George Santayana said that those who forget history are destined to repeat it. Well, if you want to improve your life this year, you need to learn how to remember your history. You need to start journaling.
I hear your complaints. Writing my feelings sounds boring. Sounds weak. Sounds emotional. Let me stop you in your tracks. Writing is one of the single most powerful things you can do. Why?
- Journaling improves your self-awareness. When you write about your day, over time patterns emerge. You’ll understand more fully what triggers your temper. You’ll see who makes you feel down. You’ll get how exercise improves your mood. You’ll see connections that you didn’t really notice before. Maybe you eat junk food a lot more after working overtime. Maybe you tend to skip the gym whenever you hang out with your lazy buddy. For example, before I journaled, I assumed that I felt jealous based on external things, like the behavior of my partner. After journaling, I realized my feelings of jealousy almost always came after I felt disappointed in myself for something. Now that I am more self-aware, I stand a better chance of tackling the source of negative feelings, rather than suppressing them or blaming someone else. Half the battle in life is truly understanding yourself. Journal for one month and I guarantee you’ll know things about yourself that you never realized previously.
- Journaling organizes your thoughts. Thoughts inside our head are blurry and nebulous. Forming our thoughts into words and sentences have the effect of crystallizing them into coherent ideas. If you are facing a complicated problem or important decision, getting your thoughts onto paper is absolutely vital to clarifying the issue at hand. I’ve found that some perplexing problems suddenly seemed so clear to solve once I jotted them down.
- Journaling de-stresses you. Sometimes we have a fear or challenge that we do not feel comfortable sharing with anyone. It goes unspoken and we carry it inside day after day. This low-grade stress is harmful to your body. Journaling is therapeutic because it involves a conversation between you and your notebook. Those worries can escape your mind and land instead on the paper. Elevated stress levels left unchecked actually sap male testosterone, so writing a journal can be one of the manliest things you do.
Speaking of manly, if you want to commit to journaling, what better way than to have a journal you look forward to writing in? This affordable genuine leather journal is a pleasure to use and will look so good on your desk. You want to improve your life this year, so commit today to keeping a journal, and see the benefits it will bring to you.
Some people struggle to start and stick to the habit of journaling, so if you worry that you won’t be able to keep at it, here are a few tips for you.
First, understand that the hardest thing about journaling is establishing the habit. So I’d suggest making your writing as short and simple as possible at the start. Once you are used to doing it daily, then you can start to expand your writing.
Next, choose a specific time and place you will journal, and make it as easy as possible to follow through. For example, if you plan to write right before you go to bed, keep a pad of paper and a pen on your nightstand.
Finally, choose a specific question you’ll be answering. That way, you won’t struggle to find a totally new topic to write about. For example, you could decide that for the next week, you’ll write down one positive thing that happened to you that day as a way of noticing and expressing gratitude. Or, you could write down one mistake you made and how you’ll handle that kind of situation in the future as a way of providing yourself constructive feedback.
By making sure your new habit is easy to do, doesn’t take much time, and delivers positive benefits to you, it’ll be far easier to start and stick to it.
To summarize today’s post, journaling brings many benefits to you, and if you ease into the habit gently, you are far more likely to make it work in the long-run. I also recommended this journal as a great option for those ready to start this valuable daily habit.
To your daily growth!