Reflecting on a Habit

My planner for 2018 included monthly, weekly, and daily pages. I used the monthly and weekly spreads for actual planning and decided to use the daily pages for journaling. My method was more “document what you did and who you did it with” rather than “this is how I’m feeling or what I’m thinking.” It started as a goal to improve my cursive handwriting. I wrote the majority of my entries in cursive…but my handwriting is no better than it was a year ago. Still, I enjoyed having a reason to write in cursive. I still use the second grade rules, so my script is very generic and rigid. No one will ever hire me as a calligrapher!

Sample pages from my year of journaling.

 I missed less than ten days of journaling for the entire year. I’ve written in journals throughout my life, but this was the first time for a daily practice. At times, it felt like a chore that I was just doing to fulfill a commitment, and some of the entries were very bland.

But you know what? When I switched planners in 2019 to one without daily pages, I realized I missed journaling. It was neat to look back on all the things I did in a year, and to look at all the days spent with various people. The practice forced me to examine my days and find something to document. Every day I found something to say.

I’m not journaling daily in 2019, but I am making an effort to write notes on my weekly pages when I spend time with people or when interesting things happen. I had a very complete picture of my 2018 experiences – many things I would have forgotten by year-end if I hadn’t written them down. The process helped me reflect with gratefulness on things I would normally forget. My year was full of people, places, and memories I loved. Maybe someday, decades from now, someone will find my planner documenting an ordinary life in 2018…and get a glimpse of my world.

Are you trying something new in 2019?  Do you have a practice/habit that surprised you with its usefulness?

Books I Read in 2018

For the last few years I’ve tracked the books I read and the movies I watched. In the beginning of 2018 I posted my reading list of 20 books on this site. I ended up reading 10 of those books…plus 25 more. I’m not great at sticking to what I intend to read because if something catches my interest I’ll drop everything I planned and read it.  In the last quarter of the year I got on a biography/autobiography kick, which you will notice in the lists. I’ll put an asterisk next to the books I highly recommend, but I enjoyed 99% of what I read in 2018. I averaged 3 books a month, which was great considering the busy-ness of my year. What did you read last year?

Fiction:
Harry Potter (7 books) – J.K Rowling
A Wrinkle in Time – Madeleine L’Engle
The Visitors – Sally Beauman
The Hellfire Club – Jake Tapper
An American Marriage – Tayari Jones
The Commonwealth – Ann Patchett
The Masterpiece – Francine Rivers
The 49th Mystic – Ted Dekker


Non-Fiction:
Braving the Wilderness* – Brene Brown
Laugh it Up – Candace Payne
Love Does* – Bob Goff
Waco: A Survivor’s Story – David Thibodeau
I’ll be Gone in the Dark – Michelle McNamara
The Very Worst Missionary* – Jamie Wright
Everybody Always – Bob Goff
I’m Still Here* – Austin Channing Brown
Inspired* – Rachel Held Evans
Work Rules -Lazlo Bock
What She Ate – Laura Shapiro
Nevertheless – Alec Baldwin
Scrappy Little Nobody – Anna Kendrick
The Andy Cohen Diaries – Andy Cohen
The Rainbow Comes and Goes – Gloria Vanderbilt & Anderson Cooper
This Life I Live – Rory Feek
Sully – Chesley Sullenberger
A Life in Parts – Bryan Cranston
In Such Good Company – Carol Burnett
Stories I Only Tell my Friends – Rob Lowe
What Happened – Hillary Clinton