Although I’m probably an above-average journal keeper, I never pretend to be perfect. I confess that I only score a 4 out of 5 on my own digital journaling scale. I believe in it and I try to faithfully keep up with it, but I could still do better.
Well, today I have some more confessions to share.
I basically missed the month of October with my journaling.
Oh, and most of September as well.[...]Click here to continue reading...
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.[...]Click here to continue reading...
As you may have heard in the most recent podcast, our family has made some major life decisions recently. These have spiraled us into an exciting direction but has also given us low stability as we have been basically living with family and out of suitcases for a month.
I say this to give context to the type of month that June was; not your typical month. Still, we managed to capture our life significantly along the way and have had some great moments together. This included our big move, several family gatherings and a vacation/reunion in Utah.[...]Click here to continue reading...
Spelling bees are cute, aren’t they? Children gathering to demonstrate a talent that hasn’t been relevant since before they were born. This is comparable to me taking part in a typewriter competition when I was in grade school 20 years ago. Typewriters were largely irrelevant at that time just like spelling on the fly is largely irrelevant now. Spell check has killed the spelling B, even if society hasn’t come to grasp with that fact now.
I’ve thought considerably about what role proper spelling and grammar play in my personal journal. When I was handwriting my journals they played only a small role. I’ve never been a great speller and I wasn’t about to pull down the ol’ Websters to correctly spell a word that few- if any- other human beings would ever read. Journals and diaries of ages past have always been filled with poor English (and other languages, I’m sure), which is okay. The words aren’t about correctness, they are about capturing history in a very unique and powerful way.[...]Click here to continue reading...
Let me be clear, this post isn’t necessarily for regular Easy Journaling readers. You understand the basics and many of you are consistently leveling up what you do with your digital journaling abilities.
No, I’m talking to everyone else. Not just everyone who comes to this site but everyone who has downloaded a journal or diary app.
This is a letter to the entire world of anyone who has even thought about downloading a journal or diary app for their smartphone or tablet.
Ever.[...]Click here to continue reading...
I’ve yet to make a master list of reasons why I am becoming more and more convinced that digital journals are superior (for me!) than handwritten journals with pen and paper. My ebook Modern Journaling contains 9 specific reasons and I am noticing new ones continually as technology improves and the world moves in that direction. Perhaps some day soon that full list will present itself, but until then I give to you one of my favorite reasons why I choose eJournaling in this day and age- Copy/Paste.
My handwriting is atrocious so I already prefer a keyboard over a pen, but when there are additional ways to make my journaling even easier, I’m usually in. When you copy and paste, you are basically having someone else do the typing for you. That’s right, put other people to work to improve your journal!
You may be wondering why you would ever want to copy and paste someone else’s words into your personal journal. There are, in fact, dozens of reasons why, including these suggestions:
Routine is the best friend of consistent journaling. Once that daily schedule is broken, however, things get a little murky and one who writes an entry every day can easily find themselves a week behind.
So what do you do? Should journal goals only be for days of routine? I am currently finding myself in this situation. On the road for over a week, I still want to keep up writing these memories, especially since I am making them with family and friends I don’t see every day.
One tip is to not get discouraged. If you miss a day, don’t sweat it. Worrying about it will only increase your risk of missing more days in a row. Just make the next one a little longer. You can also consider writing two entries to make up for one if keeping your goal is that important.[...]Click here to continue reading...
Easy Journaling is built with the purpose to make- wait for it- journaling easier. Of course this has turned into a heavy emphasis on taking part in the practice with digital means which is usually things like smartphones, tablets and computers. This doesn’t necessarily mean that journaling is easier if done digitally. This is just the result of, in my own experience, if I don’t keep a journal electronically in my currently busy life, I don’t keep one at all.
If you notice the poll to the right of this post, you will see a simple question with a few options. Even though this poll just started and only has a few votes, pen and paper is the preferred way to journal by a decent margin. This may change as votes continue to come in, but in the bigger scheme of things, the results really don’t matter.
To me, if I can help you get into any kind of journal and/or improve your practice, I have succeeded. Since there are many others in the journaling space online, I am grateful to be the digital go-to for this incredible pass-time. That doesn’t mean, however, that I haven’t personally filled several bound journals nor discourage your keeping a journal or diary with pen and paper, Morse code or stitching (or… whatever). As long as it fulfills you and it fits into your schedule, I say go for it!
The tricky part of all of this is that, unless you have tried all different ways to journal, how can you know that your preferred method is the best for you? When I first got started with journaling online, I definitely felt that it was the right way for me at that point. How did I know? Because I did it consistently for the first time in years. I felt the security of the cloud and the power of my typing skills over my scary handwriting.
If there is a moral to take away from this, know that pretty much any way to journal isn’t, by itself, better than any other way. However, there is a best way for you to keep a diligent journal or diary and my challenge to you today is that if you have never tried anything other than the current way you are doing it, try something different. There are free options here and here if you want to try the method I am currently into and preaching. Then again, if you have never journaled in any form and only been active on Facebook or Twitter, I invite you to feel the subtle power of silently writing in a blank, bound paper journal.
Anyone disagree and not open to trying a new way of journaling?[...]Click here to continue reading...
Let’s cut to the chase right from the beginning: there is no right or wrong journaling frequency. If you are comfortable doing it every day or just once a year, either way is fine. The most important concept that will make you happy about the experience is your habit matching your goal. For example, if you want to write once a week and you only manage about once a month, you won’t be satisfied.
I just want to consider for a second the ramifications the consistency of your journal keeping has on the content within. These are things I have learned from experience, but would love to hear if you have seen the same trend with your own writing.
Journal writing can be closely compared to Google Maps. When you are zoomed far out on, say, the state you live in, it is like writing in your journal rarely (like once a month or longer). Although you can’t make out the details, you get a quick general sense of the landscape. Sure, you don’t know what you daily routine is like for that period of your life, but you do know the main themes and story lines. You can’t see the town you live in, but you do see some mountain ranges and how the location relates to other states.
Now consider the other end of the spectrum. Let’s say you journal every single day without fail. Now you are zoomed in to where you can even see your house and backyard. You know what color your roof is, you can see your neighbors car and you see the road to your work. If you move around a bit you can see your kids school and nearby parks. You can’t see where you are in relation to the nearest city, but you have a ton of detail about your neighborhood and town.
Does this make sense? I am not arguing for one or the other end of the frequency spectrum. Journal often and you will have a ton of detail about your daily life with few generalities and trends. Journal rarely and you broad perspective but little detail of the little things in life. I have experienced both and I think every level of journaling frequency is interesting in its own right.
Perhaps the best method is to find a way to do the best of both worlds. One way this could be accomplished is by keeping a daily journal on your smartphone or tablet and once a month sitting down and writing a full entry about that period in your life which you can add as an entry later or keep as a separate journal. Again, there is no right or wrong way but it would nice to have a way to see all level of detail in your life’s map.
How often do you write in your journal? Or are you consistent in your inconsistency like I sometimes am?[...]Click here to continue reading...
When it comes to journaling, I am experienced, but I’m not pro. My expertise is more in the mobile and app worlds and my love of journaling is a nice compliment, especially when in helping others find good digital journals. This is why I am grateful to call in the professionals now and again to really show us all how it is done. Simply Bliss Life is a blog that is dedicated to encouraging awareness through journaling. Monique Halley from Simply Bliss was grateful enough to share this piece about her ongoing Jouranling Challenge. I highly encourage you to not only read this, but check out Simply Bliss Life as well.
If you want to discover who you truly are, you will have to get on a path of self-discovery, which can be a frightening process. You have to be willing to question your own thoughts and issues which before, you were afraid to acknowledge to yourself. Despite it being frightening, it’s also very rewarding. You will have to do a great deal of writing. Therefore, journaling is the best technique to use as a way to record your experiences. The writing process forces you to stop and be present with your thoughts. You will be able to review or reread earlier reflections, which will help you find meaning in what is being examined. Over the years I have personally experience the benefits of getting to know my true self. Examining my life gave me the courage to be honest and open with myself, I was able to recognize unhealthy habits and patterns and make necessary changes. One of the best returns was getting clarity on what I wanted to do in life and the steps I needed to take to accomplish my goals.[...]Click here to continue reading...
How’s those new years resolutions comin’? I’m going to take a wild guess and assume that you, like myself, have not only discontinued your resolutions, but have even forgotten what they were in the first place.
Why are people so terrible at creating new habits? Why is self improvement so difficult?
One of my theories is because life is a process. We are here to learn and grow and become better people. If we always take the easy route, we won’t ever improve.
One of the most popular self improvement categories is health. Journaling roughly fits this bill as well as eating right and exercise. Because of parents who engrained in me the benefits of journaling from a young age, it is one area where I haven’t struggled keeping a good habit at.
Exercise and eating right, on the other hand, have always been a struggle. I always played sports in high school, but in more recent years it has been more difficult to keep regular fitness into my routine. I have tried going to gyms and jogging every day but essentially I always fail. Why? Because I don’t like it. Not one bit. Running just to run reminds me of hell week in preseason football training.
But even though working out just to workout is distasteful to me, I am rather healthy and in shape. The reason? I only move my body when it is fun to me.
I love playing basketball and have recently found that I like hockey as well so I get at least a couple of good games in a week. I also recently sold my truck so that I could ride my bike to work and have found that biking is rather enjoyable as well. Occasionally I will run a little, but it is just to see if I am staying in shape and I never get past a mile. I just get too bored.
Similarly, I traditionally am a poor eater. The faster and more processed a food item is, the more likely I am to consume it. I have tried increasing my fruits and vegetable intake to no avail. Taking the next step, I also went through a phase when I tried to take a daily multivitamin pill to supplement the gaps in my diet. That didn’t work either. I would only remember to take it once a week or so.
My solution to this conundrum? Flintstones children’s multivitamin.
I’ll admit it, I love my Flintstones vitamins. They taste great and come in tons of neat shapes and colors as well. Make fun of me if you like, but I now regularly exceed my recommended daily value in most categories.
Just like basketball and hockey were my solution to staying fit because I love to play them, I always remember to take my vitamin now because I love to eat them. I never miss a day.
Wouldn’t it be better if I just ate healthier meals? Wouldn’t my heart be stronger if I just walked more flights of stairs and parked further away so as to walk more?
Sure, I would be better off if I had more natural methods to my health. But the bottom line is that what I do is much better than doing nothing. And I have also found that there are stepping stones in these processes. Getting into shape has shown me the great changes it can make in the way I look and feel. I recently took the next step and have finished the first month of the Insanity workout by Team Beach Body.
As anyone else been successful at tricking themselves into a habit?[...]Click here to continue reading...
Many of my journal entries are lame. I’ll man up and admit it. They could have been written by Watson, the IBM Jeopardy robot.
It’s not that I don’t care or don’t try, I just get lazy sometimes. I leave out the real substance and settle for the Oreo cookies that go with every meal- a log of the days events.
But fortunately I try and improve every day as well. Sometimes I make a concerted effort to stay away from the empty calories and go for the healthy stuff. The kind my mom used to hide in our pancakes.
Like cracked wheat and stuff.
So, here are 3 quick tips that I sometimes use that will improve your journal TODAY:
Did it work? Let me know in the comments.[...]Click here to continue reading...
I once had a brilliant idea for my journals. I wanted to get colored pencils and go through them, page by page, color coding different themes. I would use blue for inspiration, yellow for a funny story, green for a life changing event, and so on.
Of course I never did this. It would be far to much work for something no one would ever appreciate, including myself. Fortunately, with eJournals, I have realized that a small variation on this idea is not only possible, but it is easy and very effective.
If you use an online or mobile journal, you may be aware of a “Search” function built in (if you haven’t yet started one of these, you should probably make sure the one you choose has this feature). This is a great way to quickly find an event or a person you know you wrote about in the past. This is one of the key selling points for switching to digital journaling as a similar search through a physical journal would be nearly impossible.[...]Click here to continue reading...
If you have ever read the famous Calvin and Hobbes comic strip, you probably know about Calvinball. This game shows up frequently and is a game of excitement, exhilaration and… ever changing rules. In fact, there aren’t really any rules to Calvinball. That is what makes it what it is. If you have to ask yourself what the rules are, then your aren’t doing it right.
If you asked a hundred thousand people how to journal, you would likely get just as many answers (except for the fair amount that would say ‘I don’t know!’). The reason everyone has a different take on what journaling is and how to do it is because, like Calvinball, there aren’t any rules. The only qualification for a good journal entry is to put the pen to the paper (or the keys to the keyboard or the thumbs to the touchscreen…).
In EasyJournaling we have and will get into some journaling tips, journaling topics and some journal writing prompts, all to expand your skill set and enrich your writing experience. But the biggest step is just to get started and to keep going. Your style will evolve and expand and you will probably feel that you are getting ‘better’, whatever ‘better’ is.
[...]Click here to continue reading...
Recording one’s life events has nearly paralleled humanity in its entirety. Many of the religious books we use today, including the Bible, are a compilation (at least in part) of personal journals. As long as a writing utensil and medium have been available, humans have written down their history. Even today, many faithful journal keepers prefer the intimacy of a physical book to write in.
Journaling has only moved past ink and paper in the last few decades. The personal computer made digitally stored journals and diaries a reality in the 70’s. In the 90’s, the Internet was a major catalyst for the possibilities of how, when and where you could update your journal.[...]Click here to continue reading...