This week, I want to discuss how and why it’s important to journal.
Why we should journal
Journaling is the act of recording our actions and thoughts over a period of time. We can record our thoughts on pen and paper or through the computer and over any time we choose. However, I stress daily logging for the most maximum effect.
Journaling allows us to reflect on our days and compare that day to our life journey. Through this reflection, we can develop an honest understanding of our actions and thoughts as they pertain to our life goal.
Self-knowledge is the key to success. With recording, we can honestly discuss our emotions, what we’re thinking, and possibly provide solutions. At the very least, journaling provides solid documentation of our actions throughout the day, so we can know how we’re spending our time. Through better awareness of our feelings, we can determine if we responded well or not then make changes going forward.
Lastly, written reflection is a great cathartic release and can serve as a means of dumping any built-up emotions or troubling thoughts.
What to journal about
There are multiple ways to journal that appeal to different individuals for different reasons. We can merely view written reflection as a means to practice writing as well as a simple record our day. Personally, I feel that this is a waste of journaling and that we should delve deeper.
Personally, my journal encompasses the following:
- A recording of the day
- Reflection of my willpower and emotional control. Did I push through moments when I felt weak? Am I keeping my emotions under control?
- Did I practice a key virtue for the day? If so, which one?
- How have my actions contributed to my life goal?
- What have I learned today and what do I wish to change tomorrow?
I provide a basic overview of the day then move onto reflection of my significant actions. From there, I wonder about which virtue I encompass the most before I look at my overall choices and judge whether I’m working towards my life goals. Lastly, I look at what I learned today then conclude on what I want to change tomorrow.
Today, I woke up and played with the baby before heading off to work. I took the long way so I could get some free time with my music. I arrived at work and reached my productivity goals for the day as well as asked for a raise and a promotion. I’m waiting to hear back. From there, I came back home and helped take care of the baby so my wife could get some free time. Then I cleaned up and went to bed. Although I felt frustrated during my raise meeting, I stayed calm and focus. I was frustrated because I wasn’t being listened to, however, I moved past that and provided counterpoints to strengthen my case. I asked for a raise and this took courage. Asking for a raise allows for more money which helps me provide. I could have done more writing today but I was too slow in my work. I learned how to negotiate and I also learned how to improve a hover effect I’ve been working on. For tomorrow, I want to better work on my writing.
An entry like this takes me less than 5 minutes to write. However, I can take up to 15 minutes. I try not to journal for too long. Traditionally, I’ll record thoughts throughout the day and hit all my goals for a post.
Think about what’s hard to discuss. Reflect honestly on your day and provide the play-by-play that you need to grow and develop. Through honest reflection of successes and failures, we can make that first step towards greatness.
How to start journaling
Pick a medium that works for you. There are plugins or apps as well as blogging platforms such as WordPress. You could go for traditional pen and paper as well. Personally, I prefer typing as it’s the medium I’m most comfortable.
Recording requires and develops personal trust. You have to be honest with yourself and accurately reflect on your day.
We don’t have to journal at the end of the day. We can journal at any point and at any time.
Journaling is never perfect, and everyone does so differently. We can quickly sum up our thoughts in a few sentences, or we may need to write a few pages. However, it’s important to start by recording our actions and thoughts daily.
Additionally, start journaling with just a sentence than another sentence the next day, then another. Slowly build up the habit of journaling through small baby steps.
Never worry about grammar or prose when journaling. Stay focused on recording your thoughts and being honest with yourself.
Read the following:
- 6 Ways Journaling Will Change Your Life
- Why You Should Keep a Journal (and How to Start Yours)
- The Stoic Art of Journaling
- 30 Days to a Better Man Day 8: Start a Journal
- Read This If You Want To Keep A Journal But Don’t Know How
- Do you journal? If no, what holds you back? If yes, how often do you do it?
- Do you journal? What do you journal about? Do you find that it’s effective in helping you?
- If you don’t journal, do you wish you would? Do you believe it would improve your character?
Please remember that it’s important to do the actionables. You’re not on this earth to simply read but to do. To become an individual, you must act more than you consume.
*Image credit to Unsplash.