E020: Writing Your OWN HIstory

This week on Across The Peak Rich and I tell you how to improve your health, lower your stress, and create your own historical record through the power of journaling! We talk about our show music, our new Instagram page, and introduce a new segment. We also divert into several long sidetracks about linguistic fossils and what the definition of “is” is. It’s a good show, folks!

Intro Stuff

A big “thank you” to the guy that made our awesome intro music, John Melley. Find his work and contact him here: http://www.johnmelley.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/acrossthepeak/

Rich’s Drink: Five Farms Irish Cream

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Justin’s Drink: Harpoon Brewing’s Flannel Friday

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What Did You Do This Week?

Rich: Awesome night at the dojo, rotated tires, and hit the gym!

Justin: Bought two fire extinguishers (kitchen fire extinguisher, regular fire extinguisher) and did one sitting for a very large tattoo

You: What did you do?

Why You Should Journal

The word “journal” comes from the French “jurnal” which simply means, “a day, a time; a day’s work or day’s travel.” Rich and I then go into a huge digression about language and “linguistic fossils.”

Physical Health Benefits: A journal can help you:

  • Track health issues, mood, periods, diet, weight etc.

  • Help keep you accountable to workout plans, etc.

  • Some research indicated journaling can improve your immune system

Emotional and Mental Health Benefits: A journal can help you:

  • Cope with stressful events

  • Understand others' point of view

  • Reassure and reaffirm yourself

  • Gain clarity on your own perspective on things.

Practical Reasons

  • Protect yourself, i.e.:

    • I had a meeting with so and so on this date, or

    • I turned the key in on this date, witnessed by this person

Be warned: if you use your journal as evidence, you may have to turn the whole thing over. so beware. If you have an attorney you may gain some legal protection by putting your attorney’s name inside journal. This may convey attorney-client privilege.. Consult your attorney.

  • Remember things and create a historical record

    • Day-to-day: When we started a certain beer, when we ordered this item

    • Longer term: where we ate on a certain trip

    • Rich’s combat journal

Create a Family heirloom

  • Your journal will let you see your own personal growth and maturity

  • it will give your descendants insight into who you were

Book Recommendation: Slaves in the Family by Edward Ball

Book Recommendation: Company Aytch: A Classic Memoir of the Civil War by Samuel R. Watkins

Journaling: Principles

Privacy: Privacy is important. If you don’t have a reasonable expectation of privacy over your journal, you may hold back because you are worried about it being seen by others.

Consistency & Discipline: You have to have a consistent routine. We recommend choosing a time of day to journal (i.e. morning or night) and sticking to it.

Honesty: Never lie. Especially to yourself.

Journaling Form Factors

Digital (Justin) via an application called Standard Notes


  • Very easy to make private with encryption, strong passphrases, and two-factor authentication

  • Sharing with another person is very easy

  • Very portable, can be installed on any device

  • Very quickly and easily updated

  • Backups are quickly created, downloaded, and saved


  • could be hacked and spilled (minimal risk)

  • Service could go down

  • Less trustworthy as a form of evidence because a digital record could be modified at any time with no audit trail

The  Standard Notes  application on a desktop.

The Standard Notes application on a desktop.

Paper (Rich)


  • Sensory input: the weight of the book, the smell and feel of the paper, the sound of the pen moving across it

  • Highly portable and accessible; you can throw it in your bag and go

  • Paper keeps you from mixing your work life (laptop) and personal live (paper)

  • Journaling on paper allows you to affix photographs, receipts, and other information to your journal.


  • Could be lost

  • Could be read by someone else

  • Could be damaged or destroyed in a fire, flood, etc.

  • For Justin, thoughts are coming faster than I can write them

A collection of Rich’s journals.

A collection of Rich’s journals.

Journaling Styles

Bullet Journaling (Justin). In this style of journaling you simply create a bullet entry for the significant events of the day.

  • Very quickly and easily updated; no big time commitment.

  • Very easy to stick to

  • Does not create a detailed historical record, but does help you remember significant events

A sample of Justin’s journal.

A sample of Justin’s journal.

Long Form/Narrative Journaling (Rich)

  • Requires more time and discipline. The empty page can be daunting at the end of a long day.

  • Provides less ambiguity to the reader.

  • Allows you to explore topics more fully.

  • Allows you to work on your penmanship. Rich likes a Lamy Medium Nib Fountain Pen.

Other Journaling Styles. You don’t have to use our styles. Your journal can look how you want it to look and cover whatever you want it to cover.

  • Diet/food journals

  • Travelogues

  • Workout logs

  • Awesomeness/self-affirmation journals

  • Professional journals

A sample entry from Rich’s journal.

A sample entry from Rich’s journal.

Miscellaneous Journal Thoughts

  • Use a high-quality journal (if using paper). Buying an expensive journal may motivate you to write in it.

  • Use a journal that YOU like.

  • Choose a style of journal that you can purchase over and over again.

  • If you’re struggling with getting started journaling, check out A Father’s Legacy: Your Life Story In Your Own Words

  • Make a 14 to 30-day plan and get started!

Book of the Week

The War of Art: Break Through Your Inner Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Stephen Pressfield

Affiliate Disclosure: Across The Peak uses Amazon Associates to earn a small commission when you click Amazon links on our site. We are also affiliates with Private Internet Access, and receive a small commission when you subscribe. This helps to support the blog and the show.

Justin Carroll