The Daily Stoic Journal: Initial Review

I received The Daily Stoic, 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living and The Daily Stoic Journal, 366 Days of Writing and Reflection on the Art of Living by: Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman as a Christmas present.

I’ve already decided that as a pair they’re the best gift I’ve received in the past few years.


The Daily Stoic (book) is what it sounds like. Every day has the main point of the day (e.g., “Be Ruthless to Things that Don’t Matter”), a quote from a Stoic philosopher, and then a few short paragraphs expanding on the idea. The purpose is to get you thinking about how you can apply these ideas to your own life, in a truly practical way.

For example you read this on day three…

Even harder is saying no to certain time-consuming emotions: anger, excitement, distraction, obsession, lust.

The Daily Stoic – January 3rd Be Ruthless to the Things that Don’t Matter

Just reading the passage is thought-provoking. The difficulty is thinking more deeply about it and actively applying into to your life. Which is where the journal comes in.

Every day the journal poses a question related to the passage you read in the book. For January 3rd it was “What can I say no to so I can say yes to what matters?”. Then you have space to write both a morning reflection and evening reflection on the question.

This means that you start your day thinking about how you can do better in this or that way. And end it reflecting on not only the question but how you acted that day specifically.

Now repeat every day all year or multiple years if you want. ( I’m already sold on buying another journal come Christmas time.)

How I have been using the journal:

I tackle the initial reading and morning reflection as soon as my coffee’s made and my desk cleared off. The evening reflection has greater variance but so far the later in the evening I do it, preferably right before I settle in, the more reflective and honest I am with myself.

A couple of things I’m doing differently: 

  1. I also have a separate journal that I write in every day that I’ve been using to expand on some of the prompts or reflect the next day on my application of the ideas in my day.
  2. It’s really easy to say “I should do this!”, do it for a few days and then move on to the next thing without any real stickiness of the idea. To combat that I’ve set aside time every Sunday to review what I’ve written in the past week and outline situations in the coming week where those principles should be applied. (As I move further into the journal I plan to review the previous week’s goals so I can keep those ideas fresh and connected.)

Greatest benefits:

  1. Increased and more consistent productivity. Particularly in the slump after New Years T.D.S.J. jump started my day and got me thinking about the type of person I want to be. Plus, it’s hard to procrastinate when you start the day thinking about how much you can get done if you own your time.
  2. Increased self-awareness. At least for me, structured short form reflection gives me an environment that promotes radical self-honesty. Not just while writing but throughout the day I’m much more mindful how my mood, reactions and actions.

Overall, I’m excited to see how 2019 turns out and I’m sure I’ll blog more about how the book and journal play into that.

Do you have any books, journals, or guided meditations that you’re using this year?