Happiness Tip Of The Day: Keep A One-Sentence Journal

Happiness Tip Of The Day: Keep A One-Sentence Journal
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I'm working on my Happiness Project, and you should have one, too! Everyone's project will look different, but it's the rare person who can't benefit. Join in -- no need to catch up, just jump in right now.

Yesterday was the Little Girl's last day in the "Purple Room," which is what her nursery school calls the class for the school's youngest children. She only went twice a week, for less than three hours, but the Purple Room was a very big part of her life.

There's something so inexpressibly sweet about this age and this first experience of school. I'm having an emotion that I can only describe as preemptive nostalgia for this time. Her last morning there was yesterday, but already, I feel deeply sentimental about it.

The days are long, but the years are short.

For that reason, I'm so happy that I started keeping my one-sentence journal; otherwise I would worry that I wouldn't remember any of the details about this time - the teeny tiny sinks, the coat hooks in the hallway marked with the children's photos, the play kitchen and the board books.

Two years ago, I started keeping a one-sentence journal because I knew I would never be able to keep a proper journal with lengthy entries. I just don't have the time or energy to write a long entry - even two or three times a week.

Instead, each day, I write one sentence (well, actually, I type on the computer) about what happened that day to me, the Big Man and the girls.

I can imagine one-sentence journal dedicated to more specific topics, as well. It might be useful to have one-sentence journal about your career - especially useful if you were starting a new business. It might be helpful to keep a one-sentence journal as you were going through a divorce, a cancer treatment, or other kind of catastrophic event. It would be lovely to keep a one-sentence journal when you were falling in love.

I posted about how one reader keeps a journal for his children.

I like keeping a one-sentence journal because it's a manageable task, so it doesn't make me feel burdened; it gives me a feeling of accomplishment and progress, the atmosphere of growth so important to happiness; it helps keep happy memories vivid (because I'm much more inclined to write about happy events than unhappy events), which boosts my happiness; and it gives me a reason to pause thinking lovingly about the members of my family.

One thing is true: we tend to overestimate what we can do in the short term, and underestimate what we can do in the long term, if we do a little bit at a time. Writing one sentence a day sounds fairly easy, and it is; at the end of the year, it adds up to a marvelous record.


If you'd like to read more about happiness, check out Gretchen's daily blog, The Happiness Project, or sign up for her monthly newsletter.

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