Get weekly newsletter updates from Gretchen.

The happiness of keeping a “one-sentence journal” (my own invention).

The happiness of keeping a “one-sentence journal” (my own invention).

One of my successful happiness-project initiatives is to keep a “one-sentence journal.”

For quite a while, I’ve been alarmed by how little I remember about my own past. As a consequence, I’ve become much more careful to take photos and videos regularly, as a kind of diary to keep my memories vivid.

Also, I wished that I could keep a proper journal, to maintain a colorful record of what’s happening in my life, but that would just be too much work.

Instead, I came up with the idea of keeping a “one-sentence journal.”

Now, each night, I write one sentence (well, actually, usually it’s three or four sentences, and I type them into the computer) about what happened that day to me, the Big Man and the girls.

It’s a good place to record those kids-say-the-darndest-things moments. I always think that I’ll never forget, but I do. Until my mother reminded me, I’d forgotten about the time when, as we were driving on the Bruckner Expressway, after I said to the Big Man, “Have we ever driven on this road when the drawbridge has been raised?” the Big Girl piped up, “If that’s the drawbridge, where’s the castle?”

My hope is that, years from now, when I’m trying to remember what life was like at this point, I can look back at my one-sentence journal.

I started it on August 1. After the completion of each year of the journal, I plan to publish it as a book on my favorite site, That way, I’ll have a keepsake hardcopy version.

It’s a very satisfying project: it’s manageable, so it doesn’t make me feel burdened; it gives me a feeling of accomplishment and progress, the “growth” so important to happiness; it helps keep happy memories vivid (because I’m much more inclined to write about happy events than unhappy events), which boosts my happiness; and it gives me a reason to pause thinking lovingly about the members of my family.

icon emailNewsletterLight

One Last Thing

Interested in happiness, habits, and human nature?

Sign up to get my free weekly newsletter. I share ideas for being happier, healthier, more productive, and more creative.

icon schooled

Find out if you’re an Upholder, Obliger, Questioner, or a Rebel.

The Four Tendencies explain why we act and why we don’t actOur Tendency shapes every aspect of our behavior, so understanding your Tendency lets us make better decisions, meet deadlines, suffer less stress and burnout, and engage more effectively.

Take the quiz

Get My Weekly Newsletter

Sign up to get my free weekly newsletter. It highlights the best material from here, my Facebook Page, and new original work.