Here’s one of my favorite topics! Journaling is a fantastic way to supercharge your self-development efforts while learning more about yourself.
Journaling can offer you a method for finding out what you REALLY think about something. It can also allow you to objectively challenge your thoughts and ideas.
Getting things out of your head and down on paper provides a totally different perspective.
Thinking tends to be very sequential; one thought leads to the next, which leads to the next. We get caught in a linear track and miss out on the bird’s-eye view of the whole thought process. With journaling you gain the ability to see things from a third-person view versus a first-person view.
Three Great Benefits of Journaling
- Solve complex challenges. When you write the issue at hand down on paper, the solution for a complex challenge often suddenly becomes obvious. The ability to re-examine the issue from a third-person perspective can make all the difference.
- Increase clarity. One of the best times to lean on your journal is when you’re filled with uncertainty about what action to take. Many things become clearer when you can get them down in writing.
- Validate your progress. Sometimes we feel like we’re spinning our wheels and not making genuine progress. When you’re feeling this way, go back and review your old journal entries. You’ll be amazed at how much progress you’ve made since then. And you’ll also probably realize that you’re taking huge strides right now, too!
How You Can Start Journaling
You might want to create your journal using one of the fabulous blank notebooks you can pick up in the bookstore. I love them and have a huge collection waiting for me to get to them! Moleskine offers great notebooks of different size and paper weight. The watercolor one allows for adding lots of wet paint or inks!
While this option certainly appeals to some, you might want to consider keeping an electronic journal.
- Electronic journals can be essentially free; you could start a blog on a free website or simply use your word program.
- The big advantage with electronic journals is the ability to search for things. Imagine going back through 10 years of written records, trying to find a specific entry.
- Additionally, if you type faster than you write, an electronic journal can be a boon when you’re trying to get complex thoughts out in a short period of time.
- Also, there are several software programs available specifically developed for journaling. If you can spare the $20-$30, they’re worth checking out, and provide a lot more flexibility than the traditional pen and paper approach. These apps let you upload your thoughts on the go!
Habit-forming: Make Journaling a Daily Activity
Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, talks about doing Morning Pages. You just get up and start writing whatever comes to your mind. For three pages! I know people who have been using this method for years and it really helps them get their head on straight in the morning.
Even if you think that you don’t have anything interesting to say each day, don’t stop. There will be diamonds in that mine (or mind! <wink>) And each much easier to create a new habit if the activity is performed on a daily basis. Even getting down a couple of sentences every night is a great idea.
This practice can even help make your life more exciting and fulfilling. Just knowing that you have to journal each morning or each night may compel you to make your life a little more adventurous, just so you have something interesting to write. Try it! During the day, you’ll notice that little thought in the back of your mind wondering what you can write!
Journaling is a personal and private activity that has little to no cost but provides numerous benefits. You’ll see your clarity increase and have a much better sense of just how much progress you really are making in your life.
Please share with us what fabulous journal you found! Mine is the Moleskine, which I add to my Oberon journal covers. LOVE them!