“Keeping a journal is like taking good care of one’s heart.” -Ted Kooser
If you know me well you know I love and enjoy journaling. It’s a wonderful way to record, recount and reflect on how we spend our time throughout our precious lives. Even extensive studies and science tell us how beneficial journal writing is. However, in 2015 I got into a rut with journaling and had a difficult time coming up with insightful new things to add. Journaling became an unenjoyable mundane task where I found myself mindlessly recounting the uneventful and routine items from a given day. Eat, sleep, work, repeat…what more was there to add? Routine and redundant days led to unhealthy journaling exepriences whereby I found myself recording negative frustrations and obstacles from a day or week lived. Moreover, as family and work responsibilities grew, I found it hard to devote quality time to journaling on a daily basis. Who has time for journaling any way?
The fruits of journaling became bitter, I stopped doing it and the habit was momentarily lost. I was in a rut. After several months of a journal hiatus, I tried something new. I decided to simplify my journaling experience by just focusing on recording one victory from each day lived. It’s called my “Victory Journal.” I started it on Thanksgiving, 2015, and I have not missed one day since.
Here’s how to do it and how it works:
1.) Download Colornote or Evernote or some equivalent note keeping application where you can easily enter new victories, save, and backup. Evernote is great because you can sync with all your devices. Colornote is simple and does the job. If you prefer pen to paper, go for it. I prefer e-note keeping because I can back it up and know it won’t be lost. I can also choose to print it out at anytime if I’d like a hard copy.
2.) Before you retire for the evening, record at least one victory from the day. Repeat daily.
I could experience a day where everything seemed to go wrong, but it’s still within my power to do something great and victorious. I could call up my parents and tell them I love them. I could perform a random act of kindness. I could finish up that project that has been looming. I could spend quality, devoted time playing with my child. I could make a healthy meal. I could go on a walk and have a nice talk with my wife. There is always something positive to note; and if there’s really not, then I know I need to step it up. If in the late evening I haven’t yet been able to recount something positive and victorious from my day lived, then I know I need to create or do something quick because come bed time I will need to report some positive victory. This journaling approach focuses on results and accountability. It also leaves room for positive thinking and reflecting on items I’m most grateful for. It is simple and doesn’t take much of my time (the average entry takes me less than one minute–I can afford that).
3.) Need a pick-me-up? Look back on previous entries. Victory journaling reminds me what I’m capable of. It creates an avenue for me to think positively about the limitless possibilities for my day.
4.) Conclusion: we’re here, so let’s make something of it. Let’s focus on doing amazing things and developing wonderful habits. Let’s find the good in every single day. Let’s contribute, create, live mindfully, love and serve others. Being victorious can and should be a daily habit. You’ll see this is possible when you strive towards it and record it.