Recently I've taken to keeping a journal. I find it a good way to sort out my thoughts and bring some rough ideas into focus, especially in those areas that make life difficult. Journaling is recommended by Donald Whitney in his Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. Whitney points out that George Whitefield had a list of criteria that he referred to each night for an evaluation of his experiences and actions each day (page 204). So long as we don't get morbidly introspective, using Whitefield's list could be invaluable. His list is as follows:
1. Been fervent in prayer?
2. Used stated hours of prayer?
3. Used ejaculatory prayer each hour?
4. After or before every deliberate conversation or action, considered how it might tend to God's glory?
5. After any pleasure, immediately given thanks?
6. Planned business for the day?
7. Been simple and recollected in everything?
8. Been zealous in undertaking and active in doing what I could?
9. Been meek, cheerful, affable in everything I said or did?
10. Been proud, vain, unchaste, or enviable of others?
11. Recollected in eating and drinking? Thankful? Temperate in sleep?
12. Taken time for giving thanks according to (William) Law's rules?
13. Been diligent in studies?
14. Thought or spoken unkindly of anyone?
15. Confessed all sins?
Certainly good things to consider each day as we end this year and start another in God's good and wise Providence.