How to Keep a Five-Year Journal
Write in a diary only a few minutes a day, and you can create a record of your life
Wouldn't it be great to remember all the important details of our lives? It can be hard to remember details after a year or two have gone by - when we had that huge snowstorm, what month it was when we went on that amazing vacation, or when the cousins last came to visit.Sometimes it's even hard to recall what we did last week.
Keeping a five-year journal is a simple solution. It's the ideal life record for people who don't have the time or motivation to write long entries in a diary, or don't want to go back and wade through volumes and volumes of journals to find out when something happened. Keeping a five-year diary is fun, and sometimes quite enlightening, as you see on the same page what you did last year or three years ago on this date.
All photos on this lens were taken by the author.
Why a five-year journal?
A simpler way to keep your memories
As much as I am a fan of journaling, I can't say I was ever very successful at it in the past. I am inspired by beautiful blank books. I buy them, but I don't want to start writing in them. Beginning a journal and then neglecting it would spoil it. I am reluctant to write in it because if I don't fill it up, the beautiful, pristine book would be wasted. You have to admit that six pages of writing in a 120-page book is not a success story.
Then one day, my brother commented on how often he has noticed that he does the same activity at almost the same time every year. I wondered how on earth would he know that. He told me he's been keeping five-year journals for a long time. He can see how the weather is behaving compared to other years, when they went on that family vacation and the last he time he organized a neighborhood barbecue.
Right away, I knew that this was a journal style that would work for me. I can always find time to write a paragraph a day. What's more, it would mainly be factual. No space to waste on emotional venting or soul-searching (so embarrassing to read six months later!) No, it's just a quick day by day record of my life.
Five-Year Diaries from Amazon
Be sure to read the reviews and check the size of the five-year journal before you buy it. Some are very small, and you may be disappointed with the amount of space available for each day. Others may have detailing that would not suit you. Everyone's preference is a little different so the ideal diary for one person will not be right for another.
"Eight lines to write in for each year with additional blank pages at the end of each month. The unique format of this journal allows you to start on any day in any year."
"This charming, pint-sized and extremely well-designed diary lets you keep track of your life with just a few lines every day for five years. Each page of the diary is devoted to one day of the year and subdivided into five sections-so that as time goes by, past entries can be read as new ones are written.
"This journal helps you to make a fascinating and revealing time capsule of the next five years of your life. Simply turn to today's date, reflect on the quote at the top of the page, and jot down just one sentence. This daily ritual is highly do-able and provides a striking sense of accomplishment, and as the years go by you can see how your entries evolve."
"For the busy mom-on-the-go, this memory keeper offers a quick and easy way to capture the everyday moments of motherhood. With enough space to record a single thought, a family quote, or a special event each day for five years, this beautiful keepsake makes sure those precious memories will last a lifetime."
"The gold gilding of this tiny book is classy, and the quotes are great flashbacks to any Jane Austin fan. There is space to write nuggets from your day."
The Search for the Perfect Diary
For the next four years, I kept an eye out for a five-year journal for myself. I looked in all the usual places, but had no luck. Finally in November 2010 I got serious and started scouring the internet. I found a few, but not what I wanted. It had to be big enough to write a decent paragraph on the same date for five years. I didn't want the pages to include someone else's thoughts, quotation choices, or even artwork. I wanted a book that was simple and classy, durable but not costing a fortune.
My search did not go well. At that time there didn't seem to be many options. The one I wanted to buy had gone out of print. So I began to look for printable journal templates, but I didn't have any luck with that either.
My Journal at Last
In the end, I created my own. I'm a graphic designer, so it was a logical solution. I designed a simple, clean, unembellished journal page with space for five years, each year having seven lines. I printed my file on good quality paper with a laser printer, then took it to my local copy shop to have it coil bound with a textured black cover.
FREE - you are welcome to download the PDF file for my printable five-year journal at:
On this webpage, you will find tips for creating your journal, and links to both the A4 and 8.5"x11" (letter) size files to print.
I am happy to report that this life journal is exactly what I was hoping for. What's more, I've been able to keep my commitment to keeping a record of my days and now am in my fourth year of my five-year diary. Success at last! It's been interesting, and at times helpful, to glance back and see what was going on at this time in previous years.
Using these files you can create your own Five Year Diary for the coming year. While you're making one for yourself, keep in mind that this could be a perfect gift for someone else too!