I’ve recently got back into the habit of daily journaling and have been amazed at the positive impact this discipline has on me.
When I journal, I often write about improvements I want to make in my life and what I’m’ currently struggling with or working toward. The exercise of giving thought to a topic and spending several minutes putting these thoughts on paper give me the following:
- Clarity of direction
- New ideas
- A way to process and organize my unformed thoughts
When I don’t journal, I find I only spend a few brief minutes each day thinking about what I’m working on, pursuing, or struggling with. This brief, unfocused thinking always leaves me void of any real plan or direction I can take to make progress in that day. However, when I journal, especially in the morning before the day gets started, I gain a clarity about whatever issue I’ve written about, but more important, I feel energized and eager to jump in and get the day started.
If you’re considering the practice of daily journaling, here are 3 suggestions that I find helpful:
- Pick a consistent time every day. Do mornings work best for you or evenings before bed? Perhaps around lunch time works best. It doesn’t matter at all what time you journal. What does matter is that you find a time that you can commit to as much time as you need to journal, whether it’s 5 minutes or an hour. Find what works for you.
- Find a journal that you like the feel of. This may seem like a funny thing, but the journal you right on must “feel” right. Does it fit well in your hand or on your lap? Do you like pages with lines or blank pages? Do you prefer a spiral binding, a yellow note pad, or leather bound journal? I prefer a smaller size page (because it feels like I write more) and I also prefer a journal that lays open nicely. It doesn’t matter what your preference is, as long as your journal feels right for you. It should be something you want to spend time with.
- Write about topics that interest you. I mentioned above how I like to write about what I’m working on our struggling with, but that doesn’t have to be what you write about. Maybe you want to write about what you did that day, or keep a list of ideas, or record significant events. Perhaps you just want to write about whatever is on your mind. Those are all great topics! As long as you’re writing about something that is interesting to you, you’ve got the right topic.
Of these suggestions, I think that finding a consistent time to write is the most important to maintaining consistency.
If you want to increase the clarity of thinking, make significant progress toward achieving your goals, or just be more mindful of what direction you’re leading your life, I suggest giving journaling a try. Your writing doesn’t have to be eloquent, flowery or even grammatically correct. It just has to be a written expression of whatever is on your mind.