The Clear Habit Journal Review + Tips on How to Get the Most out of This Productivity Tool
“You do not rise to the level of your goals – you fall to the level of your systems.” – James Clear, author of Atomic Habits and creator of the Clear Habit Journal.
[Heads up: This article includes affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, I will make a small commission which helps me run this website. It doesn't cost you a penny, and my special link to the Clear Habits Journal will actually save you $10 on your purchase of over $25 and will save me $10 on my next purchase. That's a win-win! And thanks for your support!]
I received the Clear Habit Journal on January 9, 2019 and this is my honest user review after 13 days of use.
The Clear Habit Journal Review Summary
The Clear Habit Journal offers optimal balance – providing thoughtful journal and habit tracking prompts mixed with blank page flexibility allowing you to implement whatever organizational strategy you desire (eg. the Bullet Journal Method, GTD, or anything in between).
The best things:
- Built-in Habit Tracker and One Line Daily Journal.
- Some useful instructions and toolkits, but not too much that it's limiting.
- Good attention to details – page numbers, index, dot grid with 1/2 and 1/3 page markers, and a folder in the back to hold loose papers (or a ruler, as I do).
- Right price – $24 for a premium journal is a great deal. Using my special link will get you an additional $10 off for orders of $25 or more – so best to get 2 journals or get the combo deal of the journal + Clear's Atomic Habits bestselling book.
- It's a small/medium sized journal book 5.4″ x 7.7″. For some, this will be a deal-breaker cause you might want a large format journal. For me, however, it's my ideal size for travel and I like to “fill” up the entire page with writing (see photos below). It's a pretty standard notebook size and should work for most people.
- The dot grid and the 1/2 and 1/3 page markers are very faint. Sometimes it's hard to ensure you're writing in a straight line. But the cool benefit is the writing really stands out and when you're reading it, it almost looks like you've written very neatly on a blank sheet! It also helps me to slow down and be mindful of my writing.
- The canvas cover feels nice but does pick up a bit of lint from my backpack. Really, it's no big deal. A quick hand wipe and it's all clean and pretty again.
- I do wish it had a pen holder on the spine. The only notebook I used that had that was the Blackwing journal.
Recommendation: I highly recommend the Clear Habit Journal. In fact, I'd go so far as to say it is the most attractive and effective journal I've ever used. It's as if its creator, James Clear, asked me exactly what I wanted in a journal, and then made it.
However, the true test of any journal is if you use it to the very end, your life becomes more organized, and you sustain new healthy habits. I'll be sure to update you if/when that day comes!
Order the Clear Habit Journal through my link and save $10 on your order of over $25.
Or read on to learn more…
What is the Clear Habit Journal?
Blogger and habit expert, James Clear, teamed up with Baron Fig to create a journal that's designed to help folks implement the habit science ideas behind Clear's Best Selling self-help book, Atomic Habits. (Note: That's a link to Amazon so you can see the customer reviews, but I highly recommend you purchase the book as a package deal with the Clear Habit Journal through Baron Fig – using this link that saves you $10 on your order.)
I pre-purchased the journal as a packaged deal when I bought the book.
The book was great. Packed full of useful information on how to start and stick with good habits, and how to let go of bad habits. Check out the reviews on Amazon. James is a great researcher, storyteller, and teacher. All of his information is backed by the latest in behavioural science and he gives a tonne of tips on how to implement the strategies.
One of those key strategies is to track your habits (see Chapter 16), and he created the Clear Habit Journal to help folks do just that…and so much more.
Atomic Habits is a very good book. The Clear Habit Journal, surprisingly, is even better.
We'll get into how I use the features and specs in this journal notebook, but here's a list of what it's got:
- 5.3″ x 7.7″ 224 pages (167 blank dot-grid pages)
- Clothbound hardcover
- Elastic closure band
- 2x Cloth bookmarks
- Acid-free fine grain 90gsm paper
- Opens flat
- Page numbers
- Quick Start Guide (2 pages)
- Index (ala Bullet Journal)
- One Line Per Day Journal – 12 pages, 1 per month
- Split Grid (for 1/2 and 1/3 page division)
- Habit Tracker – 12 perforated pages for easy removal, 1 per month
- Toolkit – Ideals on how to use the notebook including, Habit Tracker Toolkit, Decision Making Toolkit, Productivity Toolkit, and Fitness Toolkit (16 pages of instructions and exclusive written content by James Clear)
- A folder in the back
My Love of Journals and Notebooks
I'm not surprised I purchased the Clear Habit Journal when I ordered the Atomic Habits book.
I love journals, notebooks and planners.
I've ordered dozens over the years.
I've always thought that even in a digital world, there's still an important place for pen and paper.
But while I've purchased journals, and tried to implement various systems (I'm looking at you GTD), nothing really stuck.
Some journals are packed with prompts, and questions and information. And I find them way too restrictive.
And some journals are just blank notebooks. Which are fine, but I'm left doing all the work….creating indexes, page numbering, figuring out page layouts (I'm looking at you Bullet Journal).
I know I need tools to help me grow.
I know I need to move and exercise more.
I know I need to drink more water.
I know I need to spend quality time with my kids.
I know I need to write things down. I need to track.
But I'm easily distracted. I lose focus. I procrastinate.
So yeah, I guess I'm still looking for help with all of that.
I want a journal that works for me.
4 Reasons Why the Clear Habit Journal Has Been Working For Me and Stands Apart
James knows a thing or two about the science of habits.
And the science says that if you want to introduce a new habit, you have to reduce the resistance to doing that new thing so much that it feels ridiculous NOT to do it.
The new habit needs to be super easy to start and keep up.
Want to start meditating? Sit and focus on your breathe for just 1 minute.
Want to start reading? 1 page a day will get you going.
Want to journal? Write 1 line per day.
The Clear Habit Journal has 12 pages (one for each month) dedicated to the One Line Per Day journal section.
While Clear has given you the layout, he's provided space for you to figure out exactly what you want to journal about.
His ideas are:
- What happened today? 1 line.
- What am I grateful for today? 1 line.
- What is my most important task for today? 1 line.
I decided to use a grateful prompt for my first month of my one line per day journal.
The science is also clear that gratitude helps fight our negative thinking default setting. We easily see what's wrong in our lives, but it takes a bit of effort to notice what is going right.
The one line per day journal is helping me practice gratitude.
#2 – The Habit Tracker
Habit trackers are nothing new.
For the most part, I've only ever tried habit tracking apps on my phone.
But I know (now) that anything that puts me back on a screen, generally makes me less productive.
Remember – I'm easily distracted. So on my way to enter an activity into the tracker, I get pulled into Facebook…then Instagram…then Twitter….then….
The Clear Habit Journal has a built-in habit tracker. 12 pages – 1 for every month.
Simply fill in the habits you want to track, circle the month that you're on and you're all set!
By tracking my habits, I'm giving myself a few things.
One, I have pre-determined the things I know that if I consistently do, my life will get better. I'll be more healthy, I'll have better relationships, I'll be happier.
Two, It reminds me to act. I look at that list every day in my daily review, which means I'm looking at the list and keeping these things front of mind.
Third, Checking off boxes at the end of the day gives me a dopamine rush, the feel-good chemical, and seeing my progress is super motivating.
The Bullet Journal Method (aka “BuJo”) is a popular way to get organized using paper and pen.
It has many smart ideas in it – a way to organize your to-do's for today and gives a place to store your future to-do's.
You also organize your thoughts into collections. Like Books to Read, Travel Packing List, etc.
One of the biggest hurdles to using and maintaining the BuJo system is the amount of prep work it requires.
Here's a list:
- Put page numbers on all the pages. Most journals have hundreds of pages but no page numbers! The Clear Habit Journal comes with page numbers.)
- Create an index. The Clear Habit Journal has it built right in.
- Separate pages into halves and thirds (requires line or dot counting and math. The Clear Habit Journal has smart page markers that show where 1/3, 1/2, and 2/3 is.
Now you can Bullet Journal to your heart's content.
From the BuJo method, I have created the monthly log collection and the future log collection.
Of course, journal size is a personal preference.
But I've always liked the “medium” size which the Clear Habit Journal happens to come in.
It's very portable.
And The limited space keeps my penmanship in top form. I'm forced to write carefully and legibly.
I also like how I can easily “fill up” the page. I like the look of a completed page without too much white space.
How does this notebook, journal, planner compare?
There are two different kinds of journals out there.
The first has just blank pages. No page numbers, no instructions, no index. Just use for whatever you want, however you want.
The second is full of instructions and prompts. Daily planners, gratitude questions, goal setting, project planners.
The first is fine but requires you to usually implement a system, like the Bullet Journal Method, that can take an hour or more to learn and set up (numbering all the pages in a blank book is not my idea of a good use of time).
The second is way too rigid. In an attempt to get you to clarify your goals and priorities, they force you into a “one size fits all” box. These journals have never worked for me, though their marketing sucks me in all the time.
Now there is this third option. The Clear Habit Journal has the right mix of instructions and helpful templates but then leaves you with 167 blank pages to do with as you please.
My Personal Tips to Get the Most Out Of the Clear Habit Journal
- Use a great pen you love. I love this one.
- Use a small ruler and keep it in the back pocket. Clean and crisp lines make it look so much better.
- Create collections and index them for quick reference. Blog post ideas, ski-packing list, books to read, yearly goals, etc.
- Bring your notebook everywhere you go.
- Learn and use some of the organizational tools from the Bullet Journal Method.
- At the end of the day, cross off your to-do's, mark your habits (truthfully) and make a quick plan for the next day so you're ready to go.
- Don't worry about perfection, just keep going!
- Write neatly and in a manner you enjoy. For me, that's ALL CAPS. It looks good and it slows me down, keeping me mindful with what I'm writing.
- Have fun while you get your life more organized. Sketch, write funny anecdotes, enjoy life!
- Lastly, close the book, get your work done, get outside, and spend time with loved ones. That's what it's all about!
Get your Clear Habit Journal now and save $10 on your order with a purchase of $25 or more!
Step 1: Click on this link to go to the Baron Fig website.
Step 2: Copy the coupon code
Step 3: Click on the “Go to the Store” button.
Step 4: Click on the “Best Sellers” link
Step 5: Find and click on the Clear Habits Journal
Step 6: Add product to your cart ($25 is the min order amount to claim the $10 discount)
Step 7: At checkout, make sure the coupon code is being applied.
Enjoy your new Clear Habit Journal when it arrives!