A Better Way to Journal

Hey, I'm back. It's been a while.

In my list of 12 New Year's Resolutions, I planned on keeping a journal during the month of June. I had written a few entries before, but none of them really added value to my life or seemed to make me think as much as I thought they would. I started writing in my journal on June 1st anyway, thinking maybe this time it would be different.

It was not.

Every entry felt like a waste of time. Unlike a blog, no one other than you can see what you write. "That's boring", I thought. "What's the point of having a journal in the first place?" is the question that led me to a better way to journal.

Introducing the "Short and Sweet if you want it to be" journal. It is mostly inspired from the Five Minute Journal, a simple journal created by two entrepreneurs from Toronto, Canada, who claim that their journal is "the simplest, most effective thing you can do everyday to be happier". And to be honest, they're right.

What I especially enjoy of the Five Minute Journal is the philosophy behing it and the science that explains it. Read more of that in their book.

The Five Minute Journal is simple. Every morning, write down:

  • three things you're grateful for
  • three things that would make today amazing
  • your daily affirmation

Then, every evening, write down:

  • three amazing things that happened today
  • what you could have done to make today better

That's it. I can see why they call it the Five Minute Journal.

While I loved this idea, it felt limiting. Thus, I simply replaced my journaling routine with that of the Five Minute Journal structure. However, nothing stops me from writing longer bouts of thoughts if the desire arises. All in all, it's a minimum of five minutes a day, but it can be more if I feel like it. Five minutes a day is all it takes to build a strong journaling habit.

It really works. It is the simplest, most effective you can do everyday to be happier. After only a week, I felt peace and calmness inside. I now appreciate the little things of life much, much more than before I started journaling. I become a better person, I learn, I grow, every single day.


Hi, I'm Max. I'm a developer intern at Shopify in Montreal, Canada.

You can find me on Twitter, GitHub, Mastodon, and Keybase.