The benefits of journaling and practicing “daily gratitudes” are wide-ranging. The simple act of getting thoughts on paper can give you stress relief, better goal-planning, a higher mode of self-reflection and overall greater happiness.

When you write something down you’re also more accountable to yourself. In the morning our minds are teeming with worries and hopes and dreams. Your mind looks something like this:

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By putting your thoughts down on paper, you can get all of the angels and demons out of your system so that you can move on with the rest of your day to focus on the important stuff.

Your brain will then look something like this:


I use a ballpoint pen and always start and finish the journal in the same format.

Three Gratitudes. I list 3 things I am grateful for. It could be anything from being grateful for having a loving girlfriend to the way the sun feels shining through the window.

The bulk of the journal is just putting pen to paper and letting a stream-of-consciousness emerge. I write down what I am feeling, what I’m worried about, what I enjoyed about the previous day, what I would like to do and what I can do to improve. Other times I’ll just list out ideas I have for blog posts or business ideas. Writing in cursive handwriting is particularly important as it helps with conceptual development and memory. 

To Do List: Most days, except weekends, I include a list of priority tasks and nice to haves. The number of items ranges from 3-10 but usually somewhere in between.

Towards the end, I include an affirmation. I will finish the marathon, I will finish the marathon, I will finish the marathon, I will finish the marathon, I will finish the marathon.

At the very end I play a very short word game that I saw in a TED talk by Shimpei Takahashi, which stuck in my head for some reason. He uses the technique to come up with new ideas, while I simply use it as a fun ending to my journal. The game is simple: write one word down and then continue forming words using the last letter of the previous word. Pickle. Eagle. Estonia. Apples. Sapiens. Serpentine. Elephant. Tupperware. Egregious. Send. Dork. Kitkat. Tandem. Machine. Earth. Heal. Love. Oh, and I always end with the word “love.”

Which means I start my day, every day, thinking about love…cheesy, I know.

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