When I tell people that I love to journal they look at me and say “isn’t that for teenage girls?” I laugh and tell them, no actually it’s not and it can really change you life. You see even the most powerful and successful people keep journals. A journal is a way to record your life, to remember the high points as well as the low points – and to learn from them. As I have got older I have found that a journal is a great way to remember what I did last year and show me how I have changed!
Keeping a journal does not have to be complex:
1. Select a format. A journal does not have to be a fancy notebook, it can be anything. It can be a physical notebook or it could be an electronic journal, either that you download to your computer or you use online. I personally use this format for journalling.
2. Decide on a time. I find that it is essential to write in my journal on a regular basis (ie each day) and I find that I need to do it at a specific time. If I forget to do it one day I try to do it as soon as possible the next, otherwise I will forget what happened and what were the highlight and lowlights of the day. The more often you journal (and on a regular basis) the easier it gets – it soon becomes a habit.
3. Be casual. Journalling needs to be casual. You’re writing about you and your day, and not a novel about a mysterious person ;). Make sure you understand what you are writing, but it does not have to be grammatically correct. There’s no minimum or maximum length for each entry, it’s how you feel on that day.
What you want to be able to do is enjoy your writing and learn more about yourself and your life. This to me is key to journaling.
A question many people ask is:
What use is a journal to me?
It’s a great question as if you don’t see value in it you won’t really be motivated to keep writing. So let’s look at some of the benefits that I personally have found from journalling.
1. A journal helps record the ups and the downs! I found that my journal helped me show that no matter how hard things got, I could always get over them and be successful. By revisiting my journal I realised that although sometimes life can be tough I can survive and become better. This has been very helpful for me over and over again.
2. The truth is in there. I find that putting my thoughts on paper helps me see the truth that is in my mind – be that good or bad. I can write it down and it becomes more real both my successes and failures, and while this may be difficult to read when you look back in a few months it can be an incredible feeling of satisfaction, seeing how you have changed.
3. You become accountable. By writing things down you become accountable to yourself. We can say we will change in our head but when we have it written down it is more real. Imagine looking back in 6 months time and thinking I wrote I would do this and I did (or did not) – how will that make you feel?
4. Track your goals and progress. Leading on from the point above, if you also track your goals in your journal then a you stand a better chance at being successful. A journal helps you show where you need to improve and what steps you need to take to get better
5. It can improve your mental health. By writing down your challenges, and by also seeing your successes, you can see that maybe life is not that bad after all. Maybe you are actually making progress when it feels that you are not. By writing down what is worrying you or how you feel, you may also find that your stress levels decrease.
I bet you never knew that a few minutes of journalling could change your life so much! It’s time to start journalling so why not pick up a copy of my journalling pack to help you on your road to success?