#039: The 7 Benefits of Keeping a Journal [Podcast]

In this episode, I talk about the benefits of keeping a journal. I also share my own practice and offer a few tips. Whether you have never journaled, need a little motivation to keep going, or are just curious about what others do, I think you will find this episode helpful.

The 7 Benefits of Keeping a Journal

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Between blog posts, podcast show prep, courses, speeches, and books, I typically write several thousand words a week. However, I have never been a consistent journaler. I tried. I had friends who swore by it. It just never worked for me, until recently.

On our vacation last summer, my wife, Gail, challenged me to give it another try. I reluctantly agreed and fell in love with it. I have now journaled daily for more than six months.

If I had to sum it up, I would say journaling has afforded me seven benefits.

  1. Process previous events
  2. Clarify my thinking
  3. Understand the context
  4. Notice my feelings
  5. Connect with my heart
  6. Record significant lessons
  7. Ask important questions

When I started journaling, I did it the old fashioned way. I kept my journal in a physical notebook. I happen to use an EcoSystems Journal. However, I am not the best at writing lots of text by hand. The legibility of my writing deteriorates quickly.

On day three of my journaling experience, I stumbled upon a software program called DayOne. This is a beautiful minimalist writing tool that reminds me a lot of ByWord, the program I use to do much of my blog writing.

About a month ago, I started using Evernote for my journaling. Several people had suggested this from the beginning, and I finally saw the wisdom of it. It makes all my journal entries readily available when I search for a topic, making my notes available for blog posts, speeches, books, etc.

Regardless, there are a thousand different ways to keep a journal. Don’t get hung up on the method or the software. The most important thing to do is just to start.

Listener Questions

  1. Aaron Johnson asked, “Some people just can’t seem to journal. Are there other ways people can engage in the process of self-reflection?”
  2. Bud Brown asked, “How do you flag pages in your journal, so you can get back to the important stuff?”
  3. Christopher Scott asked, “How do you catalog or keep track of previous journal entries?”
  4. Lynn Morrissey asked, “Is journaling scriptural or should Christians be wary of it as a New Age practice for self-exploration?”
  5. Jackie Ulmer asked, “Is your journal more of a Cliff Notes summary of the events of your life or is it super-detailed?”
  6. Jason Jones asked, “Is there a benefit to paper journaling?”
  7. Kwin Peterson asked, “For whom do you Journal? Who is the audience you envision?”
  8. Linda Kuhar asked, “When you are journaling, how do you keep yourself from lapsing into performance-mode and writing for an audience?”
  9. Sam Lytle asked, “What are the benefits of keeping a private journal as compared to a public one, like writing a blog or engaging in social media?”

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Episode Resources

In this episode I mentioned several resources, including:

Show Transcript

You can download a complete, word-for-word transcript of this episode here, courtesy of Ginger Schell, a professional transcriptionist, who handles all my transcription needs.

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  • http://jonstolpe.com/ Jon Stolpe

    I do journal.  It’s a great place to record the thoughts that I either am not ready to share or that are just too deep to make public. 

    • http://www.danerickson.net/ Dan Erickson

      Jon, I agree there are some things we should not make public, but I’ve reached a point where most everything is fair game, but I use fiction and poem to express those deeper matters.

      • http://jonstolpe.com/ Jon Stolpe

        I can see how that could work.  But there are still some areas of my life that I’m not ready to explore out in the open yet.

  • Jonathan Harrison

    I just started using Evernote a few days ago – a journal is a great way to help me make the most of its’ features.

    I know I have been missing important lessons and useful personal stories by not journaling.

    Today I’m starting my journal, thanks for the inspiration!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Good for you, Jonathan. Go for it!

      • Jonathan Harrison

        Just an update: week #1 – 100% complete!

        This has been so rewarding!

        • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

          Jonathan. That is awesome. Congratulations!

  • FromHisPresence

    Hi, I loved your post! I started journaling right after college, just as a way to keep my spending plan, goals, notes, etc all in one place. I’ve been at it for 11 years now. It’s especially helpful to me in my Bible study. There is nothing that helps me get new ideas and understand the Bible better than writing notes longhand as I read. Somehow the physical action of writing it down stimulates my brain and spirit. Journaling helps me go deeper with God than I ever could have without it. It’s also a great way to write down my ideas and impressions… then it astounds me when I go back and read them, and they were dead-on. Great way to build faith and motivation. Thanks for the post!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I love your story. I journal a lot about what I read in the Bible too. It is amazing how much insight I get just via the act of writing.

  • http://emuelle1.typepad.com/ Eric S. Mueller

    I’ve journaled on and off over the years. Last year I read through some of my old entries. I had some good laughs and relived some horrors. I also felt really bad at a several year gap in my joural. I haven’t learned from it though.

    About 10 years ago, I was keeping my journal in a running Word file. Then I moved it to Evernote, and I’ve kept it there ever since. I’ve been using Evernote since version 1, back when it was blue and only available for Windows. It also used to allow handwritten notes, which went away with EN3 and haven’t come back yet.

    • http://www.easyjournaling.com Sam

      I found journaling to be much easier via keyboard as well, Eric. You should really look into Penzu. There is a free version where you can do everything you are doing and more. Plus, it is available online as well as iPhone and Android.

  • http://emuelle1.typepad.com/ Eric S. Mueller

    I also forgot to add in my earlier comment that typing a journal isn’t the only way to do it. I’ve experimented with Evernote’s audionote function for some journal entries. When I got the iPhone 4S, I started dictating some journal entries too. It works a little better than I expected. But I predominantly type them. Listening to my own voice ramble through a journal entry feels a little awkward.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I haven’t thought about dictating them. If you’re on a Mac, you could do both. You could dictate into the dictation function and have it insert the actual words into your Evernote note.

      • http://emuelle1.typepad.com/ Eric S. Mueller

        That comes by default on a Mac, right? Sadly, with all the improvement in Windows, I don’t think I’ll get that functionality without buying an expensive software package like Dragon.

        I’ve wanted a Mac for years, but have never been able to get it in the budget.

        • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

          Yea, it comes built-in.

          • Leah

            My Mac does that? How?

  • http://blog.cyberquill.com/ Cyberquill

    I used to journal for a while, but it bugged me that nobody would ever read what I wrote, so I stopped and started to blog. Now nobody reads what I blog. (I’m slightly exaggerating for dramatic purposes.) 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      There’s got a be a great joke in there somewhere!

      • http://blog.cyberquill.com/ Cyberquill

        There always is. For instance, why does the blonde have an old copy of the WSJ in her closet? (Answer: Someone once told her to keep a journal.)

        • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

          Okay. That’s funny.

        • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

           Hahaha. Nice one.

  • CarlaFlemings

    Thanks again for another great podcast.  I have paper journaled for years and now I have stacks, stacks and more stacks of journals taking up a lot of space.  I never thought about journaling electronically but would like too.  Unfortunately, I don’t have a MAC so I can’t use DayOne.  Since you said Evernote is not that secure, I’m a bit hesitant.  However, I’m sure there are other apps out there – so now I have been motivated to get my search on. Thanks Mike!

  • http://www.danerickson.net/ Dan Erickson

    I kept a journal regularly for well over 15 years.  The past few years, although I still journal, I don’t as often.  My blogging and other writing such as poetry and books has taken over.  My poems, which I compose on my blog, have a journal-like quality to them in that they are little clips of things happening in my life.  My books, although fictional in category, are filled with my deepest thoughts about life, love, God, and more.  Perhaps these are still journals, but I’ve learned to process the art into creative forms?

    I’ll be releasing my second book, “At the Crossing of Justice and Mercy” in April, and my first book of poetry, “Blogged: Two Years of Poetry from Cyberspace” sometime this summer.  I also have the poetry available on my blog @ http://www.danerickson.net 

    • http://www.easyjournaling.com Sam

      Congrats on the book Dan! 

      My own personal journaling led me to write my first book and now I am on number 3! I too believe that writing books is a form of expression very similar to (if not the same as) journaling.

      • http://www.danerickson.net/ Dan Erickson

        That’s great, Sam.  Keep it up!

  • Semira Agabu

    Writing has always been a passion for me thus, journaling
    came naturally. i just had the urge to write down every single thing and the
    primary benefit i have gotten from this is; clarity, in a strange way things
    becoming clearer once its down on the pages of a book or once i can read it on
    my computer.

    So when i need to have clarity on any area of my life, i refer back to things i
    have written before or just turn a new page and start writing. Once am done
    with this process, i get to see things “clearly”. 

     

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

       I agree. Clarity is a primary benefit. How long have you been journaling, Semira?

  • http://rickwolff.com Rick Wolff

    I took up journaling a while back, by means of an app called Day One. When I stopped, its alarm continued to go off at 9:30pm night after night. I was faced with the choice of overcoming the inner voice of, “Ugh, it’s been so long, which means restarting is going to be that much harder, if only I hadn’t let it lapse in the first place, yada yada,” or ignoring it yet another night. Finally I just turned the alarm off. 

    I’m going to restart it, for two reasons (Listing and numbering reasons? Uh-oh, I’m morphing into Michael!):
    (1) It’s a good onramp to blogging (another lapsed discipline that talks to me), without my having to ask the “what business is this to anybody?” question.
    (2) I need a victory over that inner voice. Something I can point to and say, “See? I don’t quit everything.”
    Who knows? Maybe this time I may even read what I wrote.

    • http://www.easyjournaling.com Sam

      There are two by-products to journaling, Rick. The first is just the act of doing it which has been proven to have health benefits. The second is the words, stories and feelings left behind. Even if you never read what you wrote you get many of the journaling benefits.

      And as far as numbering reasons, I got started once and finished with 101 reasons to write a journal! That’s like Michael on steroids!!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Excellent. All the best.

  • http://www.jackiebledsoe.com/ jbledsoejr

    Have a 30 minute commute daily…looking fwd to it this Wednesday…new #leadership podcast every Wed. from @mhyatt:disqus 

    • http://www.easyjournaling.com Sam

      One thing that helped me was to start journaling on my iPhone. I didn’t write a bunch at first but I wrote something almost every single day because I could pull it out of my pocket at any time, write a few words and include a picture to give it context. Now I occasionally write from my phone and occasionally from my computer. It is much easier to type on a keyboard for me! If you have an iPhone, try Everyday Timeline. If you have Android, try Diaro 3.

      • http://www.jackiebledsoe.com/ jbledsoejr

        Thx Sam.  I use Evernote for everything, so I’m about 98.875% sure I’ll be using Evernote.  I need to take some suggestions from Michael’s podcast and commit to it daily.

        • http://www.easyjournaling.com Sam

          I personally don’t use Evernote for my journal because I have so much other stuff in it. I like to to keep my journal separate, but that’s just me! 

    • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

      Jackie,
      That’s a great idea listening to these podcasts as part of the commute. I typically listen to them while on the treadmill at the gym. But I’m going to steal…um, er…borrow your idea for my commute :-)

  • Jason Fancy

    Appreciate the good content. I started journaling about 6 months ago, and have found it very helpful. The main benefit I have noticed is the clarity of thought. I have been a thinker all my life, but have been actively working on my communication skills in the past year or so. Journaling helps this process by forcing me to verbalize my thoughts and feelings on paper, and has improved my interpersonal communication as well. In fact, I have come to value it so much, it has led to me putting my passions into writing in book form. Your information on publishing and authoring has been helpful in this area as well. Thanks for the solid content with integrity.

    • http://www.easyjournaling.com Sam

      Keep it up Jason! You know what they say… “the best place to learn how to sing is in the shower!”

  • Tracy Line

    I have kept a journal for almost my entire life.  I do it old school-with pen and paper that I’ve stocked up during the July back to school sales, I get up early every day, have prayer time and then write about whatever is on my mind.  It’s like free therapy, helps me to clear my head, organize my thoughts and gain understanding into myself and my feelings.  It is very interesting to look back at what you wrote about years later.   

    • http://www.easyjournaling.com Sam

      I did it old school for years and loved it. If I didn’t have two little ones, a full time job and an online business I may even still be doing it but digital journaling turned out to be more practical in my own situation.

      Amen to journaling as free therapy!

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      True, Tracy. I regularly go back and read what I wrote months and years ago. So interesting to see the journey from that perspective!

  • http://www.sundijo.com Sundi Jo Graham

    I’m an avid supporter of journaling. I was able to write my first traditionally published book because of one year of journal entries. 

    • http://www.easyjournaling.com Sam

      I’m not traditionally published yet, Sundi, but I also was inspired to write my first novel because of my personal journaling. What steps did you take to get published?

      • http://www.sundijo.com Sundi Jo Graham

        I put together a book proposal and searched for publishers and agents. I actually used @mhyatt:disqus ‘s winning book proposal template. A must-read. 

        • http://www.easyjournaling.com Sam

          Fiction or non fiction? I didn’t have much success on the traditional publishing road with my fiction book but I’ll bet my upcoming 101 Reasons to Write a Journal stands a much better chance.

          I really do need to check out Michael’s proposal template. Thanks!

          • http://www.sundijo.com Sundi Jo Graham

            I used the non-fiction, but I’m writing a fiction novel now with another author and we’ll be using his fiction book proposal outline for that. 

          • http://www.easyjournaling.com Sam

            Thanks!

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

       Well done, Sundi Jo. So happy for you!

      • http://www.sundijo.com Sundi Jo Graham

        Thanks, Michele. Appreciate that. 

  • Steve Hawkins

    I started journaling years ago to deal with personal issues. It helped me transfer all that stuff onto paper so it was no longer in my head. Through that experience, I discovered that writing fit me–something I wouldn’t have realized had I not started journaling. Now years later, I write content for a living. So the primary benefit in my life was career direction.

    Thanks Mike for reminding me about the journey. I’ll have to journal about that today…

    • http://www.easyjournaling.com Sam

      It’s amazing what comes out of our fingers when we start unstuffing our heads! 

      It has been my experience that personal journaling almost always gives more confidence to aspiring writers.

      Good luck on the journey my friend.

  • Phillip Cohen

    I have been journaling since 1969. I have a few dozen notebooks. I started journaling in Microsoft Word around 3 years ago. It’s much easier to keep organized and to search for past thoughts. 
    I journal every day. A few of the many benefits:

    1. I can declutter my mind each day.

    2. By copying and pasting my daily Bible passage into my journal, I can “dialog” with God, which helps me go deeper.
    3. I’m leaving a story for my children and grandchildren. Don’t you wish your parents and grandparents had journaled so you could see what they struggled with?

    4. I hired a couple of authors to help me write a book about my life. The many years of journals helped them with content.   (I’ve published two other books. This one isn’t published yet. Someday I will find the energy to pursue it. Meanwhile, at least my children will have it.)

    My blog is: http://www.runstrongfinishwell.com

    • http://twitter.com/JMZeiger Jennifer M Zeiger

      Phillip, I love the idea of copying your daily Bible passage. I’ve always felt journaling was a way to connect with God and to figure out what He’s telling me, but this just takes it a step further. 

      Also, my Dad journals constantly and I look forward to the day I can look back and see that he struggled with the same things I do. That record will always be a treasure to me. 

      God Bless

      • hischildren

        Also, we faced a crisis in our company around 8 months ago. I required my 28 employees to fill out a written journal daily. They turn in the journal at the end of the week and the secretary types it into a master file. 
        On Monday I walk through the plant and discuss their entries.
        This helps me catch and solve problems quickly and also help me know where they’re at personally.

    • http://www.easyjournaling.com Sam

      Great benefits, Phillip!

      One of the biggest advantages I’ve seen from digital journaling is the ability to copy and paste. Not only can you do it with scripture verses but I have also found it helpful with:
      – Sections of emails from the sent box. We often write precious parts of our lives in emails to close friends.
      – Portions of social media posts.
      – Pieces of public blog posts I have written.
      – Headlines from the news stories of the day so that I can remember what happened in that day in time.
      – Inspiring stories or quotes I run across online or that is shared with me.

      • http://www.cohenwoodworking.com/ Phillip Cohen

        Hey Sam,
        That’s pretty much what I do.

    • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

      Wow, that’s amazing – I started blogging because I wanted to leave a written chronology for my children as well. I’ve only been doing it for a couple of years but I’m in awe of the fact that you’ve been journaling for more than 40 years – truly inspiring!

    • Lynn Morrissey

      I too copy Bible passages in my  journal. There is a quote in 1 or 2 Kings (I think!) about how a new king had to write out his own personal copy of Scripture to take with him wherever he went. It’s a wonderful practice, because it seals Scripture even deeper in our hearts.

  • Rosie Kay

    I journal, and have in spurts through the years.  I find that when I am going through something difficult, it helps to work through my thinking, and wade through  the myriad of feelings that come up.  I find clarity, learn from the situation, and sometimes find my way to the next step I need to take.  It’s been an invaluable tool in my search for truth and awareness.

  • http://kimanziconstable.com/ kimanzi constable

    My journal ended up turning into my first book :) This was a great episode!

    • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

      Well said Kimanzi! Another excellent reason why we should all be journaling!

  • http://twitter.com/prcrouch Philana Crouch

    I have found the book “The Divine Mentor” by Wayne Cordeiro to be very helpful. It is about journaling through the Bible. I use the note document in my Bible software (Logos 5). I am able to compile a document into a compatible ebook that will work in Logos 5, so I plan to archive my journal. Then I can search it.

    • http://www.easyjournaling.com Sam

      Search is one of the best parts of keeping a journal electronically! I’ve also learned that ‘tagging’ or adding ‘keywords’ really makes it easier to find stuff in the future. For example, if you write down a spiritual quote you typically don’t write the word ‘quote’ in it. If you make the conscious effort to add words like ‘quote’ it will make it so much easier to search in the future. 

  • http://www.janiscox.com/ Janis Cox

     I love this post.

    I have been journalling daily since 2001. (started to follow Jesus). I use spiral books (lots of them). This week it helped me find someone when I couldn’t remember his name. I question as well. And always God has an answer. I have written H.E.L.P. many times and that means Having Everything Lifted to God in Prayer. Always get some answer.

    I am not sure if I can go to Day One or Evernote – I sit with my Bible, my studies, my prayer lists, my notebook. But you are right about tracking… I can’t do that and finding something in my journals as they are all in my cupboard in Canada and I am here in Arizona.

    Everything else – blogs, writing etc. is on the computer.

    I feel less “business-like” when I journal with a real hands-on book.

    I love my cuddly book BUT I will think about doing this journal on Evernote.. I track how I feel, birthdays, weather, and how I slept (too funny).

    thanks again,
    blessings,
    Janis

    • http://www.easyjournaling.com Sam

      If you aren’t comfortable with Evernote there are many other options. In fact, you can ‘hand write’ a journal on an iPad or tablet and still have the benefits of digital journaling (easy backup, searchable, pictures…). Max Journal is a fantastic option. You can even keep multiple journals from the one single app!

      • http://www.janiscox.com/ Janis Cox

         My husband has the IPAD and I know he will NOT let it go. :( I work on a MAC. Is there anything for the MAC? I now write directly into my blog sometimes although I still journal some posts first and then type them into my blog.
        Thinking seriously as I like the searchable functions especially for Scriptures, tags, pictures etc.
        Got me thinking.
        Thanks for the reply,
        Janis

  • http://twitter.com/prcrouch Philana Crouch

    Speaking of journaling I am also currently reading the Journals of John Wesley. I am finding it insightful to read how his spiritual journal went. 

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      I bet it’s rich. A while back I read “A Grief Observed,” by C.S. Lewis. It’s his journal after the death of his wife, Joy. So raw, transparent, and insightful. Loved it.

  • Doug

    Great podcast, as always! Just curious: Where/when do you advertise your upcoming podcasts so you can get the called-in questions in advance?

    • http://twitter.com/lettner Michael Lettner

      It’s in the show notes and he tweets it a couple times during the week. In the notes say next week is “How To Get Out Of That Funk.”

    • http://www.clayproductions.com/aaron/ Aaron Johnson

       Doug, click on the podcast page, then you’ll find the link just above the archive list. Here’s the direct link: http://michaelhyatt.com/podcastquestion

  • Graham Scharf

    Do you know of any digital platform that has a seamless convert-to-print feature (e.g. export to Blurb? I love the ease of digital entry and searching, but I’d also love to be able to print it once a year. I find re=reading my old journals far easier in print.

    • http://www.easyjournaling.com Sam

      LDSJournal.com has a printing option (I’ve done it and it was wonderful). Everyday Timeline for the iPhone is releasing one soon. Penzu.com and Diaro 3 for Android (which is also available online) have export to .pdf options so that you can print it at your own convenience via services like lulu.com or createspace.com. 

      • Graham Scharf

         Thanks, Sam!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I’m sorry, I don’t.

  • http://tonychung.ca/ Tony Chung

    Thanks for this:  “Don’t get hung up on the method or the software. The most important thing to do is just to start.”

    Mega important is the commitment to writing in a journal.

  • http://tonychung.ca/ Tony Chung

    Actually, I do have a question: Some of my journal entries are the best writing I feel I’ve ever done. What’s the best way to translate these ideas into public posts without going through a whole lot of effort of cleaning out any personal information?

    • http://www.easyjournaling.com Sam

      My advice is to just rewrite them and roughly base them on your journal entries. This will allow you to include additional insight while leaving out all of the personal stuff. 

      A little more work but the result will be much better.

      • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

        I agree. Great recommendation.

  • http://twitter.com/CRMFYI Jeff Grosse

    Michael, thank you for this podcast. I’ve been thinking about journaling for awhile, but got analysis paralysis and didn’t start. I’m a huge Evernote fan (10,400+ notes thus far) and will likely try journaling there since it’s already so much a part of my daily workflow. The question I have is, can you share the Applescript that you use to create a new note from the journal template you shared with us here. I’m just not sure how to make that happen and if you can share it, that would really be appreciated. Thanks for all the ways you challenge me.

    • http://www.easyjournaling.com Sam

      All I have to say to that is thank the heavens for a search bar!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Sure. Here are the steps:

      1. Create a template in Evernote. This is just a note with the fixed text you want in each note. 2. Export the note to a location that will be permanent. This will be an XML format. 3. Then use this script. I use it with iKey, so I can invoke the script with a single keystroke.
      tell application “Evernote”
      activate
      import “[path to your exported template note]/blog-post-idea.enex” to “Cabinet” with tags end tell

      Cabinet is the notebook I store my journal notes in. You can assign tags in the template before it is exported, and it will use them in each note you create using the AppleScript.

      • Joe

        If you happen to use TextExpander you could create create a journal snippet with fill in fields.  I use them all the time for meeting notes in Evernote.  I find it quicker than using Evernote “Templates”.

        • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

          Yep, either one will work.

  • http://www.clayproductions.com/aaron/ Aaron Johnson

    Michael, Thanks for taking my question.
    Quick Evernote tip that’s great for journaling. In Evernote , Control + Shift +D puts in the current date in this format: January 30, 2013 It’s great for journaling. For Mac, use Cmd key instead of Control.

    • Jim Martin

      Thanks Aaron!  Very nice to learn this shortcut.

  • Janet Wheeler

    I’m not a consistent journaler . . . but I AM a huge list maker / note taker and was excited to learn more about Evernote. I just downloaded it today and, at first glance, it looks like it’s EXACTLY what I need to get control of all the scraps of paper that are cluttering up my workspace. Thanks for sharing about this!

    • hischildren

      Janet,
      A lot of my journaling IS list making. 
      Whatever works for you.

      • Janet Wheeler

        Phillip,
         Interesting thought! Thanks for the nudge to think outside the box!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I bet you love it. It is an awesome app.

  • http://financialplanningapprentice.com Robinson Mertilus

    I thoroughly enjoyed the podcast and post. I look forward to doing a daily journal for the next 21 days as you suggested. I’m looking forward to seeing my own benefits in keeping a journal. Thanks, Michael!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Great, Robinson. I hope it goes well. Thanks.

  • http://christopherbattles.net/ Christopher Battles

    Thank you Michael. 
    I do journal and lately it has been more of a spiritual journal, but this opened my eyes to the benefits of returning to expanding and really adding little things to it as points of interest and such.

    • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

      Same for me Christopher, journaling has become a blended interface of my spiritual and physical day-to-day life.

  • http://www.DavidRobertsons.com/about David Robertson

    @mhyatt:disqus  I have a feeling I am about to open a can of worms, but I don’t see what all the hype about evernote is. Everyone says they use it, but I have not found it useful. 
    I’ll do some searching around for a post about how you use it. Perhaps I just don’t know how to use it. Anyway, let me know if you or anyone here can reference a MichaelHyatt post on evernote. 

    • http://www.DavidRobertsons.com/about David Robertson

      Alright, I did a search for evernote on your blog & it appears there are enough of them to create an entire book ;)

      • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

        Yes, indeed. Thanks.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I have actually written a dozen posts on it. You can find an index here.

      • http://www.easyjournaling.com Sam

        A dozen posts on it and a thousand posts in it. Sounds about right!

        Great podcast Michael. Looking forward to next week when you become the (un)funkmaster!

        • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

          I am really excited about the funk episode. I am recording it tomorrow.

  • http://www.janiscox.com/ Janis Cox

     Thanks Sam. Jotting down in my “hand” journal. lol:)

    • http://www.easyjournaling.com Sam

      I appreciate the irony!

  • Lynn Morrissey

    Hi Michael,
    What a fabulous podcast! You are addressing an extremely crucial topic, because journaling transforms lives–especially, I think, prayer-journaling, which I write about in Love Letters to God: Deeper Intimacy through Written Prayer (on Amazon) that you cited with my question about New Age and journaling. I asked it, because I’m a (certified) journal facilitator, and Christians often ask me this; some even say that journaling is occult! Thank you for setting that straight! King David left us the greatest prayer-journal imaginable–the Psalms! I have journaled for over 35 years, and God has used this cathartic means of expression (those feelings you spoke about!) to heal me from suicidal depression, alcoholism, and pain from an abortion (to name some). Additionally, my journals are a place to capture blessings, wrestle through problems to clear resolution, discover my dreams (aspirations), keep a record of my days, and to record God’s incredible faithfulness through the years. Regular journaling and re-reading gives us great perspective and hope. I also love writing quotes, poetry (mine and others’), song lyrics, memories, questions/answers, etc. in journals, and even including art collage. I think your readers would be amazed at the limitless uses of the journal. I talk to gifted blogger Floyd Samons about journaling at http://theregoi.com/finding-floyd/a-box-of-chocolates/#comment-7759 and with secular journaling pioneer Kathleen Adams on this station: http://exceptionalwisdomradio.com/shows/jfbl/lynn_morrissey.html Though this is not a Christian station, I was pleased for the platform to share journaling from a Christian perspective. You mentioned Luci Swindoll. She discusses journaling in “I Married Adventure” (or paperback edition: “Doing Life Differently.”) The quote you want is this (corrected): “Thoughts disentangle themselves…over the lips and through the fingertips.” —Charles R. Swindoll. Try this for Christian journaling software: http://christian.lifejournal.com/  Thank you again for this exceptional podcast and for bringing this gift to many! God bless all your endeavors! You work is incredible!
    Lynn D. Morrissey

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Lynn. I appreciated your question on the show.

    • http://www.toodarnhappy.com/ Kim Hall

      Lynn,
      I had never looked at the Psalms as the greatest prayer journal imaginable-what a delightful perspective! Journaling provides such a treasure trove of gifts, especially working through a problem to which we don’t have the answer. 

      My oldest daughter and I have both experienced the power of just writing, writing, and writing until a solution appears on the page. I liken it to dumping all the stuff I have allowed to accumulate in my mental and spiritual closet so that what I seek is revealed. I can’t imagine believing that journaling is an occult practice. What a sad place to be where someone believes that the written words—prayers, junk, and everything in between—are bad.

      There are two great books I would recommend for folks just starting up in journaling: The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron, and The Creative Call, by Janice Elsheimer. As Elsheimer notes in her preface: “Cameron’s book seemed to focus more on finding oneself through practicing one’s art than on practicing one’s art in order to discover a deeper relationship with God.”

      I love your Swindoll quote, and will leave you with a favorite of mine from Elsheimer’s book. She writes about discovering our gifts and putting them to use and reminds us: “Our gifts are not from God to us, but from God through us to the world.” This perspective is so incredibly powerful, I believe, as it creates an image of us not as a static receiver of gifts, but as a vessel into which our gifts are poured so that we may in turn pour them out onto others in need.

      • Lynn Morrissey

        Hi Kim, thank you for this lovely repsonse to my comment. How wonderful that you and your daughter share a passion for writing/journaling. My daughter (now twenty) had journaled sporadically as a child, but now she is fairly regular. She journals her reaction to what she reads in God’s Word and journals her prayers. I have Artist’s Way among my forty-million books, but have never read it! Janice and I belong to the same professional oranization, and her book is excellent and certainly gives a Christian perspective on creativity. I love her quote on gifts. Yes, they don’t do us any good unless we share them. And certainly we derive joy in sharing. What a fulfilling way to live. I’m glad you were as shocked as I about the coments about New Age/occult journaling. It can be a wonderful God-centered practice. I’m careful not to claim that God is dictating the words that I wrote, but I certainly believe He guides them, and teaches me so much. Thank you again for writing! Blessings,
        Lynn

  • http://www.linsondaniel.com/ Linson Daniel

    Michael, this was a great podcast. 

    I’ve been reading your blog for a few years and listening to your podcast every week since it started. This is my first comment on your blog! Thanks for being a great influence on me! I journal regularly and it helps me debrief/interpret my life in a positive way. It is also great to go back and read earlier entries in order to celebrate wins and track progress. I also use Evernote to do this! Thanks again, Michael!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Awesome! Thanks for taking time to comment.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mark.leach.10 Mark Leach

    I began keeping a journal after January 1, 2013 and after watching this TED talk, which listed journaling as one of five activities that improve a person’s mood: http://www.ted.com/talks/shawn_achor_the_happy_secret_to_better_work.html. My primary reason and primary benefit for and from journaling is that I have two young children–journaling provides me a way to preserve memories that otherwise would fade. 

  • GMarcelK

    Thanks for your insight Michael. I like the idea of using Evernote, even though DayOne was the app that made me journal more consistently, and I love reviewing that timeline. 

    But it makes sense to have it all in one place, and have the journal in the same place where I record notes from meetings and sermons. Sometimes that’s almost a journal entry too (and I get confused too where to record what). Any thoughts on that?And I just wonder what DOW means in your journal template? Sorry, I’m Dutch.Love your work.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Sorry for the confusion. “DOW” means “day of week.”

      Your dilemma about where to put gets solved if you put everything in Evernote. That’s one of the reasons I switched. Thanks.

  • tematapuna

    Jon, thank you.

  • http://dsargentblog.us/ Darin Sargent

    Yes I do journal.  I find in journaling I am able to express myself without worrying what other people may think.  It is a great practice for me to lay everything out as I see it or feel about something.  Thanks Michael for spurring us on.  Great stuff.

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  • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

    These are fantastic tips. Thanks for sharing.

  • http://twitter.com/NavigaServices Naviga Services

    Michael, you mentioned that you like Day One, but switched to Evernote for the journal.  One way to use the two together would be to email the Day One journal to Evernote which would allow you to have the best of both worlds.  I am a recent convert to Evernote, but have over a year of journaling in Day One.  

    Thanks for the thoughts on your outline for your daily journal.  Gave me some good ideas.  Keep up the good work.

  • bradblackman

    I’ve been doing Morning Pages for about 10 years now. How often do you go back and re-read what you’ve journaled? I can’t say I’ve really gone back to re-read since the assignment to do so. I can’t even remember if there was any sort of template to go by since my journaling style has really evolved since then. I know I’m less whiny but I don’t think I’m as in-depth, either.

    • Padma Ayyagari

      I do go back and read the morning pages at the end of each year to recap my journey through the year.  You would be surprised if you did the same to discover how much you would have grown in depth without realising.  Less whiny is growing in depth – is it not??

      • bradblackman

        I seem to recall the book recommends highlighting in different colors as you read back over it to mark things such as needed actions, insights, and other things like that. And I’ll take back what I said; I have re-read portions, but not with any sort of intent. It was more due to having not written in a long time and being curious about the last thing I wrote.

  • Bethany

    Awesome podcast! I have journaled sporadically since a child but am committing this year to consistent journaling.
    One of my greatest journaling treasures are when I have had important people in my life to write in my journal. I have an entry from my great-grandmother when she was 93, an entry from my grandfather, siblings, parents, friends. These people where honored to write and I have treasured these entries, especially since some have now passed away. It is a permanent gift from them.
    Thank you for the awesome podcasts and blog posts!

    • Jim Martin

      Bethany, what a great idea!  I like the idea of having entries from significant people in your life.  Thanks for passing this on.

  • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

    I journaled for years. It became a needed outlet for all that was going on in my head. Like taking the lid off a boiling pot, it helped me release some of the stress and make space for the day. I still journal occasionally, but struggle finding a block of time to do it. Any journaling I do now is in the span of 5 minutes or less!

  • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

    Thanks, Ryan. Yes, this is a great alternative if yyou are a better talker than a writer.

  • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

     Nice! So … did you? How did it go?

  • http://lisadelay.com/blog Lisa Colon DeLay

    Since I blog A LOT…I’ve noticed I don’t feel I have enough energy to write in my journal ….but to my own detriment! Now I have a class requirement to journal…It’s been a good kick in the pants for me.

    A shift happens when we (privately) journal. You won’t know it until you transition to the disciple of it.

    This podcast is super encouraging and so needed. Brilliant. Thanks.

    • Jim Martin

      Lisa, I experienced something very similar to what you describe.  For many years I journaled regularly.  After I had been blogging for several years, I noticed that I was only writing in my journal occasionally.  This continued for a number of years.  I have now returned to the earlier practice of writing in my journal regularly.  I realized that I had been missing a very helpful discipline.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Lisa! I appreciate your words of encouragement.

  • http://twitter.com/MELovins Michael Lovins

    I’ve really been trying to be a more consistent journaler, and this podcast gave me some tools (as well as your Tweet about the Habit List app). Something I’m going to use in my template is “What am I afraid of today?” I have noticed that I have a lot of unnoticed fears, and I engineer my day to avoid them. It’s usually something with my job that I have to figure out and there’s no cookie cutter solution. Sometimes it’s that I know I need to write a blog post, and I have an idea, but executing the idea will require me to put it out there and hope others agree that it’s good. In any event, just putting a name on the fear of the day and recognizing that is what I most need to attack. Once I attack it, it isn’t so scary and it usually ends up being quite enjoyable.

    • Jim Martin

      Michael, good for you in addressing these fears rather than avoiding them.  I like the idea of addressing that question as a part of your template. 

  • http://www.MichaelLovins.com/ Michael Lovins

    I’ve really been trying to be a more consistent journaler, and this podcast gave me some tools (as well as your Tweet about the Habit List app). Something I’m going to use in my template is “What am I afraid of today?” I have noticed that I have a lot of unnoticed fears, and I engineer my day to avoid them. It’s usually something with my job that I have to figure out and there’s no cookie cutter solution. Sometimes it’s that I know I need to write a blog post, and I have an idea, but executing the idea will require me to put it out there and hope others agree that it’s good. In any event, just putting a name on the fear of the day and recognizing that is what I most need to attack. Once I attack it, it isn’t so scary and it usually ends up being quite enjoyable.

    PS. I may be posting this comment a 2nd time. The first time I posted (or tried to), I think I messed up the sign in.

  • Jason Fancy

    Off topic…
    Michael, I am working on my first book, and want to include some really great quotes from others(including you!). I am not talking plagiarizing or rewording, but what is the protocol for quoting? Do I need to get permission or list sources, or is it ok to simply say who you are quoting? 
    Thank you in advance for your time, and thanks again for the podcast. It keeps my brain stimulated during my commutes!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      You don’t need permission unless you are quoting more than about 250 words (depending on the length of the original work). This is called “fair use.” You just need to cite your course. See the Chicago Manual of Style for how to do this. Thanks.

  • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

    I’ve never been a “journaler” because my penmanship is so poor. However, this year I’ve been using the “LifeJournal” which has a recommended daily scripture reading plan that gets you through the entire bible in a year’s time. 

    The “LifeJournal” is nice because it requires me to focus on my faith while applying the SOAP method to  the recommended daily reading (S=scripture; O=observation; A=application; P=prayer). This has been a great addition to my morning ritual.

  • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

    Great suggestions Elizabeth. Your “poetry journaling” idea sounds a lot like stream of consciousness writing, which I’ve done a little bit of before. I’ll have to give it another try!

  • Carla Flemings

     Thank you Sam!

  • http://www.mattmcwilliams.com/ Matt McWilliams

    I don’t do it as a matter of habit or in a specific time, but I do carry a journal with me virtually at all times to record ideas, things that I see, blog topics, work thoughts, etc.

    I would guess that 50% of my blog posts originated in one small moleskine notebook that I carry. It’s getting pretty full though.

    And I do more “journaling” about four days a week during my devotional time, but it is more in response to questions or topics about which I am reading, rather than recording my internal dialogue per se.

  • http://www.lawrencewilson.com/p/about-me.html Lawrence W. Wilson

    Another great free tool is 750Words.com. I like it because it has some prompts and incentives that keep you motivated to write every day. It’s very minimalist, but it does support Markdown. I write there, then clip the entry into Evernote. 

  • http://titusng.com/ Titusng

    Journaling is a great way to slow down. Having to reach deeper into myself, processing my feelings and reflecting on my actions and thoughts. Sometimes the day goes pass so quickly that we don’t have to time to slow down and understand why we feel the way we feel. I’m a believer that feelings are a gift that points us towards something deeper. So often i ask – How am i feeling? What feelings did i experience through the day? What have caused it? What could i have done differently? What am i grateful about? 

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  • heathmaster

    If you’re an iPad user, Penultimate, a handwriting app that is made/owned by Evernote, just updated to be free in the past few days. The journal writing “experience” directly tied into Evernote.

  • http://www.ethicalbehaviorboy.com/ Michael Belk

    Michael, maybe I should write my ideas down because at the end of the day I forget what was important to me.  I might try recording my ideas on a recorder first.

    Thanks

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  • Jaime Contesse

    Do you go back to journal entries to edit them or add new information? (Especially when writing in an electronic journal)

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I only go back to review them. I don’t edit or add new material.

  • http://twitter.com/paulogarra Paulo Fernandes

    I’ve been journaling for a month and have been an amazing experience.
    I can remember everything I do and can see my progress in my self-improvement skills.
    Nice podcast, Michael!

  • http://www.easyjournaling.com Sam

    Dan Miller is great as well. 

    I once learned that I could listen to podcasts at faster speeds and I gave it a try. After practicing for a while at 1.5x I bumped it up to 2.ox. Now I sometimes listen at 2.5x and normal speed seems slow! It was funny to hear myself on Michaels podcast at double speed!

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  • http://twitter.com/ScribeLifeGames Corey and Christina

    I journal, maybe I journal excessively. I journal in the morning, when I’m distraught, and when I am excited about something. As your podcast mentioned, it is a good way to gain perspective. I also find it a good way to find answers. Writing to myself, for myself, helps me to read my own words as if I were reading a friend’s words – and offer myself the same solutions I would offer a dear friend. Somehow, the act of writing bridges the gap between questions and answers for most of the troubling issues I am facing. 

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  • http://twitter.com/brettrbarker Brett Barker

    I’m curious. Has anyone that used to keep physical journals ever cut out the pages and scanned them into a program like Evernote? I recently got a Fujitsu scanner and use Evernote to file all kinds of paperwork (Bills, Receipts, Recipes, etc). I wonder if anyone has applied this scanning idea to old journals.

    • http://emuelle1.typepad.com/ Eric S. Mueller

      I used to carry a small Moleskine notebook in my pocket to write things in. I scanned the pages and saved them into Evernote.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I used to do it this way. Search for Evernote and journal on my blog, and you will find a how-to article.

  • Jacob Summers

    What a great podcast! Journaling is something I’m very interested in, although not so good at. I started a blog called Daily Self Growth Journal for the very purpose of making journaling easier. I would love it if you or one of your listeners/readers could tell me how to do better. You can see my blog at http://www.selfgrowthjournal.com. Again, great podcast and subject. Thanks, Jake

  • http://www.VictoryChristianCoaching.com/ Marianne Clements

    I love to journal!  It’s like therapy for me.  My journals are letters to God.  I pray about things, process the days events, dream, etc.  As special things occur, I have a separate spot at the end of my journal that is organized by month and I will note those things there.  At then end of the month, I can look at that and see what happened.  I also have a section where I ask myself reflective questions and check my progress on goals.

    I started out journaling on paper, but now I use MS Word.  I keep an entire year in one document.  It’s so easy to just search for different words when I need to go back to something. 

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  • http://www.seeincolors.com/ Lisa Nelson

    This was so good, I will have to listen to it again.  I have to raise my hand and say “I too, struggle with journaling.”  Going to give it another try though because of your great tips.

    I like when you said each day is different with your journaling.  Sometimes you write on one topic, other times you may cover 4 topics. 

    The question/answer section was great.  I kept hearing a theme with the questions around “who are you writing for?”.  I just had to draw a visual of your response, “I am writing for an audience of 1.  Me.” http://pinterest.com/pin/52917364343590244/

    That answer just brings us back to the 7 benefits, which ties it all together :D

  • Nora

    I have been using a digital journal called The Journal for several years.  I haven’t been consistent but it is a great way to discuss with myself.  I do prefer the digital way more than the paper and pen I used for several years before.  I feel comforted actually, by the fact that my digital journal has a password and that only I can open it.  The software has several ways to journal so some things I write for possible copy/paste to FB or what was supposed to be a blog- somethings are meant only for me.

    Thank you Michael, for the podcast.  I’ve always enjoyed a journal.

  • http://about.me/revchadbrooks chadbrooks

    Ok. The serious question here is what DON’T you use Evernote for?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Ha! I don’t use it to write my books. ;-)

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/73D7HN524T6LQZYTM7PCRB6A7Y tmabie

    I have journaled on and off for years.  One of the thing that I find is that often the thought that I have, which I want to capture occurs during the day and for a variety of reasons I don’t stop and record it, so I generally lose it.  Does anyone have suggestions for capturing thoughts during the day, in the moment?

    • http://www.cohenwoodworking.com/ Phillip Cohen

      Yes. I almost always carry a folded up piece of paper with me and a pen. I can jot down thoughts and record them in my journal later.
      I learned this from a former pastor.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      One word: Evernote.

  • http://DesireeMMondesir.com/ Desiree M. Mondesir

    I LOVE journaling! And I’m such a girl about it too! I always try to have a beautiful journal in which I can write that consists of my “diary entries,” what I feel God is saying to me at any point in time/prophetic words, thoughts on Scripture passages I’ve just read, poetry, dreams I’ve had, as well as letters that I write to God as well as to people (these are letters that I will NEVER EVER send!).  If my journal travels to church with me, it’s likely I’ll have sermon notes in it as well. I usually  get cozy in my bed and journal late at night (I’m a definite night owl!) unless it’s a dream I’m writing down in which case, I write about it as soon as I wake up so I can remember it best. 

    (I mentioned being “a girl about it” because I just can’t stand writing in a plain, ugly journal if I can help it!)
    I also take my more important entries (these are usually the prophetic words, dreams, and poetry) and type them up and keep them logged meticulously in My Documents. If it’s a prophetic word, I’ll go ahead and print it out so I can keep it near my bed and go over whenever I have the urge.
    I’ve also recently started journaling about my goals and aspirations as well as going back to either annotate past prophetic words or write out a new entry detailing how God has brought his word to past as well as what dreams/aspirations  (nocturnal and goal-oriented dreams). I find that keeping track of the things that have come to past is extremely encouraging to one’s faith.

    Whether spiritually, emotionally, or mentally, journaling of any kind has been a great way to look back at and gauge the growth you have personally made throughout one’s life. 

    Thanks again for this great podcast Michael! :) 

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

      Desiree,
      Thanks for willingness to share. I love being able to look back at things that seem so HUGE and insurmountable and then, with a little perspective, (and time) it’s so cool to see how God has answered each of theses concerns. Like you said, sometimes keeping a journal gives me an opportunity to go back and see how God has been SO faithful!
      Thanks again, Desiree!

      • http://DesireeMMondesir.com/ Desiree M. Mondesir

        My pleasure Barry!  And yes, “God has been SO faithful!” :) It kinda blows your mind doesn’t it?! 

        P.S. With a headline like yours, I MUST check out your blog! ;) 

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  • http://CraigDesmarais.com/ Craig Desmarais

    I want to start journaling.  I also take notes on the bible verses I read.  

  • Tracey L. Moore

    I highly recommend journaling.  The main benefit that I get out of journaling is self-awareness and identification of wrong thinking. When I am struggling with an emotional issue, I write down the situation and then the words of Samuel in the scriptures, “Speak Lord, Your servant is listening.” I wait, then I write whatever comes to mind. I find that God will give me the insight I need to resolve the issue. He usually pinpoints my erroneous thinking and helps me to apply His Word to my situaion. He communicates to me by using my own hand to write what I need to know. I have gotten so many breakthroughs in my thinking by using this method. I have been journaling since high school and have many volumes of journals. I also like to go back and read them so that I can see how much I have grown. That encourages me.
    Tracey L. Moore
    Author of the upcoming book entitled, Oasis For My Soul: Poems and Inspirational Writings for Spiritual and Personal Growth

    • http://DesireeMMondesir.com/ Desiree M. Mondesir

      You know what’s so interesting Tracey: people in the world know about writing down what a supernatural force says. They call it “automatic writing”; it’s a counterfeit. Yet could you imagine if more people would make huge waves of transformation in their lives if they would take that same time to write down what God is saying to them and actually believe and adhere to it?? It would be most powerful! 

  • Nancy

    I have journaled now and then.  Once during a time of terrific stress, I journaled in the third person, referring to myself as “she”.  It gave me distance from emotional issues and an objectivity that let me solve problems more easily, especially in seeing where I had been wrong or needed to change.

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  • Dominique Johnson

    One app that I ran into on my Ipad is Ido…there is a free version and a version for about $3.00. I use this for taking notes, sermons, and etc.. You can create files and folders. I like it.

  • http://twitter.com/ChannelofJesus Channel of Jesus

    I love this story.yeshoowa

  • http://www.musingsofanoldlady.com/ BeckyAnnDavis

    I’ve tried journaling countless times and then quit, for several of the very reasons you mentioned in your podcast. I love the idea of journaling and think it would benefit me greatly so I’m giving it another go. This morning I began, using your Evernote template, and I have a question. Would you mind telling me how to copy the Evernote template so that it can be used again and again? I’m writing on my iPad and can’t seem to figure it out. Thanks Michael! By the way, your blog, books, and podcasts continue to be life changing encouragement for me.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I am note sure how to do that on the iPad app either. Hmm.

  • http://twitter.com/CamGoede Cam Goede

    Really enjoyed this podcast and the concept makes a lot of sense. As a recent user of Evernote, I started my journal tonight! Also as a result of your message I ordered a copy of the One Year Bible as this is a perfect fit to help me reach my goal of reading the Bible in its entirety. Thanks for a useful and inspiring message.

  • Tomb1312

    I started my journal  after I heard this pod cast. I’ve noticed the extreme level of personal accountability it provides. While its a good tool to change habits I find that I’d rather quit the journal than quit the old habits. Should I omit topics from my journal until I am ready to face them? Avoidance isn’t the goal. I’d like the journal to remain a positive experience.
    I hope I didn’t miss the boat on this topic, thanks in advance for the feedback.

    • http://www.cohenwoodworking.com/ Phillip Cohen

      Tomb,
      I started out 43 years ago just journaling my negative stuff. Then I went a few years only journaling positive stuff. Now I journal it all because it’s all me. 
      Journals can be complete thoughts or fragments. Just throw it out there. Let you be you for you.
      I hope that helps.

  • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

    I’m not sure what you mean … DayOne has search. Click on the calendar view.

    • http://www.kevinrothermel.com/ Kevin Rothermel

      There it is. I didn’t see it before and thought you were implying your switch to journaling in Evernote was for the search functionality. Now I’m torn between technologies again. The tyranny of choice ladies and gentlemen.   

  • Dave Simpson

    Inspired by Michael’s podcast on morning routines, I began including journal writing as part of that routine. After some experimentation I has settled on this workflow. I use the APP vJournal on my Ipad to type my entry. Then that entry is loaded directly into my evernote journal notebook with a time stamp. All entries I make during that day are uploaded with their own timestamp and added to that day’s journal entry.

    My journal, by default, is private. I am writing to myself. However, I anticipate that in the future I will want to go back to my journal and draw from those entries to create a public memoir for my children. To make that easier, I try to go back aat least weekly and review my journal enttries in Evernote and tag them. For journal entries that I think I might want to include in a memoir for public consumption I tag with “memoir”. That solves the private or public dilema for me.

  • Allenhmarsh

    I have tried this for a week and tried all different combinations to get this to work.  Anyone else have a hard time?

  • http://twitter.com/dailyRx dailyRx

  • http://chrismorton.info Chris Morton

    Thanks for describing your process.  I feel like journaling is often thought of as mysterious, or something limited to teenagers.  Your podcast inspired me to describe my own practice of keeping a prayer journal here: http://wp.me/p37SBp-12G

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  • http://mikeskiff.com Mike Skiff

    Really enjoyed this podcast, just as I enjoy most of your podcast topics. I am committing to 21 days of journaling as you suggested, planning to make it a habit in my morning routine. Although you mention in the podcast that the tool is not important, I am similar to you in that I am a bit of a geek – and I LOVE Evernote. I’ve completely committed to their platform and dump nearly everything into my EN account. As such, I had a similar desire to journal in Evernote. However, it is not quite as clean and “sexy” as Day One. With their recent update to their iOS version of the app, you can now export your journal to PDF at the interval you choose. I am jumping back into Day One after toying with journaling directly in EN, with the intent to export to PDF my journal entries each week, sending them off to EN (via the Hazel app and Applescript on my Mac to automatically file them where they belong in EN). This allows fort the best of both worlds – writing using the “sexier” Day One app, and curating this content in EN (also making it searchable as I am a premium EN user). The only drawback I see is the lack of tagging in EN. To me, this is not important, however I realize it may be for some.

    Anyway, thought I would share my current workflow (as always, subject to change).

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  • http://www.loganheavensbest.com/ Carpet Cleaner

    What are you thoughts on venting in a journal? I can see that it would benefit to get out the frustrations, but considering it could become a habit…

    Would it be better to try to write positively instead?

    • http://www.cohenwoodworking.com/ Phillip Cohen

      I’ve been journaling for more than 40 years. When I started, I dumped all my pain. After several years I realized I was writing myself into insanity.
      So I bought some high priced journals and wrote only positive things.
      Over the past few years I’ve learned from therapists and mentors that I should write everything, because that’s my whole self.
      Someone in this discussion mentioned the Divine Mentor by Wayne Cordeiro. I immediately bought the book on Kindle and devoured it.
      My wife and I started using our own modified version of the SOAP Bible study journaling method. We flat love it! I have several people in my company using it. I taught it to my children, people I’m mentoring and at church. It’s a great way to interact with God!

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  • Jacob

    I am new to the podcast/evernote. I have enjoyed the benefits of journal writing previously in my life and fallen out of the habit. I know you explained in the podcast how to Title the entry. Do you just label it “2013.09.10-Journal-Tuesday” and then in the body put Location, Weather, etc (with of without # ?). Thanks for the podcast. It has opened up my thinking and hopefully I can improve in some areas of interactions with others.