How to Start a Five-Year Journal

A five-year journal is a great way to record and remember important life events. Here's how to get started, either online or by hand..

Have you heard of a five-year journal?

The idea for it is simple. All you need is a notebook (or notebooks) with at least 365 pages--one page for each day of the year. To start, you write the current month and day (e.g. January 1) at the top of the page, and then divide the page into five equal sections.

Those five sections will hold your journal entries for this date in each of the next five years. For today, you would fill in a short entry in the first of the five sections. On this same day next year, you would fill in the second section. And so on, filling in the remaining sections in future years.

The magic comes when you get to the second year. For the whole first year it was just a regular journal, with one entry per page. As you return to the first page to add a new entry for year two, you also get to remember what was happening the year before. For every year that you keep up your journaling habit, you are presented with the memories from all of your previous years.

The Digital Five-Year Journal

While that works great for some people, if you are like me, you might prefer to write your journal on a phone or computer.

That's where One-Sentence Journal comes in. It's an online journal that you can use from any device. It allows you to make a short entry for each day, and add a picture if you like.

So far, so good. But here's the nice part: Like Facebook's "memories" feature, the site automatically resurfaces your entries from past years (as well as past months). That makes the One-Sentence Journal site work perfectly as an online five-year journal. If you can keep the habit going for a year, you will be shown each of your memories from the previous year as you write new entries. It will keep it up as long as you do, whether that's five years or beyond.

So whether you use a notebook or an app like One-Sentence Journal, a five-year journal is a great way to re-experience great memories as part of a daily journaling habit.

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