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The Life-Changing Habit of Journaling (What I Learned)

2020 6/13
The Life-Changing Habit of Journaling (What I Learned)

In this video, I will show you my strategy for journaling on a near-daily basis.

There are a few reasons why someone may want to keep a journal.

My objectives when keeping a journal:

1. Track progress – This can be something as simple as monitoring progress towards goals, whether they be for financial, life, relationship, or health. I find that writing down measurable goals holds me accountable.

2. Staying on course – There are times in life where we may stray from the path which we would like to take. Keeping a journal helps me stay on track and reminds me of the things that are most important.

3. Cataloging and documenting life – Our minds are a library of ideas, thoughts, and feelings. Journaling allows you to create a system to organize those ideas into something that you can reflect upon and use for new projects in the future.

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  • Nate O'Brien says:

    If this video hits 4,000 likes, I’ll make the advice for introverts video next week. Thanks for the support everyone!

    • F479999999999 says:

      Make
      One anyway please? I did my part and liked the video but please make one anyhow! Thank you in advance!

    • 耐忍 says:

      okay i’ve clicked the like button 4,000 times , you’re welcome

    • Helena Bhattarai says:

      Could u please make videos for lazy extroverts, feels like introverts are really productive.

    • Sravan S says:

      Omg yes

    • Caroline Xu says:

      Yes please!

  • Luis Ramos says:

    Nate, great video again. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and mindfulness. Excellent job.

  • MR. ZERO to INFINITY says:

    Notes section on my iPhone 📱 comes in clutch 👍 Great tips, I may have to put pen to paper after watching this video! 📝

  • The College Hustle says:

    Between the scenery switch up and new music I’m loving the new look on this channel! Whenever I get a friend hooked on a Nate I like to call it the “O’brien effect”. His videos are so practical, honest, and free of the typical youtube fluff it’s almost a fresh of breath air.

  • Waynimations says:

    Keep working hard! I love your videos

  • paul mcconkey says:

    Powerful stuff Nate and I totally agree. This is something I should have been doing a long time ago! Thanks

  • ShaneCrazy says:

    thanks for this Nate! i really like the background for this video! hopefully their is much more videos to come with this similar type of setup, i also find this video very life changing and kind’ve mind blowing since last night i was watching a
    Matt D’Avella Video so i was shocked when i saw this on my homepage, keep up the videos and content man! i myself is doing youtube and i’ve been loving the process and journey! keep on growing and pushing man! your getting 1 million subs soon my friend! keep at it!

  • Finelife says:

    I’ve been watching some of your videos and I thought they are well thought out and you are quite articulate and genuine. Keep up the good work. And thanks for sharing how you journal.

  • Christia Fisher says:

    Journaling changed my life. Its an outlet to make room for new ideas and thoughts. Let it go, reflect, keep what is helpful, build a new foundation. Keep what you can to yourself, change yourself, love yourself, be happy and satisfied with your life. Agree with too long of entries, its just too much, but you could write a book? Baby step baby step, BIG STEP! My notebooks stack up every year, but they get better. More realistic, more logical, more hopeful, and more simple. Simplicity makes it easier to meditate and think for yourself.

  • homa ghaedi says:

    Thank you for the precious information. Could you please also talk about prioritizing?

  • Stock Investment Analysis says:

    Very interesting. I recommend journaling to a lot of people, but often because of how it allows them to organize and reflect on their thoughts and emotions, and then track how they change over time. It is funny how we don’t process those things the same way when we merely think about them. Putting them on paper allows us to examine the information more objectively often.

  • Paddy Galloway says:

    I used to be that guy that carried around 1,000 things in my head. Journaling has helped so much and this video has given me a few new ideas too. Always providing the best Nate my man!

  • Имя Фамилия says:

    Why dnt u use your phone for notes instead of the little notebook at least. Is it because of distractions that it may cause?

  • Mike O'Brien says:

    Making a bet that the “important pages” you can’t show us are just doodles… anyone taking my odds?

  • Thomas Grønvold says:

    Such an inspiration. Thank you.

  • ZoeySh says:

    I’ve had trouble putting my ideas on paper because for me the content gets messy and is not very “searchable” after filling out many pages. What’s your advice? Or do you think just the act of writing things down and rereading them is enough for the ideas to stick? I really want a “table of content” of sorts but it’s impossible with spontaneous notes on random thoughts I want to save.

  • Shihab's Blog says:

    Thank you for not talking about stimilus checks.

    • Nate O'Brien says:

      I just couldn’t do it. I would feel like buzzfeed, making mediocre clickbait content

    • Shihab's Blog says:

      @Nate O’Brien and thats why you stand out from the crowd

  • Abaleen D says:

    is that a green screen?

  • sicilee says:

    I’m not sure writing in a journal is for me. Perhaps it depends on the type of journal, however. In other words, it depends what the journal is for be it for releasing emotions, record-keeping, keeping your goals on track, or your life more balanced. I have had moments when writing has helped, both to release my emotions in noting how I feel and by writing letters to multiple people in my lifetime – long, planned, well-thought-out letters. Typically, though, writing tends to just slow me down. Our minds move so quickly. Thoughts are interconnected. Think of one thing and it leads to five other related aspects of the topic and to other topics entirely. I do a vast amount of self-reflection. So much that I think I remember my emotions, thoughts, and particular mindsets of the time throughout my life without writing them down. I just think almost all of the time so I suppose that works for me. In this case, when it comes to writing in journals, I have come to believe it can work for a lot of people, but maybe not everyone. Which isn’t a bad thing. I find “talking to myself,” i.e. out loud, helps me understand how I’m feeling, for example. Brainstorming, goal-setting, and plans, though? I do believe writing those down is likely the better method.

  • Money is Freedom says:

    Great video! I have been planning for some time now to get a notebook and start a journal. Got lot of ideas that fade away if i dont write them down and currently i only use the notes in my phone xp but i prefer paper so much more. And yes, i am aiming towards a PHD in physics xp nano materials and quantum physics xp

  • Starseeds Unite says:

    📚📚📚📚📚📚📚

  • Starseeds Unite says:

    I wanna read your journal 🥺

  • Ben Brown says:

    Good stuff Nate, you’re inspiring me to start journaling! Got to get my productivity up and out of the bin

  • Iván Duré says:

    👍👍👍👍👍👍

  • Emmanuel Toppo says:

    Nice video… I gotta quick question though, what you think about digital journaling? It would save a lot of space, would be easy to track and faster to search through prior notes.

  • paxy2011 says:

    Not going to lie I didn’t care for a video about this topic. But ended up enjoying it! Question where do you put your journals? I am paranoid about someone peeping into it. I swear I want a mini safe

  • Hans Nötig says:

    Not really an efficient system in my opinion… Are you just running after the “productifity”-trend to get more views?

  • John Burris says:

    I started a journal when this pandemic started and am loving it. Pretty boring material so far with everything shut down, but I’m enjoying it. Usually put what I eat during the day, among other things.

    • Fraser Hills says:

      Same bro literally two weeks before the lockdown.

  • jason m says:

    Daily tasks I have a whiteboard on my bedroom door. I write down the next days tasks, so when I wake up in the morning before I leave the room it’s the first thing I see so I know what needs to be done in the day

  • ilhem djenane says:

    I really like your videos, and your personality, you seem like a simple dude, cool, and humble, and you do give good ideas, looking forward to learn more things from you…

  • Hawari says:

    One thing I’m afraid the most is if people, in this case my family, will read my journals. I keep so many secrets that they won’t understand, I’m afraid they will find out and also they don’t really know how to take boundaries. Is journaling on computer (so I can give it a password) have the same positive effect?

  • Jade Choi - Million Dollar Challenge says:

    I also have 3 different notes: short-term, mid-term, long-term.
    Who’s with me with this journaling challenge! 🔥🔥🔥🔥

  • Herman Kirsimäe says:

    Very interesting video, got me really thinking about starting journaling myself! But, do you think it’s important to write everything down by hand (like it somehow “connects” better with your mind) or would keeping a journal in your smartphone/laptop/etc be just as effective?

  • THE POWER OF HELPING with Reuben Wachs says:

    This is definitely one of the most life changing habits I’ve brought into my life. I used to hate writing but now I use notepads for a bunch of different things like morning journaling, video ideas when I’m reading and habit tracking. I find that with so much to do nowadays we need a place to put all those thoughts or they just get overwhelming. Thanks for the video

  • Richard Roman says:

    Awesome video! If the great kinds journaled, so will I. Out of curiosity, what are some of your own goals you write and set for yourself? Looking for ideas

  • Rudolf Schaefer says:

    Very epic Nate! Namaste 🙂

  • ManhattanStory says:

    Not liking this new type of video style. The music is unnecessarily dramatic and the green background doesn’t suit your style imo. I loved your videos for their authenticity, always honest and straight to the point. Please don’t lose that. Don’t transition into Jay Shetty.

  • adhis wangu says:

    Great advice as always Nate. Much love from Kenya!

  • Joel Silva says:

    Great video! I take a slight different approach to journaling, focusing a bit more in “mind decluttering” (via Morning Pages, see Tim Ferris video on journaling) and biweekly habit tracking (see Thomas Frank video “A Better Way to Track Your Habits
    “). However, I’m looking forward to experiment with some of your strategies, specifically the monthly and yearly goal setting/review.
    I’ve been a long time follower of the channel (the first video I’ve watched was one were you mention selling stickers online, I think it is no longer available in your channel) and you’ve always remained consistent and loyal to your style. You’ll reach 1M subs in no time for sure 🙂

  • Karin M says:

    In addition, I would recommend a brain dump Journal. I like to have this thing always next to me and whenever a thought crosses my mind – which is not related to the thing I’m currently doing – I’ll just write it down and come back to it later as soon as the task is finished.

  • We Love Rescue Cats says:

    I keep two journals. My paper one is mainly for tracking health related things and quick to do notes. The one that has proven very useful to me over and over during the last decade or so is the the one I keep in Evernote. I have IFTTT automatically set up a new journal page for me each day with date and weather, so I never even need to think about it. It is ready for me as soon as I log on to start my day. Since I have Evernote premium, I can access it on all of my devices. I make extensive use of the web clipper and the Evernote feature that allows me to email things to my Evernote. I use the Evernote link feature to link things I have clipped and emailed to myself into my Daily Journal so it serves as a very useful reference for me of what I was working on each day. I can also easily add anything from an inspiring quotation that I ran across to a cute picture of something my cat did that day into my Daily Journal. Since it is electronic, I can easily do a search when needed to find out what day it was that I did XYZ. I am very, very frugal on many things. We don’t even have a car or television set or couch or dining room table etc., but the one thing I won’t give up is premium Evernote as I would be lost without my electronic Daily Journal.

  • Never Average Aventa says:

    I have 2 journals, one for my long term goals and important tasks, and another one for “brainstorming”. Really important to “dump” the thoughts you have in your head, so you get more clarity in your life.

  • Rajdip Shah says:

    Bruh! I journaled for 1 year recordong my awesome experiences in my highschool life style, then I read after graduating a few weeks ago before this corona thingie and man did i start crying

  • Kndome says:

    you should try getting one to write about feelings, like when you feel sad, angry, etc. any dreams you have, things you want to manifest etc! that helps me a lot

  • it is josh smith says:

    I have been doing this for a few months now and I can honstly say I really enjoy it, highly reccomend 🙂

  • Ronald Vargas says:

    do a collab with andrew kirby

  • natt773 says:

    lol, his journaling is productive. Mine would be about my emotional insecurities.

  • eliav biton says:

    Loved it, thanks

  • Dee Burks says:

    good vid…love the simple journals and system. I use plain spirals, but the important take away is make it a priority and don’t force yourself to write a diary.

  • Michal Ostrovsky says:

    I just write my feelings in there uhhhh nevermind

  • Just Frugal Me says:

    Thanks for this Nate! Journaling helps combat this short-sightedness by encouraging us to step back and consider the big picture.

  • Aless andro says:

    How do you deal with that kind of sadness that comes up for no reason?

  • Miriam S says:

    I have a journal where I just write whenever I have feelings I need to process. Then each month within that journal I set myself a task which I review at the end of the month. Then I have a separate very small gratitude journal where I just fill a page with what I’m grateful for (try to do it everyday/ few says)

  • Jason Ferreira says:

    Hey Nate, you were one of my influences to start my own channel! Thank you.

  • Ryan Shearer says:

    VERY HELPFUL. However, it seems that you don’t use your journal as an emotional tool at all

  • Boristien405 says:

    I journal sometimes and write sticky notes almost every day with a checklist. I keep a few sticky notes but not everything. I really like recording and reflecting on things, but I also don’t want my whole life to just be checking boxes or making fun things tasks

  • sayali pathak says:

    Also would love to know how you actually process the notes later. It’s easy for me to dump my thoughts into my notes. But the challenge is to actually have a system to ADDRESS them later and ensure they actually get acted upon. THANKS!

  • Anthony Makovietskiy says:

    I’ve been keeping my journal for over a year already and it’s been extremely useful for me 🙂

  • Jorge Solaeche says:

    What about digital journaling? Have you tried it, what are your thoughts?

  • Conor Hayes says:

    Thank you for the video Nate, this is really helpful.

  • SK B says:

    I get scared about people stealing my (deteriorating) phone and it’s literally ONLY because I don’t want anyone to read my notes…

  • Jeziel Santos says:

    Life’s so short. But even being so short, once we get to 100 years – God willing -, it’s gonna get difficult to remember your youth adventures. Journaling is essential. Reading books and share to others what you’ve learned from these books is mindful and a enjoying task for daily routines.

    Jesus Christ is coming back!
    John 3:16

    Hugs from Brazil 🇧🇷.

    • Ashpyxiating says:

      Jeziel Santos ummm this wasnt about god in the slightest

    • Michael Lawton says:

      @Ashpyxiating why do you have to respond so negatively to a fact? The comment about Jesus wasn’t offensive at all. It was a brief statement. We all need uplifting reminders, especially during these troubling times.

  • Eric Himmelheber says:

    I really love that sports game comparison. Stuff like that, even in financials, always helps me understand it more.

  • alx7123 says:

    next level quality, nice video. Keep up the good work.

  • Star87 says:

    4K looks good !!

  • Mihaela Pascu says:

    I really liked the video! I write each morning, it’s a great way of holding ourselves accountable. Listening to you this morning made me think of a very young Warren Buffett!

  • Laura G says:

    God I hope 2020 ends soon! 🤞🏻Great video!

  • Family Dog says:

    Ha ha technically we are all already in space
    on giant spaceship called Earth 😀 😀
    Zooming thought universe with mind boggling speed. (Just Google the speed that Earth, solar system, and Milky Way that they are going through a space)
    lol
    You probably meant going outside of Earth’s atmosphere? 😀
    P.S. Great video. I am just joking. I got very inspired from watching Spacex’s preparation for the launch 🙂

  • blue says:

    hello nate im sorry i know this is out of context but may i ask you, what’s your mbti personality type? you seem to be an organized and discipline person and im just wondering if it’s related to your personality.
    thanks for the content anyway.. love it and yes, i agree that keeping a journal helps a lot 👍🏼👍🏼

  • Yael Maimon says:

    I want to go to space one day too 🙂 Wonderful to see you outdoors again! This vid is much appreciated!!

  • The ASMR Gamer says:

    Love the journal system/breakdown – brilliant stuff! 👌🏼

  • Ryleigh Taylor says:

    This might be a weird question but does anyone have a favorite pen to write with? I journal everyday but I have some lame pens:/

  • Ronaldo Pose says:

    Video quality just keeps going up!

  • María José Cisneros Castrillón says:

    Or just write poetry 11:15

  • johnny t says:

    Great vid.

  • Blue DeBrosky says:

    There’s some sound advice with living examples from an authentic source.

  • Myeongeun Chong says:

    Please do make a video for introverts and ambiverts! Thanks 🙂

  • Van Pham says:

    You are the one that I smashed the like button the most. Thanks for all your great videos 👍

  • Abd elwahab Ramadane says:

    I like the way you simplify things,you’re such an inspirational and motivational youtuber. Thanks!

  • fred anderson says:

    thank u

  • Sravan S says:

    When you realise you don’t have enough ideas and thoughts

  • RidiX says:

    Thanks, bro. I really needed that confirmation. I have been against that idea for quite a few years, because of some random dude who said that I should not keep track of my progress, because I will ruin the fun of what I do or something like that (League of Legends video related anyways, I’m glad I’ve also quit it, probably the best decisions of my life). Unfortunately, I’ve made a principle out of it without realising why I do that… All I needed was hearing someone else saying that it’s actually a good habbit to journal what we do, BECAUSE of x and y. I’m happy that I got to see this video, for real! The funny thing is that yesterday I also started to track my progress about me learning at a subject in university. I could say that this video was meant for me to see it, haha!

  • Dr Nikhil says:

    U rock

  • Mudit Jhawar says:

    4:15 that’s exactly my goal of the month! 😮👍

  • Laika Travels says:

    Great advice 👍

  • Chachi Shapiro says:

    Nate, your journaling technique is pretty much the same as mine. I began back in early 2018 and it has been a life changer for me. It has helped me clear up my space, save up ten’s of thousands, get married, and rebuild my health.

  • Rhodes says:

    Great video once again Nate – thanks for educating so many on handling their finances and for inspiring me to start my own channel:)

  • Aly Garcia says:

    Wow love your channel! It’s good to see people around our age being humble yet driven. So true about the PhD, it’s so easy to continue blowing off because the job pay is good. Thanks for the pointers!

  • Angela Addante says:

    I just stumbled upon your page and I’m shocked. You have such a beautiful and unique mind. Keep doing you! Thanks for posting all these things. Can’t wait to see your other videos 👌

    • Nate O'Brien says:

      Thank you Angela!

  • C Mack says:

    Tough times Nate. Hope you are doing well. Stay off the streets and stay safe.

  • Eve Wee says:

    U carry the small journal around for for 5-6 months already that is why it is so beat up but there’s nothing inside!! Please be honest! When a journal is being written daily it become thicker unlike the one you show

  • David Hoetker says:

    You know, I’ve always tried go get into journaling but could never stick to it. I’m gonna try this and I’ll let you know.

  • Caleb Oliver says:

    Nate Great Video! 👍🏾 I need to journal more consistently. I’m sure it’d help me with my goals.

  • David Hoetker says:

    Hey Nate, I just discovered you and I love your content, im planning on bingeing on a lot of it, but I just saw a commericial on your video about Peter Szabo and it talked about Memory Hacking and a class to relearn behavior and although I’m a super sceptic I was wondering your thoughts.

  • Mr. Spera the child rapist says:

    Awesome vid!

  • Mitzi I. says:

    Did you read the Game of Work?
    Awesome content btw!

  • shesananomaly says:

    I totally relate to this, journalling is a fundamental part of my morning routine and am super goal-oriented too! I think you’d love the diaries/journals/notepads from migoals – I found the brand at a market I visited at the end of last year and it has literally set up my life for the year. Makes it so much easier than otherwise to track habits, stay organised and focused on my goals. I gained a lot of value from one of your videos talking about how the most successful people take weeks off from life to cast vision for the year – I was inspired (and mentally needed) to try that out and found the guided sections of my diary (core values, purpose, success toolkit, 2019 reflection, life rating, 5 year plan, vision board and 5 major goals) all so helpful in structuring my sabbatical week! It definitely required a lot of mental energy, so I’m glad I had seen your video to encourage me to take that time off for it.

  • Andrew Wardell says:

    Great video. Thank you! This was super helpful. Hope you are ok if I use OneNote on my computer!! Haha it’s just a lot easier for me. However, I am glad you have explained the principles behind why and what you’re journaling 🙂

  • Marybeth Parris says:

    I’m so confused like is he 18 or 35👀

  • A K says:

    well, i have a complaint about this video…
    where is the sofa and the laptop setup, i really wanted that.
    i think you are starting to forget about my intrests…:(
    but anyways the value gained from this video was amazing 🙂

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