Learning how to write a diary is a keystone habit that leads to the development of several other good habits producing a number of positive outcomes that has a chain effect on your life. By learning how to write a diary you will be able to enhance your IQ, become more self-disciplined, productive, mindful and creative. You will be able to make all your new habits stick for life and will find yourself actively pursuing and achieving all your goals. But writing a couple of passages about your life will not help you achieve all this. You need to learn how to write a diary the Ofpad way.
In the first half of this post, we will look at the general technique on how to write a diary to manage your memories, goals, habits, emotions, health, finances and creative ideas. In each section we will look at what to write in a diary for greater clarity. In the second section we will look at how to write a diary online the Ofpad way using WordPress. WordPress is a free blogging platform that we will convert into a private diary.
How to Make A Diary that Remembers
The Dutch psychologist Willem Wagenaar kept a journal for 6 years, where he wrote two of the most important things that happened to him every day. He made a record of what happened, who was there and where it happened. At the end of 6 years, he went back to his diary to check how much he was able to recall. He found that 20% of his older memories seem to have completely disappeared. To him, these memories appeared totally foreign as if it happened to a stranger. He reached out to people who were involved in some of the forgotten events for clues that would help him recall his lost memories. In most cases, they were able to provide some detail that helped him remember. His memories were there, but without his diary, he wouldn't remember having lived those days. Your journal is a way for you to remember every single day.
What to write in a diary
In your diary, write what happened in your day. Write about the things you did and the people you met. If you have a smart phone take a lot of pictures to include in your diary. Pictures help you remember your memories more vividly. We look at how to write a diary online to include images in the second section.
How To Make A Diary That Pushes You Forward
Goals need to be put on paper for you to have a definite sense of what you want and how you are going to achieve it. Your diary is a place to not only write down your goals, but it also a place to track your progress towards achieving them.
Personal Experience on How to Write a Diary to Track Goals
My goal was to build Ofpad. I broke down this goal to writing an hour every day. I chose to do this at 10pm because it gave me the flexibility to extend if I was in a creative mood. I barely managed to get 50 words on paper and skipped my writing entirely on most days.
I was not conscious of how little progress I was making and thought I was doing something productive every day. When I started writing my diary, I checked if I was skipping/doing my writing. The days when I did write, I checked how much I wrote. Making these conscious observations to update my diary, helped me to realize I was making little to no progress, because I was too exhausted at 10pm. I immediately moved my writing to the morning. Use your diary to force yourself to approach life in an analytic way. Your diary will provide you with accountability. The entries you make in your diary will ensure that you constantly track progress and recognize small wins in your life every day.
What to write in a diary to track goals
You should have daily habits that helps you make progress towards your goal. When you write your diary entry for the day, make observations on how you performed your daily habit or routine. Did you do your daily habit/routines or did you skip it? How well did you perform? If you struggled to do your daily habit or missed it, make observations on what was the problem and how you can avoid it in the future.
How To Write A Diary To Kill Negativity
We tend to be in a negative emotional states more often than we realize. Negativity is extremely unhealthy. It is possible to replace your negative emotions with positive emotions using gratitude. Gratitude journal is a practice that has its foundation in solid psychological research.
What to write in a diary to replace negativity
First you need to recognize negative states when it happens by noting down your daily emotional state in your diary. Negative emotions include depression, fear, shame, loneliness, anger and jealousy. Positive emotions include confidence, happiness, peace and gratefulness. When we look at how to write a diary the Ofpad way we will cover a more comprehensive list of emotions.
Next if you find yourself feeling negative emotions, immediately write down something you are grateful for. Do not write what you are grateful for every day as it will diminish the actual feeling of gratitude you feel, making it a rote process without any real value. Write what you are grateful for, only when you are negative.
It is important to know, how to make a diary express gratitude the right way. Mindlessly writing about what you are grateful for will be a waste of your time. If you are not replacing your negative emotion with positive emotions you are doing it wrong.
For gratitude to effectively replace your negative emotions you need to feel grateful not just write about it. Describe what you are grateful for in as much depth as possible in your diary. It should not be a one liner and you should take time to reflect on what your life would be without the thing or person you are grateful for. Focus on people and not things. You can be grateful for the food you ate if it helps you completely wipe out your negative emotions. If you still feel negative, spend more time thinking about why you feel grateful or pick something else to be grateful for.
How To Write A Diary For Health & Fitness
When looking at how to write a diary to include your health and fitness goals, there are many things you can do. You can keep a log of your diet, workouts and medical history. We will look to at what to write in a diary for each of these things.
What to write in a diary for mindful eating
Tracking what you eat will help you catch yourself if you are deviating from a healthy diet. You will also be able to identify allergies and foods that make you sick. So making a note of what you eat has value even if you are not trying to lose weight.
To track your diet, write about what you ate and drank at different times of the day (breakfast, lunch and dinner). Some people also record their daily calorie intake in their diary. You can also track if you were on a vegetarian or vegan diet and if you ate junk. You can also take pictures of everything you eat and drink and attach it in your online diary. It will force you to be mindful of what you consume before you do it.
What to write in a diary for fitness
The simple thing to do would be to track whether or not you worked out as per schedule. You can also note down what workouts you did, the weight you used and the number of reps and sets completed. Once a month write down the measurements of your chest, waist, biceps and thighs. Take a picture of yourself in the mirror to see visual improvements in your body and attach this to your online diary. Add a repeating reminder in your calendar so you do not forget to do this every month.
How to make a diary for your medical history
Health information like prescriptions, information about weight and sugar level can be recorded in your diary. Take digital copies of your prescriptions and medical information and attach it to your online diary. Use the app Cam Scanner (available for both iOS & Android) to digitize paper copies.
How To Make A Diary To Track Your Finances
John Rockefeller the richest man of his time, tracked every single penny across his massive empire. Tracking your finances will help you understand your spending patterns, which helps you identify potential areas where you can cut expenses. Small expenses quickly add up and it is hard to take notice unless expenses are tracked in the long term.
How to write a diary to track expenses
When I write my diary at the end of the day, I make a note of the things I spent money on that day. Use the Cam Scanner app to make digital copies of bills or receipts, which you can later attach to your online diary.
Every month after I receive my pay check and pay my bills, I go through my credit card and bank statements and fill an excel sheet with a daily breakdown of expenses and income. Sometimes the transaction detail in the statement is very vague and I have difficulty figuring out what I spent money on. In these cases, I check my diary for the expenses I made on that day.
How To Write A Diary For Your Ideas
You will often have great ideas. Throwing away your current project to go work on these new ideas, might not be a logical thing to do. Instead, you can write your ideas in your diary and come back to it later. The same applies to daily insights and learning.
You might be learning something new every day. This is especially true if you do a lot of reading. Few people are ever able to recall everything that they have ever read. You can write down the most important things you learnt from your reading in your diary. You can read these summaries later in the future. This will help you revisit the book you read without actually rereading it again.
3 Common Struggles in Writing A Journal
We looked at the general technique on how to write a diary and what to write in a diary to get most out of it. There are three things people struggle with even though they know how to write a diary. First they don’t know how to write a diary consistently. They write for a couple of days but quickly forget about it a week later. Second they don’t know how to make a diary writing habit because they struggle to find time to write. Third they give up feeing writing a diary is too hard because they place too much emphasis on writing style and length. Solving these three problems is easy if you know how.
How To Write A Diary Consistently
Writing in your diary daily will give you the most benefits. If you miss days, don't worry. You can either write about the day you missed the next day or you can just commit to writing again leaving the days you forgot to write about. Missing a few days is not a big deal. But not getting back on track is very much a problem. It is easy to get obsessed about doing things in an optimal way. This obsession prevents most people from sticking to things in the long run. If you miss a few days, your diary writing process might not be optimal, but that does not stop it from being beneficial. Say you forget to write for 3 days. Is tracking your life for the remaining 4 days in the week, more beneficial than not tracking your life at all? For me it does not stop being beneficial. You can stay consistent by making your diary portable and by using a tracker/reminder.
How to make a diary that is portable
Keeping your diary online is the best way to write consistently. You can use your computer or smartphone to write your diary online. A smart phone will help you update your diary anywhere, anytime. When I am too tired to update my diary at night I do it the next day in the bus, on my way to work. I can spend a quick 5 to 10 minutes updating my diary on my phone any time I want.
How to make a diary tracker in Google Calendar
Initially to remain consistent, set a daily calendar reminder and a repeating alarm to remind you to update your diary. Of all the things you track in your diary, whether or not you made your diary entry for the day might be the most important thing to track. Do it for 60 days and it will become a habit. You need to do it at the same time every day. If you keep changing times, the habit won’t stick as easily. I write my diary immediately after I brush my teeth at night. Brushing my teeth is my cue to write my diary.
When to Write in Your Diary
You can write your diary before going to bed or in the morning next day after you wake up. I personally chose to update my diary at night. It helped me stay consistent. I also cover a lot more because I remember more. However I sometimes suffer from low energy levels and my diary entries tend to be very brief.
Writing in the morning has its advantages. Sleeping helps consolidate memory and the subconscious does its solving and learning. You will also have a lot of energy to write. But if you oversleep, you are more likely going to miss updating your diary at the scheduled time in the morning.
The time you choose should fit with your schedule. Doing some unproductive writing consistently is better than doing productive writing inconsistently. Consistency is more important than quality especially during your initial stage when you are trying to form a habit.
Writing Style and Length
Don't worry about style. You are not writing for anybody other than for yourself. You will not win any award for writing. Your writing should be natural. Nobody but you is going to read it. The idea is to put your thoughts and summary of your actions down on paper. Don't stress about the length too much. Some days you write more than others.
Why Keep A Diary Online
There are probably hundreds of platforms to write your diary. But the only one I recommend is a private WordPress.com blog. This is the platform I personally use to write my diary because it is 100% free and you can make it private so only you can access it. Lack of privacy is the main disadvantage of keeping a diary in a notebook, because anybody who gets their hands on it can read everything in it. When you keep your diary in WordPress, you can write from any device, be it PC, Mobile or Tablet. You can upload pictures and set tags and categories for your diary entries. There is also a built in search engine to find your past diary entries using keywords. Want to remember when you went bowling last time? Just type “bowling” in your diary’s search box.
The System - How to Write a Diary The Ofpad Way
Now that we covered what the benefits of writing a diary are, let us look at how to write a diary the Ofpad way. This is a step by step guide on how to write a diary. We will start with account creation and then move into structured tracking of various aspects of your life. We will look at how to write a diary by incorporating everything we discussed above. The initial setup might take some time, but once everything is done, it will take you no more than 5 to 10 minutes to make a diary entry daily.
Where To Go From Here
By learning how to write a diary you have ensured that you don’t leave your life to chance. You can now consciously build your life every day. Learning how to write a diary will bring a number of positive outcomes in your life if you use it to track & achieve your goals by forming & sticking to new habits. It is highly recommended that you read the most on how to make a definite major purpose next. It will give you something concrete to work towards. Now that you learnt how to write a diary, use your diary to create more that you consume.
If you have questions on how to write a diary or if you have an idea on how to write a diary that is not covered in this post, let us know in the comments below.Lifetime access to Ofpad's email program is available for free for limited time. Enter your email below & click subscribe to claim it now: Be the first to share this post with your friends & followers by clicking the share buttons. Post your questions & thoughts in the comments below.