A year and a day ago on August 13, 2008 I challenged myself to start a new habit of writing a short journal entry at the end of each day. I drew inspiration from Gretchen Rubin at the Happiness Project blog, where she talked about her own anniversary of starting a "one-sentence" journal. I also used the Seinfeldian Chain to mark off successful days on a calendar to build the habit.
It's been a very interesting personal experience so far, with several benefits. First, it really helps me reflect on what was meaningful over the course of each day. When I have bad days, I have a way to work through the pain. On the good days, I smile again and revel in what went well. On the average days, I find something worth remembering.
I'm also really happy that my journal will be something that my children and their children (and so on), can read long after I'm gone. I see the benefit of such journals when I read the Little House on the Prairie books to my girls. They are priceless first-hand accounts of a life that is long past. In fact, I often write thinking about what my ancestors might say when the read my words 100 years from now.
Finally, it's not really that much work. I have a reminder system but don't need it as much anymore. I really look forward to writing my entries 5 minutes before bed.
I haven't looked back at any posts, and I rarely go back to read my journals that I've kept on and off in the past. I don't want to relive past memories, but writing the present memories helps me appreciate what's next so much more.