Why did Marcus Aurelius spend those precious hours in his tent, writing by the lamplight, even on the nights and mornings he strained under the burdens of his war-time duties? It wasn’t for our benefit. No, he never expected Meditations would see an audience. He was writing for himself, to himself, as a way to practice the principles of the philosophy we are still following today. He was journaling as a means of self-improvement as much as he was of self-expression.
As Tim Ferriss has said of his daily journaling habit, “I don’t journal to ‘be productive.’ I don’t do it to find great ideas, or to put down prose I can later publish. The pages aren’t intended for anyone but me…I’m trying to figure things out…I’m just caging my monkey mind on paper so I can get on with my fucking day.”
It’s been exactly one year since we released The Daily Stoic Journal–our attempt to create a modern, accessible (and beautiful) medium through which to practice Stoicism. Epictetus said that every day we should keep our philosophical aphorisms and exercises at hand, that we should “write them, read them aloud, talk to yourself and others about them.”
That was the idea behind The Daily Stoic Journal. One Stoic prompt for each day, to be journaled about–meditated on–in the morning and in the evening. It’s been wonderful to hear from the thousands upon thousands of people who have done precisely that for the last 365 days. And to hear everything they’ve gotten out of the process. Because a journal is a place to clarify your thoughts, find some peace and quiet, calm the negative energy swirling around in your head, and cope with stresses and struggles. It’s your loyal companion. It’s your sounding board. It’s your guide.
And now at the one year mark, it’s time to start the process over again. Or to start for the first time, if you’ve been keeping yourself on the sidelines.
To kick off the one year anniversary, we are giving away 50 free copies to anyone who enters this drawing. We’re also offering personalized and autographed copies of The Daily Stoic Journal, from BookPeople.com.
For the next 52 weeks, we hope you’ll follow along with the Stoic theme we’ve set up for study. We hope you’ll take the time each morning and evening to follow along with the prompt we’ve designed (which pairs with the entry in that day’s The Daily Stoic, but can also be done independently). And we hope this can become a lifelong habit for you, that you’ll continue to return to these themes over and over again and can look back at the progress you’ve made each year.
Whether you need help ridding yourself of bad habits like complaining, procrastination, or a hot temper, or you are looking to get stronger, wiser and braver, this journal is where you can do it. You’ll find your rhythm and what works best for you. But only if you start. Refine as you go. Just start.
Whether you purchase The Daily Stoic Journal or not, we encourage you to start journaling in one form or another. It will help you absorb and benefit from everything we do here at DailyStoic.com—from our daily email to the meditations in the book to the quotes we post on social media. Any method you prefer will do—it is the process and the practice that counts.
One cannot expect wisdom and self-mastery to simply arrive via epiphany. No, those states are acquired, little by little, practice by practice. The sooner you start, the better.
Now get journaling!