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6 Intriguing and Effective Journaling Methods to Help You Make it a Habit

A way to overcome the barriers to an extremely beneficial habit, so you can begin reaping its benefits

Journal from Others’ Perspective

  • Give the other person’s account of what happened, ensuring to be sympathetic to them. Think of this as their first-person account in a story where they are the protagonist.
  • Focus equally (if you can) on both their interactions with you and on their time during the day or week not spent with you, as it serves as a foundation for discussions you had with them, conflicts, etc. Try to form a sympathetic story around them that would (if it happened to you) explain (though not necessarily justify) their behavior.
  • Write about what they may desire from you, and expect from you — and whether you’re meeting those desires and expectations. Also, talk about things they may be desiring, but not telling you.

The T.L.C Method

  • Thank
    Think of something that happened during the day or week that your’e thankful for. It has to be specific, not a generic I’m thankful for my family. An example from my journaling is that I was thankful to the guy at the rental car counter at the Baltimore airport. He endured an encounter with a really tough customer in line before me, and still asked me how my day was (which was not great — it was almost entirely spent at airports). He also recommended a place to eat that night (that was still open at almost 10pm on a Monday).
  • Learn
    I’ve long thought that you should learn something new each day. More specifically, every interaction you have should teach you something. Take some time to think about what you learned during the day, and write a bit about it. Perhaps write how you’ll use it, or if perhaps you have strong feelings about it, or a good story.
  • Connect
    I use “connect” here in two ways:

    (1) What things did you connect? In other words, what concepts did you make an analogy between or otherwise find an intellectual string tying one to the other?
    Learning is all about connecting things in your mind. Take new information, and tie it in to well-worn knowledge. Find similarities and patterns.
    (2) With whom did you connect? What conversations did you have, what were they about? What was the takeaway from each? What is that person excited about? What can you talk with them about in the future? What could you work on with them?

The 5 Whys Journal

Mundane things enjoyed

The 3 Act Journal

  • Act 1: The Introduction
    Think about something that was pivotal in your day, something that you were able to resolve or make significant progress on. Explain the context and importance of it, as if you were writing a story. What was the sequence of events that led up to the main event? Who were the main players? What were their possible motives? What were yours? What conversations took place? What emotions were felt, and by whom?
  • Act 2: The Obstacle or Conflict
    What happened? What was the pivotal moment, or pivotal choice? How did it play out? What emotions were you feeling as the event occurred? Did it go your way, or not? Did you handle yourself well, or not?
  • Act 3: The Resolution and Takeaway
    The third act is normally seen as “falling action” or “resolution,” and thus where the reflection takes place. Use the third act to wrap things up, and bring your mind from that conflict, through the aftermath, and where you are now. Talk about whether you’d have done anything differently, what you learned about yourself and about others, and how you’ll approach similar situations in the future.

The Core Values Journal

  1. Keep it fresh from day to day
  2. Eliminate the stress of having to start a journal entry from scratch
  3. Focus my daily activities on whatever it is I’ll be writing (so, I’ll be on the lookout for things to be grateful for, a little thing enjoyed, some connections I made, and so on).

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Mike Sturm

Creator: — A simpler personal productivity system. Writing about productivity, self-improvement, business, and life.