Anatomy of a Daily Journal Template

To get some better ideas of what you might want to think about when designing your own daily journaling template, I'll take you through my own personal journal template

Goals & Reminders

At the top of my journal I keep a list of my goals (Both for the week and more long term). I want to make sure I am reading my goals each day. Setting goals does not work well if you don't review them each day.

I am grateful for

I list 3 things that I am grateful for. There have been countless studies of the power of gratitude. It helps me appreciate life, remind myself how lucky I am, keeps me happy. Even if I list the same thing each day that is fine, as long as I am thinking about it. I try to push myself to be specific. Instead of writing “I am grateful for mom”, write “I am grateful for mom sending me that wishful text message yesterday”.

I am excited about

Steve Jobs once famously said “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something." This is a slight take on what Steve is saying. I want to make sure that I am excited about something. I should always have something to look forward to or be building up to something exciting. If I find it hard to list something here then it is a major red flag.

What is the most important question?

This is a meta question. To think about thinking. Am I really asking the right questions? What is truly important here. Sometimes I use this to generate and tweak my current journal questions.

Today would be great if

I learned this from Tim Ferris. He says to ask “If this were the only thing I accomplished today, would I be satisfied with my day”. This is a way of prioritizing and making sure you will be working on the most important thing.

What habit am I working on?

I learned this from Tim Ferris. He says to ask “If this were the only thing I accomplished today, would I be satisfied with my day”. This is a way of prioritizing and making sure you will be working on the most important thing.

Habit Checkboxes

I use this for habit building. I keep 5 or 6 things that I want to make sure I tick off every day. This builds ownership because I can look back and see if I actually did the thing. After I have the habit solidified I can remove it from the list. It's too hard to work on too many things at once so limit it to just a few things.

Todo Checklist

I use it as a standard todo list to well, keep track of todos!

Name 3 things amazing things that happened today

It’s important to look back and reflect. Make sure to celebrate small wins and nice things that happen. We often overlook small things that happen during the day. Maybe a small act of kindness or a smile. The act of doing this reflection trains us to notice more of these moments. The more we look the more we find. It also builds our appreciation for small wins each day. Sometimes we get tunnel vision, focusing only on the end result, completely missing the moments in between. Reflecting on amazing things promotes a sense of accomplishment and joy.

How could I have made it better?

Focus on continual self improvement. I need to ask the question so I'm thinking about improvement and how to make things better regardless of how big or small.

Good Job on

It's nice to give myself a pat on the back and recognize my growth and impact on the world

Rate today from (0-10 stars)

So that I can go back to my 9 and 10 star days and look to see what I did. Then I can do those things more often and have more 9+ star days! Personally, I've noticed that my stars have been highest on days when I have been very productive, done some sort of exercise, and had a great conversation with loved ones.

Daily summary

I keep a section at the end where I write a few things that happened during the day. It helps me look back and remember what I did that day.


In between the questions I will add a few meaningful reminders or motivational quotes. I'll change these every so often.

Your Turn

So that's my daily journal template. I have other templates that I use once a week and once a month. Hope you found some good takeaways to use in your own journal. Keep in mind that this journal is just a snapshot in time and it changes as I go. I'll probably keep the core prompts such as gratitude and review forever but the other prompts depend on my current focus.

If you'd like to use this journal template for your own, open it with the CustomJournal app using this link