“If you have never experienced the practice of daily journaling, give it a try. I highly recommend it. When I say “journaling,” I am not referring to a diary in which to record the events of your life; I am talking about a place to record your feelings -a friend with whom to share your troubles, fears, hopes, and dreams.” ~ Jonathan Lockwood Huie
“Writing a journal? What for? It’s a sheer wastage of time.”- These used to be my thoughts whenever I heard of somebody writing a journal. Even all the arguments in favour of writing a journal all these years couldn’t convince me to start one.
But as they say, you can’t really start a habit unless you experience the benefits. When I joined the 29 gifts community, I started journaling my ‘daily giving.’ This online journal about daily giving was started primarily because it was kind of pre-requisite of the community. But somewhere along the way, it became an important piece in keeping me on the path.
Once I realized the benefits, I started keeping a journal to assist me in the pursuit of other goals as well. I started a gratitude journal where I record all the things I’m thankful for in a day. I keep a log of my daily food and exercise habits. There’s a daily journal where I write a little bit generally at the end of each day. I also keep a daily diary for work where I jot down all the to-do things, the important things I have done during the day and all the creative ideas before I forget them.
I have been keeping a journal since last 4-5 years as I have come to clearly recognize and appreciate its importance.
Benefits of Keeping a Journal
- Find inner peace & relieve stress
- Set, track and accomplish goals
- Develop a well-defined bucket list
- Plan how to overcome weaknesses
- Discover talents and learn how to improve them
- Better appreciate what you have gone through
- Develop gratitude for the smallest things
- Improve health
- Cultivate open-mindedness
- Become more organized
- Discover different ways to express yourself
- Capture ideas before they are gone
- Clear your mind
- Have a confidant when no one else will listen
- Have a guaranteed moment of reflection
- Increase your writing confidence
Although there are no set rules to journaling, here are a few things to keep in mind before starting out:
• Comfort level Use a journal you are most comfortable with. It might be a notebook, a website, a blog, your laptop or a phone app. Find a journal that suits your needs and lifestyle. I use a diary for work, an online journal for daily giving, a phone app for recording gratitude & exercise habits and another daily journal to record day-to-day happenings. You can use a single journal for varied purposes or use different ones as per your convenience.
• Commit to writing every day When you sit and write in your journal every day, it will eventually become a habit. And it’s likely that you will miss days. But that happens. Commit again to write the next day.
• Content Write for yourself, not for others. Put your thoughts, your dreams, your goals on paper without worrying about grammar and spellings. Write in your journal freely. Do not worry about how it looks. Write how you want, what you want, and where you want. Whatever you have to say in your journal is perfect, because that is what is important to you right now.
• Length of journal entry There are some days when you’ll be motivated to write much. Others days, only a little. Even if you write just the bullet points, it’s fine. Writing a word, sentences, paragraphs or pages, journaling whatever you have to say that day, is just the right amount to write.
• Recognize your need What is the purpose of writing the journal? What are you going to log into the journal- Daily food intake or workout, ideas, memories, thoughts, gratitude, dreams? Recognize your needs and remember to use your journal for your benefit & well being, whatever that means to you.
Explore yourself by starting journaling now!
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