Thursday, February 4, 2010

Happiness Tools: Resolution Charts and Mini-Journals

Resolution Chart:

Gretchin Rubin at The Happiness Project is a frequent encourager of charting your goals and resolutions.  The daily task of reviewing and checking off items reinforces the resolution in your mind, and being able to view progress gives a whole lot of satisfaction! 

I've never seen her resolution chart, so I came up with one I think will work for me.  It's a monthly chart divided into weeks and checkable days, with some daily and some weekly resolutions.  There's my known resolutions and space to add new ones each week.  It's a pretty simple Excel spreadsheet with a tab for each month.

Here's the whole chart:

and a closeup of this week:

I put 5 weeks (4 for February) on a single page, which I can tape to a kitchen cupboard to keep it in my conscious mind.  Everyone sorts their life differently.  I tend to plan goals on a weekly basis, so I don't cut the chart mid-week to put each month on a different page.  You may be better at long-range planning and prefer to make each month a unit of measurement towards your goals.  Or each pay-period at work.  Whatever helps you organize the progress in your mind!

If anyone is Excel-Challenged, let me know.  I'd be happy to send you a 2010 template you can customize in Excel or Excel-compatible freeware, or I can send a .pdf of each month you can print and fill in by hand.  E-mail me at


They call this the "one-line journal" at The Happiness Project, but since I often write more than one line, I like "mini-journal" instead.  Or maybe Journalette? :-)

I've tried many times to start keeping a journal.  In the house decluttering I've come across about a dozen journals, all beautiful, all nicely bound with quality paper.  All with maybe 2-10 entries each before I gave up.  The problem is, of course, time.  But at the same time, I read those few entries and they spark memories of events, people, etc. that I've forgotten after only a few years.  I always think that some funny or important moment will be forever engraved on my memory, and I'm almost always wrong.  I do have long-term memory issues, but what's worse is that my long-term memory is much more effective at retaining the bad moments than the good. 

So instead of buying yet another pretty fancy journal with parchment pages and leather cover, I went to the dollar store and got a cheap, plastic covered 2010 weekly planner.  I'ts about the size of my checkbook, so I can carry it easily in my purse.  Each week is on a double page, and each day has about a business-card size lined space that will fit 2-3 sentences.  Each day I jot something down; a quote, a funny moment, a joke, something important happening in my life right now.  By choosing what stands out the most to me from each day I also capture my life on a larger scale and progression.  By limiting myself to a few sentences I don't feel pressured to write a daily essay with some profound conclusion, but do get the creative challenge of distilling some days into a small space (I'm sure you've noticed that brevity is a challenge for me).  :-)

Of course I'm not a big planner person.  I don't have a lot of appointments and such that I need to track, so the few I have can go right in the journal with the rest.  Since I have to open it every day anyway, I'm more likely to check for appointments.  Those of you with day-planner or pda-scale lives have the choice to incorporate your daily journal into your regular system, or just pick up that little dollar-store version (or a moleskin if you want to get super-fancy) to carry around inside it.  It depends on how much of your life you want to record for later.  Personally I don't really care about the meetings I went to a year ago, but I would like to remember that thing my best friend said.


catgal said...

I love the idea of a mini-journal! I'm going to try it out. I also have many, many beautiful unused journals in my house.

JennyRose said...

I like the idea of charts. I just want to use them for good and now a club to beat myself over the head with.