One Sentence Journaling: the Simple Habit that Sticks
Why One Sentence Journaling Will Help with Focus and Inspiration
For someone who writes at least a thousand words a day (most days), I find myself struggling to journal. I don’t know if it’s the idea of bringing my self onto paper or thinking that I will spend hours working on writing that goes no where. It’s a classic case of buy pretty notebook, use for a week or two and then put aside for “future use”.
However, I have memories to preserve, quotes that inspire me, and gratitude to express. I have things that happen every day that I know I’ll be upset with myself for not having record of. In fact, sometimes it’s those snippets that can be the light in a dark tunnel.
One of the things that helped me during my biggest breakup in 2014 was writing down one good thing that happened to me every day.
In the midst of feeling dead inside, it was encouraging to be able to recall the one thing that happened that day that was good. It always served the purpose of making myself both feel better and get a better night’s sleep.
I later connected with one sentence journal while reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.
One sentence journaling is perhaps the simpliest form of journaling. When I started seeking simplicity and more focus in my own life, it was the form that I turned to.
What It Is
The one sentence journal is the art of capturing your day or your message in one sentence, a few at the most.
It serves as a record for anything that you want to keep track of: memories, gratitude lists, a specific moment or how your energy was effected that day.
It can be as simple as writing down what inspires you- like a song lyric or a specific thing a friend told you. It can be whatever you need it to be, the challenge is in using only one sentence to write it.
Why It Works
One sentence journaling works because it is time efficient and easy enough to accomplish. Writing down one sentence can be a fun challenge or it could be one of the most meaningful routines you use that day.
The trick is to remember to actually log the sentence (pick a specific time of day). However, once committed to the idea of logging one sentence, the results lead to both focus and inspiration.
A lot of people see journaling in the traditional sense, writing pages or taking long periods of time to write about one’s day.
Some believe that it is futile, a waste of time and self indulgent. The one sentence journal counteracts these assumptions. It takes less than five minutes. It helps us remember the most important things, but it also serves as a record, for ourselves and for those close to us. With it’s constraint, everything written in a one sentence journal serves a purpose. It cuts to the core of the issue instead of writing fluff.
Ideas of What to Put in a One Sentence Journal
quotes: Whether from a quote website or a blog post. When something speaks to you and inspires you, take the time to write it down. I do this a lot when reading medium stories. When I find something that I want to remember, I often write the quote out as well as highlight.
memories: What memories have you been thinking about lately? Whether it’s in the present or a trip that you remember that makes you smile, write it down. One of the best ways to unplug is to take time to write a snippet of a memory and living in the moment instead of constantly looking through a phone lense.
compliments: This could work one of two ways: write down a compliment that was given to you. It could be a recurring compliment or something that you recently received. You can also give yourself compliments and remind yourself what you really love about you.
The second way is to create a compliment journal for someone you love. If they understand love through compliments, this is one of the best gifts you can give them.
gratitude: Write down one specific thing or moment that you’re grateful for today. Make it simple. What saved your day? What good did you notice about today?
mood traker: What was your mood today? What do you think influenced that particular mood?
messages: Have you heard of the open when letters? They’re letters that you write for someone else based on a particular situation. For example, writing letters such as “Open When You Need Encouragement” or “Open When I’m Mad at You”.
Writing messages in a one sentence journal demonstrates your love for someone in a tangible way. Each day write a sentence for someone you love. It’s okay to be honest about your real feelings and sometimes write about things like envy, being upset or being mad at them. However, stick to the positive the majority of the time.
This would serve as a great gift idea for the person at the end of the year or six months. I plan to have a space in my Randy (my fiance) journal for the first year of marriage and using one sentence journaling to document our memories.
Reading: When you read a lot, you tend to forget what a book or topic was about. I’m currently on a road to read 100 books in 2020, and it’s hard to remember the points that stood out to me to back in April.
It would have been both beneficial and fun to write down one of the most important points per day of what I was reading.
Reviewing a One Sentence Journal
With journaling, it’s always ideal to take some time per month or year to look back at the journey. To see where you were inspired most or what you’ve learned throughout time. Take some time at these checkpoints to review what you’ve read and what lessons were inheritant throughout the time period.
Introspection is how we grow as human beings. The ability to look back and reflect, to think about what we would do differently. One sentence journaling makes the entries shorter which takes less time to analyze.
Part of simplicity is both enjoying the little things and learning what is important to us. One sentence journaling can help us with both, for a fraction of the time and energy.
The power of using a one sentence jouranl is that it doesn’t take much time and you can choose to take a themed or random approach to writing in it.
It can be a fun challenge to come up with the best way to summarize an entire day in one sentence. You can one sentence journal on almost any topic you choose.
The review is also easier, because you’ve already cut to the heart of the matter. By writing less, you’re stating things more clearly. It is the art of simplicity in the journaling world.