remind us that who we want to be and who we are haven’t been fully introduced, making true goals at life change just once a year isn’t going to cut it if you want to be happy and successful in your life. If you really want to make journaling a part of your life, recommit to this goal often, perhaps even weekly. This has been the only way that I have been able to do it and I am so grateful!

So, there you have it. Nine great tips to make journaling a habit and one paragraph that will just peeve off some resolutions gurus. I hope that your 2013 is even better than your 2012!

What did I miss?

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Why I’m Switching To Penzu

Posted on Apr 4, 2012 | 0 comments

I’ve just gone through a big change in my journaling life. If you will allow me, I want to tell you the reason why and hopefully this experience will help you as you attempt to either find a new or better eJournal or else improve the one you are currently keeping. Think of this as a case study of the most personal kind and as we know, case studies are often one of the best forms of education.

So without further adeau, why I am switching to Penzu, probably for good.

I have spoken glowingly about Wonderful Days on at least 3 occasions here at Easy Journaling. I fell in love with it when I first laid my hands on it and within months was trying it out as my primary personal journal. Not only was the interface beautiful and customizable, but it had Evernote integration and PDF export- perhaps my two most desirable features. I always knew that online journals have more features to offer, but I use my iPhone so much as my journal, a good smartphone experience was essential for me. I had used both LDSJournal and Penzu to some extent and loved many things about them, but the iPhone interface was so clunky that I opted for and took the chance with an application that was mostly stuck on the device.

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Let’s Be Honest Here: Have You Ever Erased Something From Your Journal or Diary?

Posted on Mar 27, 2012 | 0 comments

Photo Credit - Vanessa

Photo Credit – Vanessa

I know I am tip-toeing in taboo land with this, but I know I’m not the first one to dwell on it. What place does erasing/crumpling/burning/ripping/deleting have in journaling? Many who preach this practice usually point out that true journaling is free and careless. It is honest, open and true. What is written is who you are and should remain.

A better way to understand this issue is to think of the opposite. What if your favorite way to journal was with a pencil and fat eraser? What if you thought about carefully crafting your words before writing them and editing them if you didn’t like them? It seems like that approach would be against the spirit of keeping a journal, but maybe it’s just me.

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Video: LDSJournal Printed Journal Review

Posted on Dec 11, 2011 | 0 comments

The Easy Journaling YouTube channel is here! To kick it off, I have a quick look at one of the most amazing services LDS Journal offers: a built-in printing service. I have used LDS Journal somewhat over the past several years and just received my first printed journal in the mail and had to show you what it looks like. I know that I don’t show the book very much, but that is because I am trying to keep my personal journal personal 🙂

Learn more about LDS Journal’s book printing service here.

Let me know if you have suggestions for future video reviews and make sure and subscribe to the EasyJournaling YouTube channel!

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iPhone App Spotlight- Journal + Social Networks = Loccit!

Posted on Sep 13, 2011 | 0 comments

Fresh into the app store is a hybrid journal/social media application called Loccit. It utilizes the features I often preach about such as security and media import while also integrating seamlessly into your journal. When it is all said and done you can either make your journal from scratch, entry by entry; you can have Loccit fill your journal up for you by compiling tweets, Facebook updates and more or you can do any combination of the two into a unique social, but still private and secure (if that even makes sense) journal/diary. Oh, and that killer feature that I have only see one other digital journal (LDS Journal) have? With Loccit you can print copies of your journal!

Read on to see some of the features and be sure to catch the intro video as well.

  • You’re already writing it…

    Every time you update Facebook or Twitter, watch a video on YouTube, listen to Last.fm or add an event, you’re telling the story of your life. We pull the story together for you and create your Loccit diary.

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I Have Shrapnel In My Journal

Posted on Jul 27, 2011 | 0 comments

If you have only put words in your journals, you are missing out. Doodles, pictures, receipts, movie tickets and much more can enhance the experience of a hand-written journal. I have letters, soda can packaging and addresses in a few of mine.

Photo Credit - Sam Lytle

Photo Credit – Sam Lytle

And every once in a while you have an experience where words just aren’t enough.

It was several years ago and I was on the Big Island of Hawaii. I had already seen most of the sites including Akaka Falls, Waipio Valley and Mauna Kea. But for those of you that have been (and many of you who have not), you know that perhaps the #1 must-see site is the Kilauea Volcano. To get the most out of the experience, we went very early in the morning so that we could see the lava in the dark. The glowing mass grew more defined as we drew closer in the hours it took to hike from the closest vehicle access point. The eeriness only increased when it started to rain on our adventure.

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Journal App Review: PlainDiary

Posted on Jul 22, 2011 | 0 comments

PlainDiary - ordinaryFactory

Some feel that features and usability are mutually exclusive. While this might be the case in some situations, I have seen many developers successfully present a beautiful and simple app while having a deep feature set beneath the surface. Apple is actually a great example of this. Their products are usually very easy to use but still have a ton of customization, options and utility if you look a little deeper.

PlainDiary is, in most aspects, the beauty without the brawn. The interface is clean and simple- rather like Day One actually- but the beauty is only skin deep. Even the nice aesthetics aren’t customizable, which is a shame, especially if you don’t like baby blue.

The first thing you see is a calendar with the days marked that you have journaled. Here you can flip through the months or just scroll down to see the entries for the current month. This view will give you a snippet view of what you have written on those days.

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Online Journal Spotlight: Penzu

Posted on Jul 8, 2011 | 0 comments

If you do a quick search for an online journal, chances are you will quickly come across Penzu, regardless of the search engine. Wildly popular among both its users and the critics, Penzu offers a private and secure online journal that is as easy as pen and paper.

If you haven’t heard of this journaling phenomenon, Alexander Mimran, Penzu’s founder and CEO was generous enough to spend some time answering a few questions for EasyJournaling and to help you get a better understanding. If you have more questions, check out their website, follow them on Twitter or email them (info (at) penzu (dot) com). If they are as responsive to you as they have been for me, you won’t be disappointed.

EJ: What is Penzu?

AM: Penzu is an online diary and personal journal that is focused on privacy. With a unique and compelling user experience, it makes writing online as easy and intuitive as writing on a pad of paper.

Penzu offers a secure place to store your thoughts and ideas in the cloud. Not only are entries password protected in an online account, but individual entries can be locked with military-grade encryption.

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Journal App Review: Momento

Posted on Jul 7, 2011 | 0 comments


Although a journal/diary app can be nothing more than a text entry mechanism with a password, there have to be features included that not only make it functional, but also set it apart in a rather crowded genre.

Momento (Diary/Journal) - d3i Ltd

Momento tries to retain the simplicity that you want while tossing in a bunch of features you didn’t even know you needed. The first impression is the gorgeous, consistent interface. Colors match and a modern/classic feel is achieved.

When you first make an entry, you may be a little confused as to why there are so many buttons. This is because entries represent more than just text with Momento. You can add people, events and places, as well as tags and pictures. These can be customized and people are added straight from your contacts. Pictures can be imported from your camera roll or a new one can be taken. Each day can also be given an overall rating.

Landscape is supported, which is essential. The calendar is also clean and simple and highlights what activities you entered on a given day. The front screen shows your recent entries at a glance.

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The Difference Between A Journal And A Diary

Posted on Jun 25, 2011 | 0 comments

Although often used interchangeably, there is actually a significant difference between a journal and a diary. A diary is more of a log of events– where did you go, what did you do and so on. A journal, on the other hand, is a more personal reflection on who you are, what you feel and how you can improve your life.

I call my journal a journal but I use elements of both when I write. This way I paint a picture of not only who I am but also who I want to become.

So whether you keep a journal, diary or a hybrid like I do, most of the tips and suggestions found at EasyJournaling are equally applicable.

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