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Apple journaling app makes complete sense to this recent convert

A report today says that that we can expect to see a new Apple journaling app as part of iOS 17, with the new stock app likely to be shown off at WWDC in June.

As a rather recent convert to journaling, I have to say that the move makes a lot of sense to me …

I wrote late last year that I’d created a method of daily logging for a series of weight loss and other health-related goals. I’ve just realized that I never wrote the promised follow-up, so here it is: Yes, it worked.

By making very visible both inputs (calories eaten, exercise minutes, and steps) and outputs (weight, waist size, body fat percentage, BMI, and resting heart rate), I got a daily reminder of how well I was keeping my promises to myself, and encouragement from such a clear depiction of the results.

It wasn’t all plain sailing. I had to make a very tough but necessary decision last year, and the fallout from that has been extremely stressful. I got to see very clearly the link between physical and mental health, and realized that I needed to take an equally focused approach to the latter.

For example, I previously dived into screens pretty much as soon as I woke in the morning. While still in bed, I’d pick up my phone, and catch up with messages and social media, then there was typically not much of a gap between my personal screen-time and my work screen-time.

So I started a new habit: Namely, a screen-free period of sitting with a cup of coffee in the morning. A chance to just sit, chill, reflect, make decisions, come up with plans, and so on.

I’d initially expected this to be 5-10 minutes, and sometimes it is, but it evolved into anything up to 45 minutes on some days (I’m fortunate in having very civilized working hours). It not only felt like a great way to start the day, but I was coming up with a lot of great ideas for dealing with the stress I was facing.

One thing I quickly found, though: there was a conflict between wanting the time to be screen-free, and wanting to make sure I captured all my ideas, and followed-through on my decisions. I ended up with a compromise …

I always start screen-free. But if I find myself coming up with lots of things I want to ensure I put into practice, then I make some notes. The key thing, I decided, was not actually the lack of screen-time, but rather a consistent time to myself, for myself.

At first, that took the form of bullet-point reminders – but within this same period, I was introduced to journaling. Previously I’d of course been aware that some people do it, but it wasn’t something I knew much about. I tried it, and came to see that it was a natural evolution of my silent reflection time.

I sometimes half-joke that I write my opinion pieces in order to find out what I think about something, but sometimes that pretty much is the case. I have an initial view of something, but as I give it more thought, I can find it’s more nuanced than I’d originally considered. Occasionally, I completely change my mind in the course of thinking it through.

I’ve found that journaling has been very much like that. In particular, there were some issues I’d initially seen as very difficult to solve – but in the process of thinking and writing about them, sometimes found some extremely simple and effective strategies.

I haven’t personally used anything more sophisticated than a Pages document, but I can potentially see value in close integration with the Health app. Imagine logging your stress-reduction ideas, and the Health app then letting you know whether they worked!

I’ll be very interested to see what the Apple journaling app has to offer – how about you? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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