Why A Journal?
The world said goodbye to a great actress and a wonderful person at the end of 2016. Carrie Fisher may have been lost to the world, but not lost were the journal reflections that she kept during her life. Especially endearing was the journal she kept while filming Star Wars as Princess Leia. That journal she turned into a best-selling book, The Princess Diarist.
Other great people, from Richard Franklin to Winston Churchill, many of history’s greatest achievers have kept a journal or diary at some point in their lives.
Journaling is not what made these great figures what they were. Nor am I saying that keeping a journal by itself will be enough to make you ‘great’ or write a best-selling autobiography or fiction novel. But what I AM saying is that these folks are onto something with the idea of keeping a journal. In actuality, there are a ton of very valuable benefits to journaling that makes it worth your consideration. Here are just some of them…
It’s a Record
When you write a journal, it means you have a record of everything you thought important. It may contain what you’ve done, your thoughts, feelings and emotions and ideas. This record becomes something you can look back over in order to learn important lessons and put your life in perspective.
It can sometimes be a great feeling looking back and seeing all the exciting things you’ve done. But if that’s not the experience you get from your journal then perhaps it can highlight that something needs to change. Either way, this lets you honestly appraise your life.
Just imagine being able to read this in 20 years – there will be so much detail from your life that you would otherwise have forgotten! This is a way to immortalize yourself and to hold tighter onto those memories.
What’s more, a journal is a record for others and means that they can potentially learn from your experiences. It’s a legacy for your loved ones to know you better, even when you may no longer be here.
Most of us spend our day using technology, working on things that make us stressed and otherwise staying wired and on the go. Writing a journal at the end of the day with pen and paper is a kinesthetic experience–an excellent alternative to those tech activities. The act of writing with pen and paper is almost meditative in its ability to encourage focus. It’s quiet, it doesn’t involve a glaring screen and it’s a great way to unwind before bed.
It Can be a Powerful Tool
You can also use a journal as a tool. Write about your day, including what you ate and how you felt physically after eating. This might help you pinpoint a food sensitivity. Or journal about what you dreamed as soon as you wake up in the morning and reflect on what this dream might be teaching you.
Make a note of each day you worked out or jot down each time you performed some act that you are trying to make into a habit. You can even just make a note of your mood. This lets you assess at a glance your performance towards any goal. It also gives you some useful contextual data that might help you find correlations in your routine and the way you feel/act. While you’re at it, jot down the 3 things that you’re grateful for each day. The practice of gratitude is the most effective means to increase your overall life satisfaction.
So pick up a notebook, marble composition book, or blank bound journal book, grab some pens and start creating the habit of keeping your thoughts and actions in a journal. It’s a great habit to cultivate.