I was reading an article in INC (https://www.inc.com/benjamin-p-hardy/why-keeping-a-daily-journal-could-change-your-life.html) and it really got me thinking about whether I should start journaling or not. I thought I’d share a few bits and bobs about journaling that might help you to start or if you already journal, help to reinforce why it’s such a good thing to do on your journey to success.
What is journaling?
Journaling is simply a way of expressing what’s in your head. As a mentor of mine consistently says, “Pen, Paper, Powerful”. It’s a personal and different experience for each and every person. There is no right or wrong about journaling.
Benefits of journaling.
There are so many! Here are five to start you thinking:
- Stress reduction. Journaling for 15 – 20 minutes a day has been shown to reduce blood pressure and improve liver function (**over 4 months). It allows us to get those negative thoughts and beliefs that may be on repeat in our heads, out on paper and challenge them. Once your thoughts are on paper, it allows you to stop cycling them in your head and really consider… is this true? Where’s the evidence?
- Great for your Memory. Research published in “The Journal of Experimental Psychology” talked about how intrusive thoughts about negative things can be reduced and your memory improved through simply writing something down. The act of writing it down says to your brain that you want to remember it.
(Little tip here for those who have clients that make appointments – get the client to write down the next appointment. If you/someone else writes it for them, the client is more likely to forget).
- Inspiration. Writing about your thoughts and ideas can lead your mind to start brainstorming, imagining and ‘wha-la!’… inspiration.
- Goals. Writing down your goals or intentions is a great practice to keep track of them on your journey to success. Journaling about them helps you to keep accountable to yourself for your progress towards the outcomes. Tracking your progress can help you focus on what’s important to you.
- Progress. Following on from goals – tracking your progress boosts your self confidence. Through your journal, you can review the challenges you’ve faced, how you addressed them and really appreciate how far you have actually come. Celebrate that!!
How to Journal
There are so many different types of journaling – dream journals, food journals, fitness journals, streams of consciousness, day to day activities journal, to-do lists, etc. Let me give you some guidance on how to start.
Firstly, you need to let go of judgment. As I’ve already said, there is no right or wrong way to do this. Write for yourself, not anybody else – ie for your eyes only. Don’t concern yourself with spelling or grammar. You are putting this journal together for you – nobody else, so be authentic and honest with your journaling.
Be realistic with your expectations. When you first start journaling, you might write one sentence or line a day or you might set a time limit of 5 minutes. Start small and let yourself build as you build your habit. Set a routine so that even on the days when you don’t feel particularly motivated or inspired, you write about something.
Write about whatever comes to mind. Sometimes the possibilities are so vast that you get stuck in making that decision about what to write though. That’s where some prompts can come in handy…
- Grateful – who or what are you grateful for?
- Something that’s challenging you or is on repeat in your mind.
- Affirmations – use the two most powerful words in language, “I am” to write something positive about yourself.
- Goals or Intentions
- Ask yourself “What’s the best thing that happened to me today?” or “What am I looking forward to today?”
- A simple list of what you have done that day or intend to do that day.
And it doesn’t have to be writing sentences or lists… you could draw, write poetry – anything that appeals to you to get thoughts out of your mind.
Journaling is a fantastic option for personal and professional development – achieving success as you determine success is for you.
Would you like some help?
Contact me and let’s work it out together.