A few years ago, I took on the challenge of writing in a journal every day. Every night for dozens of days, I shared my thoughts, feelings, concerns, and more in a little notebook. What started out as a small part of my day turned into something so much more. I started looking forward to those 10-15 minutes that I took every night where I became most vulnerable with myself.
What’s so great about journaling is that there are so many ways to do it. You can keep an exercise journal, one with goals, another with your daily living summaries, or one where you just rant. Journaling gives you so much freedom. When, where and how often you want to write is also up to you.
Reflecting on my day every night has transformed my perspective and approach to life, and you can experience that too. For the rest of this year, or longer, I challenge you to embark on the journey of journaling. Writing in your journal doesn’t have to be an important part of your day, it can be as important as you want. You may be thinking, “Why should I do this? Here’s why.
Self-reflection and improvement
When you sit down and think about your day and your life, you really have time to reflect. You think, “What could I have done better today? You can look at your life in its purest version. Being honest with yourself and working through the issues in your life gives you the opportunity to make changes. When you write, try not to hide anything; it’s your own journal, so don’t filter it. If you had an awkward meeting with a teacher, write about it, then think about what you could have done differently. If you want to go even further, at the end of your journal entry, write a goal for the next day.
The writing is soothing
Imagine this: after a long, tiring and stressful day, you can sit down with your diary and a glass of hot tea and just write. Write about anything: you can rant, explain what happened in your day, write down your goals or whatever you might want. Writing has been proven to de-stress. When you have the creativity and flexibility that comes with writing, it’s very calming to know that nothing is trying to hold you back or control you.
Keep memories alive
One of the main reasons I even started writing down my thoughts and events of my day was because I like looking at things I created when I was younger. Twenty years from now, wouldn’t it be nice to read a journal of all your old thoughts and feelings. Sometimes you’ll think your entries are lovely, other times sad, but whatever feeling is invoked inside of you, these entries in your journal will keep you reminiscing. If you ever just want a good laugh or are curious about your younger self, you’ll have a journal full of everything about you to read.
Track growth and progress
Journaling for self-improvement is very common, and with a journal you can also track your personal growth and progress. Let’s say you want to exercise more every day and you write a short essay about what you did that day. I guarantee that if you stick with this, your first day of exercise journaling will be very different from your last. Keeping a journal of your growth will inspire motivation and prove to you that your hard work is paying off. Tracking your growth in writing will hold you accountable and ensure you don’t ever give up.
Improve your understanding
Want or need clarity in your life? Pick up this notebook! When you write down everything that happened in your day or all of your thoughts, you are bound to make some accomplishments. Take time in your writing to analyze your decisions and reflect on their impact on you. Ask yourself if your choices have been beneficial or harmful. You may be able to discover some aspects of yourself that you were not aware of before. When you best understand your needs and actions, you can continue to develop as a person in the best possible way.
Journaling can be fun, and there’s no reason it shouldn’t! When you write about all the fun and hilarious events that happened during your day, there will be a smile on your face. Write about anything that makes you happy or excited, anything that gives you joy. What makes journaling so special for some is the creativity that comes with it. If you want, start doodling in your notebooks. Add color and graphics. Even take the time to work on your calligraphy. Journaling is what you make of it, and you can have fun with it.
The beginning is easy, the only challenge is to develop consistency. If you want to keep a diary every day, set a reminder on your phone. Personally, I love writing about my day every night, but this might not be for you. Some write prompts are:
What do you like about yourself?
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
A letter to your younger self
Things you want to improve/goals
Who is your role model and why?
A review of a TV show or book you recently read
So, have I convinced you? Go grab that pen and a notebook and get started! Maybe after a few months your diary will be full and you’ll be telling all your friends to try it. When it comes to logging, everything is under your control, so take advantage of it.