A couple of years ago, I took on the challenge of writing in a journal every day. Every night for tens of days, I’d share my thoughts, feelings, concerns, and more all in a tiny notebook. What started as a minor part of my day transformed into something so much more. I began to look forward to those 10-15 minutes I took every night, where I got to be most vulnerable with myself.
What’s so neat about journaling is there are so many ways you can do it. You can keep an exercise journal, one with goals, another with your day-to-day life summaries, or one where you just rant. Journaling gives you so much freedom. When, where, and how frequently you want to write are also all up to you.
Reflecting on my day every night 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 take on the journey of journaling. Writing in your journal doesn’t have to be a major part of your day, it can be as significant as you wish. You may be thinking, “Why should I do this?” Here’s why.
Self Reflection and Improvement
When you’re sitting and thinking about your day and life, you really get the time to reflect. You get to think, “What could I have done better today?” You get to look at your life in its most unfilited version. Being honest with yourself and addressing problems in your life allows for an opportunity to make changes. When writing, try not to block out anything; it’s your own journal, so don’t filter it. If you had an awkward encounter with a teacher, write about it, and then think about what you could have done differently. If you want to take this even further, at the end of your journal entry, write a goal for the next day.
Writing Is Calming
Imagine this: After a long, tiring, stressful day, you get to sit down with your journal and a warm glass of tea and just write. Write about whatever: you can rant, explain what happened in your day, write your goals, or whatever else you might want. Writing has been proven to be a destresser. When you have the creativity and flexibility that comes with writing, it’s very calming to know nothing is trying to restrain or control you.
Keeping Memories Alive
One of the main reasons I even started writing down my thoughts and the events of my days was because I love looking at things I created when I was younger. 20 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 adorable, other times sad, but regardless of the feeling invoked inside of you, these writings in your journal will allow you to reminisce. 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.
Tracking 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 and every day, and you write a short blurb about what you did that day. I guarantee, if you stick with it, your first day of journaling about exercise will be vastly different from your last. Journaling your growth will inspire motivation and prove to you that your hard work pays off. Tracking your growth in writing will hold you accountable and will make sure you don’t just quit one day.
Improving Your Understanding
Want or need some clarity in your life? Pick up that notebook! When you’re writing down everything that happened in your day or all of your thoughts, you are bound to make some realizations. Take some time in your writing to analyze your decisions and reflect on their impact on you. Think about whether your choices were beneficial or detrimental. You may be able to find out some aspects about 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 way possible.
Having a journal can be fun, and there’s no reason it shouldn’t be! When you’re writing about all of the fun and hilarious events that happened during your day, there’s going to be a smile on your face. Write about something 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 some color and graphics. Even take the time to work on your calligraphy. Journaling is what you make of it, and you can have fun.
Beginning is easy, the only challenge is developing consistency. If you want to journal every day, set a reminder on your phone. Personally, I love to write about my day every night, but that may not be for you. Some writing prompts are:
What do you love about yourself?
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
A letter to your younger self
Things you want to improve on/goals
Who is your role model and why?
A review of a TV show or book you read recently
So, have I convinced you? Go grab that pen and a notebook and get started! Maybe after a few months, your journal will be full and you’ll be telling all of your friends to try it. When it comes to journaling, everything is in your control, so enjoy it.