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Journal techniques for health and happiness: Evening evaluation

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  Let a bad day set with the sunset and start the new day fresh.

Some days seem to be perfect, other days you wish you could start over and do it all differently.  Here's a journaling technique that gives you the chance to change the way the day went.  You've heard of rewriting history?  Well, this is called, "evening evaluation" and it is a healthy way of rewriting history. 

So, what is evening evaluation?  Evening evaluation is setting aside a few minutes each evening to look back over the day and evaluate how you lived your day.  Use your journal to write about the good and to rewrite the things you weren't pleased with recreating the way you wish circumstances had gone.  This is not a technique for escaping reality and pretending things were different than they were, but is rather a technique for assessing the way you handled situations or setbacks and, if you were not pleased with your reactions or responses, taking the time to stop and ponder on more constructive ways of handling things. Once you have picked one or two things you wish you had done differently then you can "see" yourself acting or reacting in positive ways.  You can visualize the way you wish you had been and then, using the journal as a tool, you can also relive those events through dialogue techniques or through writing as an observer the way you wish you had responded during the day.

Make a habit of taking those few minutes at the end of the day and ask yourself a few questions. Then change the way you handled things to a positive, productive way.  After you have evaluated your day, changed the way you see yourself responding in situations and written from the new perspective then set goals for the next day to respond or react the way you did in your journal

Ask yourself these questions: 

  • In my interactions with family or friends was I patient and understanding?
  • At my job did I put forth an honest day's work?
  • Was I easily offended by someone?
  • How do I honestly feel about the way my day went?

Write the questions down in your journal and answer them.  After you have answered the questions pick one or two things to change and handle in a better, more productive way.  Label the writing you do as "New Day" or something that will help to set it apart as a tool to help you progress.  If you reacted to others in anger or impatience rewrite the dialogue and respond to them in a kind and loving way.  If you were offended by someone, write about the experience only write from their point of view trying to understand the situation now that you are more removed from it.  If you didn't work as hard as you could have write, in present tense, the way your work day could have been. 

After a few weeks of doing this you will find more and more days turning out just the way you planned them and you will find yourself pleased, as you evaluate the day, that your responses and reactions during the day are becoming the kind you can record with joy exactly as they happened.

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