A Daily Journal Practice to Build Happiness

In this post, I explain why I love my daily journal practice.

My journal gives me a dedicated space to document the things I need to get done, ideas that pop into my head, and daily quotes that help me to keep the right frame of mind (or get it back on track after a rough day). It is part of my morning ritual which sets me up for a calm day.

Every weekday morning, I sit at my desk and open my Leuchtthrum 1917 hardcover journal with the dotted pages and I set to writing out the day. My full journal routine is below but the highlights are the quote (usually from a Stoic philosopher) that I source and the check-in section where I take a moment to log my dominant emotion. It is simple and, for me, a powerful way to set myself up for a successful day.

As a huge proponent in the practice of writing “it” out, I recommend the practice to everyone. I’ve had a daily journal practice since I started working in the corporate world. It’s my to-do list, goal list, keeper of receipts, tracking tool, and planner. Without it I am lost. Let me express my true feelings about my journal by knocking off this famous quote from the movie, Full Metal Jacket: THIS IS MY JOURNAL. THERE ARE MANY LIKE IT BUT THIS ONE IS MINE. MY JOURNAL IS MY BEST FRIEND. IT IS MY LIFE. I MUST MASTER IT AS I MASTER MY LIFE. WITHOUT ME IT IS USELESS, WITHOUT MY JOURNAL I AM USELESS.

Research on the Power of a Daily Journal Practice

Apparently, I am not alone in my belief of the power of journaling. Here are some statistics that prove the benefits:

Now back to the point of this post. There are a hundred ways, or more, to keep a daily journal practice. There is the art of bullet journaling, the idea of morning pages, art journaling, diary-style, gratitude journaling, dream journaling, and more.

How I set up My Daily Journal Page

For me, I take a pragmatic approach. My journal serves as a day planner, meditation space, to-do list, and motivation reminder…all on ONE page! About three years ago, I added two new sections to my daily journal practice. The first is what I call it the “daily check-in 4” and the 2nd is my to-do list.

The “daily check-in 4 looks like this:

  • Today: this is a word or two of how I feel that morning, like rested or optimistic
  • Why: why do I feel like that? For example, slept well or excited for new project
  • Action: this is ONE action I can take this day to move my life in the direction I want. Maybe it is enroll in class or eat cleanly.
  • Grateful: this is something for which I am grateful, like my health or family

Below is today’s page. The date at the top and the quote under that. Down the left side, hours of activity with appointments and meetings listed. On the right the daily check-in 4 and under that the to-do list. PRO TIP – try to limit your to-do list to 5 items, maximum. Any more and you need to refine your prioritization.

If I have any notes from my 2pm call, I will take them on the next page(s). I love the look of gorgeous artistic bullet journals, but that just isn’t me. I want something functional, quick, and useful for me. You may want something totally different. The key is to find what works for you.
*Oops! I know that today is March 25th….apparently I am ready for the weekend! 😁

What do you think? Do you have a daily journal practice? Let me know your favorite style of journaling OR if you don’t journal, let me know why.
Sound off in the comments section. Thanks for stopping by!