They never tell you how to write a diary, but all experts advise you to keep one. The time has come to write effective journal pages.
"Writing a diary is the way my life takes on meaning."
I have now lost count of the personal growth books I have read since I became passionate about this weird philosophy of life. And I assure you that after almost 15 years of reading and experimenting you are starting to get a pretty clear idea of what are the habits that change your life.
Write a personal diary is undoubtedly one of them. Not surprisingly, nearly all personal development authors suggest having one on a daily basis.
But I have to make a confession to you ...
What the hell do you have to write on a diary page?
Personally, it took me years to understand how to write a journal effectively. I know, it sounds stupid. We're not talking about astrophysics! Just take a diary page and start writing in it, right? Almost…
If you are reading this article I suspect that you too have come close to the idea of writing a diary, but with no particular success. You may have tried this in the past, but have given up on this habit due to the poor results. Or maybe you want to start, but you don't know what the heck to write on a journal page.
After all, we are all overwhelmed by a thousand commitments. If we were to establish in our life all the good habits that the various experts suggest, we would find ourselves having to live the famous ones 30-hour days.
The time has therefore come to ask ourselves how to write a diary that does not waste us too much time, but above all gives us concrete benefits.
The goal of today's article is precisely to provide you with a effective diary template, which you can complete in less than 5 minutes and which will help you, day after day, to stay focused on what really matters: your goals and your happiness.
Gnente's promise! Let's try to keep it ;-)
How to write a journal that makes you happier every day
"Common sense doesn't always translate into good deeds."
Over the years I have done dozens of experiments with my personal diary: I wrote it at different times of the day, on different media (digital vs. paper) and with different models ("free" diary vs "structured" diary) .
In short, I had known for years that keeping a diary was useful (for at least 7 good reasons), but I had not yet understood how useful it could actually be. This at least until 2013, when I discovered the "Five Minute Journal".
Il Five Minute Journal it was conceived by Alex Ikonn and UJ Ramdas and is based on the most recent research in the field of behavioral sciences. In order to understand this, these two little boys have come up with a diary template that can help you be more focused, have more productive days and, ultimately, be happier. If you don't try it for at least 5 days, it's hard to understand what I'm talking about.
There is a print version and an app of the Five Minute Journal - both are in English and quite expensive. I thought then to share with you what are the 5 essential components of a page of this diary. Specifically, I will propose the parts that I fill in daily and that I have slightly modified compared to the original version, also on the basis of my decades of experience with personal diaries :-) Let's take a look?
Part # 1 (morning): Gratitude
One of the coolest things about this diary is that it needs to be filled in as soon as you wake up and before you go to sleep. This temporal division in fact allows us to give the right rhythm to our days and to "program" our mind during sleep.
"Never go to sleep without a specific request to your subconscious."
As for the parts to be filled in in the morning, the first concerns the gratitude. I have already told you in the past how close is the link between gratitude and happiness (read on). If we are not grateful, we cannot be happy. The first question you will have to answer in your diary is therefore the following:
- What are the three things I am grateful for this morning? -
Listen André, but in the morning I have the murderous instincts, I would just like to stay and sleep under the covers: I have no idea what the hell to write under this question!
No deep or mystical answers. You simply have to write down three little things you are grateful for.
Part # 2 (morning): Priority
The second part of the diary, to be filled in always in the morning, concerns yours priority for the day; those in the anti-procrastination manual Start! I define API: Most Important Activities.
Specifically, you need to answer this simple question:
- What are the three activities that will make today a great day? -
Project your mind into the evening and imagine that you have completed these 3 activities, activities that make you feel good, activities that help you grow. Would it be a day well spent or not? ;-)
Writing these 3 most important activities in the morning also has the power to influence our Reticular Activator System (SAR), that is the portion of our brain responsible for filtering information from the external environment. Put simply, focusing on the 3 bees as soon as you wake up will help you stay on track for the rest of the day. Trust me: it works bad!
Part # 3 (morning): Goals
After writing the priorities for your day, in the third part of the diary (to be filled in always in the morning), we will instead report the medium-term goals (3-5 years).
The question you need to answer is the following:
- Who will I have become in 5 years? -
The goal of this third part is to help you visualize your goals. For visualization to have a real effect, however, you must not limit yourself to writing down your future life (who you will be, where you will be, who you will be with, etc.), you must also briefly imagine the process that will have allowed you to achieve these goals.
To deepen this point, I refer you to the article in which we talked about what are the visualization techniques really effective.