Bruno Berstel-Da Silva recently crossed the impressive milestone of 1,000 consecutive days of journaling.
Bruno lives in Paris, France, and works as a software engineer.
In this interview, we asked Bruno about the importance of journaling and for advice on how to build a meaningful journaling habit.
How long have you been keeping a journal?
I actually started keeping a journal with Day One in July 2013.
What makes journaling important to you?
I’ve always been bad at remembering numbers, be it prices, dates, etc. Also, as my kids were growing, I realised that I was always confusing what happened at what age, where we went on vacation in which year, etc. Not that is was that big a problem, but at some point I thought that it would be nice to store that information somewhere, just to have it at hand when needed. It can also help me remember the movies I saw, the restaurants I went to, etc.
What do you usually journal about?
When I started in 2013, I logged what you could call “events”: going out with friends, seeing a movie, health troubles of my parents, etc. Then when we were locked down because of Covid, it was so strange that I decided to write something every day. And after one month or two, this habit turned into a rule (that led me to my 1,000+ day streak). But “events” do not happen every day. Or you do not always know whether the things that just happened will be important or not. (Ok, usually you know…) So I ended up journaling about what I did during the day, how I feel, whether I had an argument with someone, about little joys or sadnesses. Plus, the usual “events.”
I rarely journal about what happens in the word, except when it stresses me like a war or a pandemic. I do not either duplicate in Day One stuff that I post on social media (which is not a lot anyway). I gave a couple of tries at logging what or whom I could be grateful to, or similar stuff: it does not work for me, I rarely have anything interesting to write along that lines.
I do have two dedicated journals though, one titled “Fun” where I collect jokes, funny memes, etc.; and one titled “Screen backgrounds”, where I collect screen wallpapers that Unsplash sets randomly for me, when I find them nice. The rest goes into one fat “Journal”.
When do you journal each day?
I always make one entry per day, plus dedicated entries for movies and sometimes restaurants or alike.
When I journal varies a lot. I usually try to add to my daily entry at several moments during the day. However, I often have busy days, and I end up writing the daily entry in the evening. Or sometimes even on the day after.
One thing with writing one entry per day, is that when you start it in the morning, you do not know which title to give it. 🙂 So I usually start the entry by giving it the day of the week as a title, and at the end of the day, I choose a better title.
What tips or advice would you give others who want to build a journaling habit/streak?
Of course, the journal “Streak” feature in Day One encourages you to journal every day. But I’d advise the person to decide by themselves if it this is important to them, or if they would feel that as counter-productive. However, one phenomenon I encountered is that the more what you are living is intense, the less time you have to journal about it (and vice versa). This paradox may make it a bit difficult to build a habit.
One piece of advice for someone just starting, could be to journal somewhat often, that is, between twice a day and every other day, about what ever they feel worth it. After a few weeks, they will probably understand what is important to them about journaling, and which frequency works best for them. Identifying what is important gives a meaning to journaling, which is key to building a habit.
What have you learned from keeping a journal for over 1,000 days?
I realised that putting thoughts in writing forces me to make them clear. I sometimes use that to dig a bit into my feelings, to the point that on some occasions, when I live a stressful moment, I’m thinking “I’ll have to log that”. Ok, it looks like a kind of therapy — maybe it is.
What is your favorite thing about the Day One app?
Obviously “On this Day.” But also the fact that filtering is powerful and quick. For example, I use it a lot to display a map of the restaurants I went to in a given area.
“I realised that putting thoughts in writing forces me to make them clear. I sometimes use that to dig a bit into my feelings, to the point that on some occasions, when I live a stressful moment, I’m thinking “I’ll have to log that.””
How has Day One helped you journal consistently for 1,000 days?
Actually, I do not use prompts nor templates. But seeing the streak count increment was definitely a motivator.
What else you would like to share about your journaling streak?
I did not think it would be the case when I subscribed to the Facebook community, but it actually is quite important. Journaling is a personal thing, and doing it while being part of a community is a nice complement.
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The Day One journaling app makes it easy to build and maintain a daily journaling habit. Daily reminders, daily writing prompts, and journaling streaks are designed to help keep you motivated and consistently journaling.