How To Chronicle Your Life

A life worth living is a life worth recording quote.jpg

When you chronicle or document a bit about your day it can be life changing. What starts off as individual and unrelated moments may steer you (especially upon review) in a direction to make better or different choices for how you spend the time left in your life.

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Here’s how to start

Each day take five minutes to record something about that day. You don’t need a fancy journal or fountain pen, but go ahead and use those if they’ll inspire you to keep this habit. Later we’ll talk about five creative ways to help you get started, without pen and paper.

The most important thing to keep in mind is to note what happened that day and how you feel about it. What you hope will happen next is optional, and could be mind-blowing if you’re willing to change. For now, just concentrate on making daily entries into (I made this up) The Chronicles of You.

Don’t overthink this

Listen, this is not Bridget Jones’s Diary. Nor is it high school journaling 101. You won’t be graded and more than likely your life (fingers crossed) won’t be turned into a Hollywood romantic-comedy.

The point here is to record a simple quick blurb about something — significant or minor — that left an impression on you. Try to chose a moment in your day that you wish to remember.

I know the idea of thought-dumping might be hard, especially at the end of a long day.

Figure out your best time and then make it a ritual. Try to tie it together with something you always do. Start the morning with a cup of coffee? Record yesterday’s message while you sip. Watch the news before falling asleep? Record it then.

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What you’ll discover

Doing this brings awareness to your daily life.

We all get bogged down with the same old grind, where, by the time we shut our eyes, we wonder…

Where did the day go?

Did I do something positive?

Something I was proud of?

Something that made me happy?

Did someone benefit because I’m still walking the planet?

What you’ll discover are small hints into your most private self. The good, the bad and the ugly truth.

That said, some of the positive results you can experience when you take five minutes to record a daily memory include:

Feelings of gratitude

We’ve all heard (I hope by now) that keeping a gratitude journal has been proven to help overcome many psychological challenges. It’s hard to get too down on yourself when you’re grateful for life’s small blessings.

Record the big and little things you’re grateful for this day.

When you begin this you’ll no doubt write: “I am grateful for my health.” Okay those are the big gratuitous entries, assuming you’re lucky enough to be healthy. Ditto for a roof over your head, a good job, food in the refrigerator, a loving family. Once the big ones are noted, gratitude for the smallest of things adds depth to your day and life.

A string of green lights when you’re running late for work.

Finding someone in the house has replaced a roll of toilet paper

Clear emotions

Chronicling your daily life can help reduce stress.

When no one is there to listen, or you don’t feel like talking about it, get it all out. It’s okay to shred, toss or burn those emotions you’d rather not read again. Sometimes the physical act of releasing it in any form is good enough. Detach and let go. Whew. Exhale.


I’m not sure about you, but time gets away from me. Vague memories of meeting someone, visiting a place, something important I’ve read or seen; no matter how hard I wreck my brain, I can’t seem to recall the facts or details.

Recording it is proof to you it happened.

Sense of self improves

We’re our own worse critic. Nobody can do more harm to us than the angry and hateful abuse we self-inflict. I’m too tired, too old, uneducated, ad nauseum. We know the drill.

Here’s the thing: getting these nit picky negatives out is good medicine as long as you counter each negative with a positive.

For example:

Replace “I’m too old” with: “I’m grateful that my mind is sharp and clear. I have the ability and desire to learn new things. I will use my talents and years of experience to contribute to the job, the project, the group, etc. in a positive way.”

You CAN handle the truth

Be honest, non-judgemental and fair to yourself. Cut yourself the same slack you’d give others.

Be your best friend. Can you do this for five stinkin’ minutes a day? You know the answer is yes.

Let your mind solve problems in unique ways. And allow yourself to smile about the happy bits you record. We’ll call those “the keepers”.

5 ways to chronicle your life

There are many ways to start recording your daily bits. Here are a five ideas to get you started:

1. Create your own perpetual calendar

DIY Perpetual Calendar.jpg

Source: snapguide


I love this fun do-it-yourself project idea found on snapguide. With a few items you might have hanging around the house or a quick trip to Staples, you’ll end up with multiple years recorded in the same location.

2. Start a written journal

Keep a Journal.jpg

If you prefer writing in a book, by all means keep a journal.

When I think “diary” I think teenage girls and yes, Bridget Jones, complete with all the drama and inner most thoughts and fears of her life.

To me, and feel free to lay down the argument (but really who cares?) that a journal is a register of happenings and an examination, perhaps, of how you feel about what you’ve chronicled.

It goes more in-depth, more introspective than say, “I can’t believe Bobby asked Hillary to the prom! sad emoji, crazy emoji, black Sharpie pen doodles. I HATE everyone!” Wow, that could have been a flashback to my 70s high school diary.

For whatever you choose to call yours, here are some printable labels found on Pinterest should you want to create a special cover for your journal/diary.

3. Video record your day in seconds

create a video of your life.jpg

Are you ready for your close-up?

Imagine a movie that includes every day of the rest of your life. Cesar Kriyama created 1 Second Everyday, a phone App (available for Android and iPhone) which allows the user to record one second of video every day and then chronologically edits (mashes) them together into a single film.

Initially his plan was to compile the moments into a six-minute memento of his 30th birthday year. He realized that the project did more than document his life–it changed the decisions he made about how to spend time.

Worth a try?

Bonus idea for new parents: Record one second of your new baby’s life for a year.

4. Create a memory keepsake

Make A Memory Jar.jpg

This is an easy one that you’ve probably heard about. Maybe you’ve got three of them on a shelf in the garage.

I personally keep a Be F.A.T. memory jar and fill it with scraps of paper. I write one highlight of the day. If two awesome things happened I write two. Hey, there are no hard and fast rules here.

About six months ago I randomly pulled out a handful to read while sipping a cup of hot tea. I was most surprised that the overwhelming majority of entries mentioned a special someone in my life — my spouse, children, friends, old colleagues, even a reminder about someone who’d passed years ago. People, for me, seemed to matter the most when recording the bits of my day.

Whether you create a jar or use a box, can or bucket, it doesn’t matter of course. Add to it daily. Create a time capsule of sorts that will transport you back to specific moments in life that mattered you.

Jess, a fine crafter at Make & Do Crew created a post and simple instructions for a do-it-yourself Make A Memory Jar. She also includes free printable labels.

5. Take advantage of smart phone apps

use your cell phone to chronicle your life.jpg

No paper? No pen? No problem. And if video isn’t your thing, record your daily bit on your cell phone, date it and save it into a folder. I rely on EVERNOTE (free version) and the NOTES apps on my phone. Both let you record notes by typing, “writing” or voice recording.

You determine how your story ends

This is about you and your life. How you chose to remember it is totally up to you. Remember there are no rules on how to chronicle your life. Try a few of these suggested ideas and find one that works for you. Or mix them up. Voice record one day, write another. Have fun.

In the comments section share ideas we haven’t mentioned or others that you’ve tried.

The big takeaway is hindsight. When you look back on what you’ve chronicled you may find patterns. Use those to propel you forward, to make minor changes or take huge leaps.

Dare I say, if you stick with this, you will definitely think about how you spend your days. And your life.


If you enjoyed this post or got something out of it, please subscribe to this blog or leave a comment if you’d like me to create more writings like this. Thanks so much. I hope you have a great day. XO

Other posts you might like:

You don’t need to wait until the beginning of a new year to start. And you don’t need a jar. Find a box, bag, or some random castaway recyclable and make it your Be F.A.T. reminder.

Not a day passes by where you don’t leave your mark on it. How your imprint is remembered is totally up to you. P.S. Don’t leave poop marks.


Original graphic: Stephanie DelTorchio
Quote: Jim Rohn


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