Journaling at the Beginning of the Day Instead of the End

I’ve been keeping a daily journal since the day TRC was born. I’d journaled before then off and on, of course. A fair bit in high school, fairly regularly on my mission, sporadically in college. But when my first child was born, I decided I wanted to start being consistent again, because I didn’t want to forget what it was like to be a new father. Hard to believe that’s over ten years ago now.

Of course, some things have changed over that time. I write this blog, for one thing. My journal entries don’t hold a candle to this blog, most of the time. I jot down what I did and little more at this point. The big, deep thoughts typically get plastered online for everyone to read. There have been times when I’ve considered ditching the daily journal because of that. It’s just one more thing to do in an already busy schedule, so why keep doing it?

But there’s value to be had in being able to look back at any specific day and remember what I was doing on that day. I still like to go back to my old journals and check them out, and so I soldier on.

Still, I’ve developed a couple of tricks to help me stay on top of journaling. The first one is to make sure I do it every day. When I skip a day and then have to go back to make it up? It’s always harder to remember what I was doing that day. But my favorite (perhaps unorthodox) journaling trick is to write the entry for the day before I’ve actually lived it.

I know it doesn’t make sense, and it’s also a trick that doesn’t always work, but some days I can get by writing down exactly what I’m planning to do that day. It’s the journaling equivalent of calling your shot. This is something that typically works best on a day off or a Saturday. I can write down how awesome I was that day, and exactly why I was so awesome, and then all I have to do is go out and do the thing I already wrote I would do.

Yes, I am able to trick myself with some pretty lame psychological hacks, apparently. But I figure, if I can trick me, maybe you can trick you.

Anyone else out there do this sort of thing? Or do most people not even keep a journal these days?

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