5 Best Journal and Diary Apps for 2018 to Track Mood, Progress, and Resolutions
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Most productivity experts agree that if there is one habit you should take up, it’s journaling. Steadily tracking your life has multiple benefits, such as meeting goals and new year resolutions, as well as being more aware of what makes you happy and grateful. If you haven’t started yet, these are five of the best journal and diary apps to ease you into the practice.

These apps introduce journaling in different ways, from gentle reminders to harsh goals that take your money away if you miss your journaling deadline. By some way or other, you will learn the art of journaling here. And remember, we have an entire beginner’s guide to digital journaling The Beginner's Guide to Digital Journaling  The Beginner's Guide to Digital Journaling  Maintaining a private journal is a great way to build your writing skills, spill out your thoughts, desires, worries, and reflections on paper. The very act of writing itself can often help you think through... Read More , which tells you how to go about it.

1. Life Calendar (Android, iOS): Color-Coded Weekly Journaling for Beginners

Daily journaling is a difficult habit to form, especially if you have other resolutions to keep. Life Calendar takes a weekly approach to journaling, and adds a few color-coded tricks to make a dotted visual dashboard of your life.

Life Calendar - Best Journal and Diary Apps

At the end of each week, give it a color based on how the week went. You might want to have green for happy, red for angry, blue for sad, and so on. The app’s built-in reminder will also ask you to write a note about the week that went by. And your birthday week has a different diamond-shaped icon to mark it separately.

As you start adding each week’s big events and mood, you’ll start seeing a snapshot of your life. Suddenly, you might find that you are happier in the summer and winter gets you in the doldrums Have A Happy Year -- How To Combat Seasonal Affective Disorder Have A Happy Year -- How To Combat Seasonal Affective Disorder "Happy New Year" wishes can ring false to those who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, or "Winter Blues". This round-up of tools could help to improve the quality of your life. Read More . And you can take action accordingly.

Download: Life Calendar for Android (Free) | iOS (Free)

2. Journal Jerk (Email, Web): Takes Away Your Money If You Don’t Journal

Sometimes, you need a kick up the rear to get things done. Journal Jerk is a subscription-based service that gives you a money-based motivation to never miss journaling.

Journal Jerk - Best Journal and Diary Apps

Here’s how it works. You sign up for a $5 per week subscription. Journal Jerk will send you a daily email. Reply to that email with a note to count it as a successful journal entry. Every week that you meet your journaling deadlines (based on how frequently you want to journal), the price drops by 50 percent. So keep at it and it will go down to a paltry $0.09 per week. Miss a deadline and you’re back to $5 per week, so there’s that added motivation to keep going.

It’s a variation of Jerry Seinfeld’s “Don’t Break The Chain” productivity method to form a good habit Stick to Your New Year's Resolutions with 5 Smart (and Cruel) Tools Stick to Your New Year's Resolutions with 5 Smart (and Cruel) Tools Kept new year's resolutions in the past and found them difficult to stick to? Try these smart apps to finally keep your resolutions for a better you. Read More . You can also export your journal at any time, and stop the subscription if you want to.

3. Journaly (Android, iOS, macOS): Making Journaling Easy by Getting Data Automatically

Journaly is among the best full-fledged journaling apps Keep a Digital Diary with Day One for Mac OS X and iOS Keep a Digital Diary with Day One for Mac OS X and iOS Everyone has a story to tell. It's not always a story in need of an audience, sometimes a story just needs to be told. You may want to continue the journal you started when you... Read More that we’ve seen. It can give heavyweights like Day One a run for their money, without ever costing you a penny.

It supports all sorts of journal entries, such as photos from your phone camera, emojis, GPS locations, and so on. Of course, you can add notes to everything to maintain a proper journal. Importantly, Journaly is a smart app that fetches a lot of data about your life automatically. It tracks and updates your time, date, place, activity, sleep, and weather, to eventually give you a comprehensive data plot of your life.

If you’re new to journaling, such automatic updates make a big difference in forming the habit. Even on days you missed actually writing anything, Journaly has tracked some data that you forgot about. At times, that’s all you need to keep going.

Download: Journaly for Android (Free) | iOS (Free) | macOS (Free)

4. Gratefulness (Web, Email, Phone): Daily Gratefulness Journal

Maintaining a gratitude journal 5 Awesome iOS Apps for Starting & Keeping a Gratitude Journal 5 Awesome iOS Apps for Starting & Keeping a Gratitude Journal Keeping a gratitude journal can result in higher levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, optimism, and energy – and we can all be grateful for that. Read More is one of the best mental health practices you can adopt. It builds a greater appreciation for the world around you and squashes the human mind’s inclination towards negativity. To get started, try out Gratefulness.

Gratefulness Settings - Best Journal and Diary Apps

The app works via either SMS (U.S.-only) or email. Sign up and you will get a daily reminder in the morning or evening (or at both times), asking what are you grateful for today. Reply to it and forget about it. Gratefulness tracks all your replies to prepare your journal, which you can check out any time on the site and download or export too.

The simplicity of Gratefulness is what makes it stand out. There isn’t anything more to do than add 5-10 words a day about something you are grateful for, in an easy format by replying to a message. You might not even open the app for months, but a simple reply to a text message gets the job done. The trick to a journaling habit is all about making it easy to write every day, and that’s what Gratefulness excels at.

5. Dream Journal Ultimate (Android, iOS): Track Your Dreams (and Read Others’ Nightmares)

What did you dream about yesterday? Most of us forget what we dreamed about in a short while after waking up. But what if you could remember all your dreams? Dream Journal Ultimate asks you to track your dreams for a whole new perspective on life.

Dream Journal Ultimate Settings - Best Journal and Diary Apps

The app will automatically remind you to write your dreams every morning, so you don’t forget what you still remember. The more you do it, the stranger the picture gets. A few weeks down the line, you’ll be surprised by what goes on in your mind, and you’ll actually get better at remembering your dreams too.

Dream Journal Ultimate also has a built-in social network so you can share your dreams on the public “Dream Wall” and read what others are dreaming about. It can even be fun to have strangers jump in and interpret your dreams, giving you insights you never thought about.

Download: Dream Journal Ultimate for Android (Free) | iOS (Free)

Should Journals Be Digital or Paper?

For ages, people maintained journals in the form of books, but there is a shift towards journal apps now because of how we always carry our smartphones everywhere. But there is a movement that says journals should be about paper because part of its therapeutic effect lies in writing by pen on paper. The templates are the same How to Jumpstart a Journaling Habit with 7 Simple Templates How to Jumpstart a Journaling Habit with 7 Simple Templates If you have a journaling template, you have a big advantage: you don't have to figure out what to write! Templates are time-savers and they also reduce the friction of starting. Read More , only the method changes.

Do you think journals should be digital or paper? Or does it not matter as long as you are regularly journaling?

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  1. Jamie
    January 7, 2018 at 7:26 pm

    Written Down is a brand new journaling app for iOS.
    https://tinkerbuilt.com/written-down/

  2. Jennifer Faith
    January 3, 2018 at 3:31 pm

    I primarily use paper for all my journaling but digital is so easy and convenient. My big worry with digital is the reality that apps come and go so quickly. If an app stops being supported, updated or even working on say a newer device, there goes all your entries. True, things happen and paper journals can also be lost forever, but digital is still less reliable IMO, despite its ease and convenience.

    • Teresa
      January 3, 2018 at 4:27 pm

      I have been told that, a person should always keep a hard copy of things. Therefore, I like to write with pen and paper.

    • Kate Abrosimova
      May 25, 2018 at 6:48 am

      If an app has an iCloud backup (for iOS), the journal entries won't get lost. Also, you can export your entries to pdf, or whatever format you like and store them in your folder. Here's a journaling app I really love: https://morningpages.app/ The MorningPages app is very convenient and it's got stats with my mood and emotions. Highly recommended.

      • Jennifer Faith
        May 28, 2018 at 10:47 am

        Oh, it looks awesome! Thank you so much. Ugh! If only it came in Android!