Streak Story: 4,400 Days with CJ Chilvers

Introducing Streak Stories, a new series that celebrates Day One journalers and their milestone of consecutive days of journaling. Each interview features questions about how they built their journaling habit and best tips for building a long journaling streak. We also explore what they’ve learned from keeping a journal.

CJ Chilvers has been journaling consistently since Christmas Day, 2010.
CJ lives in Arlington Heights, Illinois, and works as an author and content strategist at a marketing agency called StudioNorth.

Recently, CJ reached a milestone of over 4,400 consecutive days of journaling. We spoke with CJ to learn more about the journey of journaling every day for over twelve years and any lessons learned along the way.

How long have you been keeping a journal?

I’ve been keeping a journal since Christmas Day, 2010. I moved the journal over to Day One some time in the next two months, when the app was first launched and publicized.

Back in 2011, I wrote a post about the potential I saw in Day One as a new app on my blog. I even suggested adding a review of previous entries written on the same date—so thanks for adding that! I think Day One fulfilled on its promise very well.

What makes journaling important to you? 

Journaling is an offshoot of meditation—a type of introspection where a record of events is welcome. It doesn’t have to mean the record is permanent. In fact, it’s probably better as ephemeral—permanently locked behind a password. But, the fact that it exists is a comfort in itself. 

What do you usually journal about?

It’s a stream of conscious. You have to have a place of your own: physically and mentally. Day One is my writing cabin.

What is your journaling habit or routine like?

Journaling is part of my sleep routine. I don’t feel right until it’s done. Then, I can sleep. It’s a habit. I’m lucky that I never had to force it.

If I feel too exhausted to write in Day One, that’s what I write about in Day One. I have ADHD, so introspection is constant. Capturing some of it can be revelatory.

“Journaling is an offshoot of meditation—a type of introspection where a record of events is welcome. It doesn’t have to mean the record is permanent. In fact, it’s probably better as ephemeral—permanently locked behind a password. But, the fact that it exists is a comfort in itself.”

What tips or advice would you give others who want to build a journaling habit/streak?

Don’t think about it too much. Don’t be hard on yourself. Journaling is not a rule, just a routine. It helps a little with you thinking, so don’t invest more than a little. It stuck with me, but my brain isn’t yours. See what sticks for you.

What have you learned from keeping a journal for 4,400 days?

That I repeat thoughts, ideas, and mistakes way more often than I realized. I think all humans are locked into certain tendencies and journaling can reveal yours just as well as any physical brain scan. But you need to pay attention to the patterns.

What is your favorite thing about the Day One app? 

The potential uses for Day One are endless, but the app doesn’t act like an everything bucket app. After all these years, thousands of entries, and multimedia attachments, Day One remains snappy and responsive. That’s rare in even the most expensive of apps, but Day One has always stayed within reach of the personal user. I love that.

How has Day One helped you journal consistently for 4,400 days? 

By being consistent itself. Day One is reliable. When a feature is added, it doesn’t detract from the dependable and personal nature of the app. 

What else you would like to share about your journaling streak? 

I couldn’t write for the public for a living without also writing for myself. I sharpen the saw in Day One. Everyone should have a place to workout their brain as much as their gym works out their body. Day One is the most effective mind gym I’ve ever found.


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Did you recently cross a journaling streak milestone? We’d love to hear your story! Tell us your Streak Story here.

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