I have kept a daily journal consistently since 2006. Each year I buy a planner/calendar and record stuff. What I record has varied over the years: workouts, calorie counts, water and alcohol consumption, books read, or I just wrote about feelings and events like you would in a diary. Some years I have been really consistent in writing or recording every day and some years I haven’t done as well.
I recently spent some time going back through my journals and I was able to pull some data from them. Looking over the yearly data I was able to identify patterns. Every year for the past 11 years, January has been my most consistent month for working out as well as the hardest month for me at work. 2012 was my best year of working out and the last two years (15 & 16) have been two of my three worst years for working out.
In my last post I mentioned an article about 18 Habits of Highly Successful People and interestingly enough, habit #2 is journaling. This article cites research that says a recent study showed that journaling about thoughts and feelings helped college students deal with stressful situations. Personally I feel that journaling is like venting. I often feel better after getting my thoughts and emotions out on paper. After journaling, I can then let those feelings go and move on to other things.
If you Google “journaling” tons of great resources will come up. I found an article The Health Benefits of Journaling that also cites research that shows health benefits from journaling such as strengthening immune cells and decreasing symptoms of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.
Also in this day and age, there are TONS of unique and cool journals that you can buy to make journal easier and more fun. While I just use a regular At-a-Glance Monthly/Weekly planner from Staples, I have family members who use Start Planners or Erin Condren Planners. Or you could do something with a word processing program like GoogleDocs or Microsoft Word. There really is something for everybody out there. And I’m sure there are even journal apps available!
So if you’ve never tried journaling, I highly recommend it! I have found that it can actually be kind of addictive to want to write down good things every day!