I used to think that journaling was a complete waste of time. Writing down about my day did not seem fun at all. I never believed that it could improve my life.
After practicing journaling for almost a year, I have come to realize that I was wrong. Journaling can make your life better.
How I Started Journaling
In 2018, I watched a video about journaling on YouTube. The video was very good and it inspired me to start journaling. The guy in the video discusses easy ways to journal. He didn’t suggest writing down paragraphs. Instead, he said to write simple bullet points of the things you did during the day. “That seems doable”, I thought.
I went to the store and got myself the smallest notebook available. I started writing down the things that I did during the day. Two weeks later, I saw nothing had happened. My life did not improve. I thought I was just writing down meaninglessly. Things started getting boring and I stopped.
Sometimes, if something important happened during the day, I used to write it down. But I was not consistent with my journaling. I did it only when I remembered to do it.
I have been journaling consistently (almost every day) for three months now and I can see that it has changed my life.
What is Journaling?
Our lives are not perfect. Some days are good, some days are bad. Some days we feel happy and excited. Other days we feel sad and angry.
Journaling does not represent writing every single thing that happened during the day. You do not have to write what you ate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
In my journal, I write down thoughts and feelings that come to me naturally. I also write about certain specific incidents that happened during the day that was worth remembering. But the most important journaling practice that has helped me improve my life is writing down the things I have learned during the day.
You do not need specific rules for journaling. You can write however you want. It does not have to be perfect. Your writing does not have to be perfect. It is not a school test and you definitely won’t be graded for it. Simply put down your thoughts and feelings the way they come.
Also, remember that it is better to keep your journal private. Nobody has to read it. Not even you. I rarely read the things I write in my journal unless I need to reflect on a specific incident or habit of mine.
Why You Should Start Journaling
Everyone should start the habit of journaling. It will help bring positive changes in life.
You should consider your journal as your patient friend.
“Paper has more patience than people.” —Anne Frank
When you express your thoughts and feelings to your friends, you might be afraid of them judging you. You might be worried about what they will think. It can be uncomfortable to share and express yourself with complete honesty with your friends. But you can write whatever you feel in your journal. It is very patient and it will not judge you.
Here are some of the reasons for you to start journaling.
# Track Your Life
The obvious reason to start journaling is to track your life—remember the good and bad that happens in your life. But why is remembering important? For me, it is to learn from my past and create a better future for myself. As I said, I usually include the things I have learned during the day in my journal. This helps me reflect back on the important things and analyze my learnings for a better future.
# Reduce Stress
Journaling can reduce stress. Writing down the thoughts and feelings that cause you stress, anxiety or pain can actually help you overcome them. Like I said, expressing yourself to a friend might not be very comfortable. You might feel that he will not understand you. Instead, try writing your thoughts and feelings in a journal. You will feel much better.
# Set Goals
Journaling can also help you set goals in life. There is no limit to journaling. You can write whatever you want. There is a saying that goals are more likely to be accomplished if you write them down. Take your journal as a place to write down your goals. You can divide your goals into long-term and short-term. You can also set yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily goals.
# Brain Dump Ideas
This is something I do. Whenever I have ideas, I write them down so that I do not forget them. I write them down in my journal or use online tools like Trello. The advantage of using an online tool is that they are accessible from anywhere and on any device. Besides ideas, you can also write down the important things you have to remember.
# Positive Self-Talk
We constantly talk to ourselves during the day. It is important to have positive self-talk with yourself. This allows you to boost your self-confidence and develop a good self-image. However, negative self-talk can have a negative impact on your life. Journaling can help you to consciously have positive self-talk with yourself. You can write down positive affirmations in your journal.
# Express Gratitude
Expressing gratitude is very important. Gratitude can improve mental health, self-awareness, relationships, and a sense of fulfillment. This is a scientific fact. We usually want things we do not have and forget to appreciate the things we have. Starting a gratitude journal can have a big impact on your life. Write down at least three things you are grateful for every day and see your life transform.
Journaling is one of the best habits you can develop. Remember that there is no rule that you have to follow. You just have to express yourself and write down your thoughts, feelings, or ideas. Do it as they come naturally.
Journaling is not only about the things you did today. It can be used in many ways—to write down ideas, set goals, express gratitude, and talk positively with yourself.
If it helps, you can use different journals for each purpose.
The main thing to understand is that you need to express yourself. How do you feel? What are you thinking? What did you learn? Write down all these things.
Practice journaling for at least a few weeks and see how it impacts your life. Start today.