The Power of Journaling: 3 Tips to Help Get You Started
This new habit is changing my life.
I've always loved the idea of journaling. In fact I've had countless journals over the years that either sat empty or became endless pages of To Do Lists. There's actually a storage box I have full of notebooks of work related tasks laid out in succinct lists. But now, more than ever, I have this deep need to write and express what's on my mind. Not necessarily to be read by others, but to get out creative ideas, goals, musings, and maybe the occasional daily recap.
So, I made a decision. I'm going to invest in a new habit.
Something that will serve me for my life and improve my mental acuity. A way to express all the bottled up ideas and dreams onto pages that will change my future for the better.
So, I researched the benefits of journaling and there are many!
Stretching your IQ and EQ
Setting and Achieving Goals
Mental and Emotional Healing
Idea Generation and Creativity
Expressing more Gratitude
Instilling more Self-Confidence
Boosting Memory and Recall
Improving Communication Skills
Sounded pretty fantastic to me.
Thus my daily commitment began and I'm living within a true snowball effect. It started out intermittently and now it's as natural as making my bed. What is most interesting and exciting is that every part my life is benefiting from this new habit.
I'm more calm.
My relationships are better.
I'm more attuned to my mood, emotions, and purpose.
I'm gaining clarity on my life, daily.
I'm attracting interesting opportunities.
Isn't that amazing?! I can't afford to quit at this rate. And it has me thinking. I believe we are fairly similar in personalities--organized, creative, positive, and I know in my heart this practice will bring you joy and clarity.
Below I've outlined 3 tips to get you thinking and writing. And you need not be the least bit anxious, these are easy to make happen and won't occupy time you can't spare.
You got this!
1) Have someone else buy you a new journal.
Even as I wrote this I can feel you thinking, "but buying a new journal at Indigo is the best! I love wondering around those beautifully curated aisles at least once a season. Why would I have someone else buy me one?" I hear you. Completely. I probably scan the aisles at Indigo once a month, but here's the deal.
When we have the accountability of someone we tend to perform at a heightened level of performance to avoid disappointing that person. For instance, there are very good reasons why people hire personal trainers to get in shape. Because having someone kick your butt tends to improve the very shape of your butt.
So, in the case of journaling, you would hate to disappoint the person that gave you a heart-felt gift by not using it. Even if the cover or design is not what you would pick out or you're more of a coil spine person than a seam spine person, the consideration of the gift-giver adds extra purpose and value to those pages.
So my suggestion? Put a bug in the ear of someone close - your Mom, Dad, husband, boyfriend, girlfriend, wife, best friend, sister, brother (you get the picture) that you would really like a new journal. Or better yet, organize a journal swap with a friend! Buy each other a new journal and commit to writing in it daily. My habit really began to flourish after my husband bought me a journal for my birthday and I find that he is writing more too!
2) Treat journaling like brushing your teeth.
Chances are very good that you brush your teeth twice a day. It's also very likely that you don't even really think about brushing them. It's a habit you can credit your parents forming in you as a kid and now it's a part of your day.
Now brushing your teeth is a basic part of good grooming, and it's hugely beneficial to the maintenance of your health (in fact, flossing alone can add years to your life!). So, if we can achieve improved confidence, memory, and IQ from journaling I'd say it's something to explore.
When I changed my mindset around journaling to be like brushing my teeth, I found it became so natural and easy. I don't always have pages to say, but getting where I'm at on paper provides mental freedom and sets the tone for a great day.
3) Ask yourself questions. Don't rely on retelling the events of the day. Get to know yourself.
As a kid I had many of those lockable diaries. I think you know what I'm talking about. I'm sure I had one with unicorns or rainbows on it or maybe stars. Where I really failed in writing in my youth was that I only talked about what I did that day. What I ate, what my Mom said, what I played with my sister's, it was a real snooze fest.
Instead of feeling like you have to comment on the events of the day (which you totally don't have to) become present and ask yourself some reflective questions to get your juices flowing. I like to start every entry by becoming aware of my surroundings. It's a technique that simply allows you to be present at the moment and open you up to more of what's on your mind. Then I roll into some prompted questions. Try these for a while and then switch it up.
What am I deeply passionate about?
What taps my talents? (Tip: If this doesn't spark yet, ask yourself what your talents are first!)
What meets a significant need in the world?
I would keep it simple to just 3 questions for now and leave the door open for more! You'll be amazed at what begins to flow from your mind.
I do hope you give this an honest try because flipping through the pages of your mind a year from now is better than any best seller you've read. Good luck and let me know how you make out in the comments below.
Until next time!