Documenting Your History Passively Through Writing

By Andrew Natvig

Although hard to pinpoint the exact percentage, it is rumored to be that we will remember less than .001% of our lives. To put that percentage into perspective, the average life expectancy in the United States is 77.28 years. That makes .001% about 28 days. We will remember experiences, trials, parties, and memories equating to a total of 28 days or 672 hours.
That is an awful lot of forgotten history.


Woman writing her history down in a journal.

I recently finished reading Atomic Habits by James Clear. The book emphasizes the power of making incremental improvements and offers practical strategies to help readers transform their habits and ultimately lead a more productive and fulfilling life. 

I decided to put my newfound education to work. Since the beginning of July, I have been challenging myself to journal daily. 

Now I have tried to do this numerous times in the past, and eventually end up falling out of the habit. There were days when I would write 5 pages in a single sitting then I would go a full week without writing again. I realized the key for me to consistently write and fulfill this habit is to write only about a page each day. 

It may sound silly, and you may ask; ‘what are you even writing about?’ The answer is simple, my everyday life. One day I may not remember what happened that random Tuesday that brought me so much joy. What a gift it will be to look back in my 70s or even with the turn of each year and read how I felt as I built a business, traveled and lived. The struggles and successes that came through making incremental progress each day. It will be like a personal memoir, written over time and the beauty of writing is that there are no boundaries. 

I’ve chosen to focus on keeping a daily log. At night, usually a half hour before bed, I’ll sit down and reflect on the happenings of that day (work, relationships, communication). Any sort of happening that sticks out. It’s been very therapeutic for me and a great way to conclude each day. 

Now, I’m certainly not going to write down and maintain every detail that happens in the day, but similar to what I mentioned earlier, imagine a box filled with these logs that I can one day look back on. These can be used to review, plan and build upon for years to come. 

Passively documenting our lives will only benefit us as we grow older. It offers insight into our personal growth and the way we evolve as people. Reflection not only benefits us personally, but can also provide future generations with an intimate understanding of our unique lives and transformations. 

It can be hard to know where to start, so start small. 

I challenge you, the reader, to write three sentences in a journal about your daily happenings for 5 days straight and see how you feel.