The difference between keeping a diary, journaling, and reflecting.

The difference between keeping a diary, journaling, and reflecting.


I was recently invited onto the Eudaemonia podcast to talk to host Kim Forrester about the importance of a reflection practice, and how taking the time to both write and look back has helped me throughout my life, especially this past year.

Kim is brilliant and a joy to chat with. Our conversation was also timely, since December at Holstee is all about Reflection.

Early in the conversation, we discussed the subtle but important difference between keeping a diary, journaling, and a reflection practice.

For the longest time I used the words interchangeably. But as we began to build Reflection.app, I became more aware of their distinctions. Here is a quick breakdown:

Keeping a Diary: Recording specific events and experiences as a record of your life.

Journaling: Recording specific events and experiences along with your thoughts, feelings, and emotions.

Reflection: Taking the time to look back on past events and experiences along with the thoughts, emotions and feelings you had at the time, so that you can learn and grow from them.

As I see it, these three live on a spectrum, each building off of the other.

And in my experience, the more thorough my journaling is, the more meaningful my moments of reflection are.

If you are passionate about reflection, or looking to make time and space in your life for more meaningful reflection, consider listening to the full podcast conversation. In it we also discussed: 

– How to start a journaling and reflection practice, and where to begin

– Useful frameworks for expanding your practice

– How to work through ‘Lowlights’ and put an end to rumination

– And what my own practice looks like

Listen to the episode on iTunes, Google Podcast, Spotify, Overcast, or wherever you prefer to listen to podcasts

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the conversation!

Mike Radparvar
Co-Founder, Holstee

P.S. The distinction between keeping a diary, journaling and reflection, and the power of one building upon the others, were big motivations when we set out to build Reflection.app. While there are many ways to keep a diary or journal, this is the only platform that includes  a guided approach for looking at past entries monthly and annually.  Download our free app today and see for yourself!

P.P.S. Prefer paper over a digital? Our 2020 Annual Reflection Journals are hot off the press!



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