Last month, while shopping at Home Goods for Christmas gifts I came across a stack of notebooks and diaries. As I was pawing through the bin, my eye was caught by a slim book, ” REVIEW YOUR DAY ; Three Year Journal”.
Along with the usual New Year resolutions ( Diet, Exercise), I had promised myself that I would begin writing a journal. I opened the book and saw that each page was for a single day ( no surprise there) but that it was also divided into three. Each part was for the same day for the current year, next year and the year after that. Naturally, each part only had space for about eight lines. After rating the day ( from one to five stars), journal writers could write a headline and then note down the salient happenings of the day. It seemed to me that this format had several advantages beyond the obvious one of being able to compare the same day from one year to the next. I bought a copy and have been diligently keeping it since January 1st.
The limited space for daily entries is a huge benefit. It forces me to be economical with words and to ask myself what were the notable things that happened to me that day. There is no space here for fluff which, a year or even a week from now, will seem meaningless. Because I only have to write a few lines, it is easier for me to write my journal every day. As I have found out in the past, having to write a whole page each day is difficult. Not only is it time consuming, it puts unnecessary pressure on the diarist. Let’s face it, most days are mundane and hardly seem worth writing about. Very soon, this leads to a day missed , then another and, pretty soon, the end of the journal writing.
It is amazing how informative these condensed comments are. My brother- in- law has been following this format for several years. He doesn’t have a three year journal like I do but in his small diary, he condenses his daily entries to four lines or less of shorthand. He showed me some entries from several years ago and was able, on reading them, to recreate exactly what had happened that day. Very impressive, and an example that I’m trying to emulate.
The rating system in the three year journal is also very important. Having to think about the noteworthy things that happened each day causes me to concentrate on them and forget the petty annoyances that are part of daily life. This in turn makes me more grateful for my experiences that day. As a result, I find myself marking almost every day as a four or five star experience. Without the journal, I know I would think of my life as a succession of three star days, not bad but nothing special.
If you have never written a journal, it is something I strongly recommend. If you do, when you do, you will find the shortened entries are a boon that will enable you to continue to write regularly. And, as you will also discover, having to take stock of your day and describe it will make you more appreciative of the things that happen to you. As a close friend is fond of remarking ” Life is good. Let us make the most of it and be grateful for what we have”.