Every night for the past five years, before I hit the hay, I take a few minutes to reflect back on my day by journaling in my favorite journal, the "Happiness Project One-Sentence Journal." This journal is based on Gretchen Rubin's best seller, "The Happiness Project," a novel where she shares how she incorporated happiness into her everyday life while encouraging others to do the same. This specific journal allows users to do the same thing and create their own "Happiness Project." It is set up like a calendar; every date for the next five years has space where users can write about what they specifically did that day. When I write in it, my goal is to fill the lines provided, even if I had an uneventful day and just stayed at home and watched Netflix. I'll describe the show that I watched, or if I watched it with a friend, etc.. The more detail I include, the more reflective the process is, leading towards a happier mindset.
However, everyone has their bad days, but remember that these days are equally important to include in your "Happiness Project." By thinking about the day's stressful events and situations, it allows you to think about how the next day could go better or what you can do differently next time a similar situation occurs. Research has also shown how important it is to write your thoughts out on paper and out of your mind.
Personally, I find the reflection process relaxing, whether it was a "good" or "bad" day. By thinking back on the day's activities before going to bed, I am left in a state of mind knowing that tomorrow will either be better or will be just as great as the previous day. Plus, a fun added bonus to it is that it is always fun to read what you did a year ago that day, or even four years ago. Sometimes you forget that on the same day last year you and your friends saw a movie premiere at midnight, and it is a fun memory to relieve and share with one another. It's kind of like a "Timehop" for your own thoughts and memories... but so much more than just photos coming up on the app in your phone!
If you are looking into becoming more of a "journaler" this new year, start small with a journal like this one. I have had a lot of fun with it these past five years—it has been an important reflection tool for me since 8th grade, all the way to my freshman year of college! You can see your growth over the years and discover what aspects of you have changed. When starting this journal at the beginning of my teenage years, and now completing it at age 18, I have been able to read and think back to fun memories, remember rough study nights, and overall see how I have grown every day for the last five years, and I encourage everyone at any age to do the same!