Make a Habit May
Welcome to post number two of ‘make a habit may’, all about journaling! Of course, the overarching theme of this month is the habit of self-reflection, and journaling is a fantastic way to facilitate this aim. But before we jump right in, if you missed the first post for the month on gratitude, check it out here 🙂
The Journaling Habit
Journaling these days is a lost art. Gone are the days where we document anything in handwriting, let alone write a self-reflective journal in the midst of our current technological epoch. But never-the-less, this analog form of documenting our thoughts, visions, goals, reflections, fears etc., has some serious benefits to offer.
Mental Health. A journal can provide a private space to vent your worries, fears, challenges etc. Research has shown that this helps manage stress, anxiety, and depression. Just 15-20 minutes of writing on 3-5 occasions can help deal with traumatic, stressful, or emotional events.
Creativity. There are tremendous creative benefits to writing in your journal. Writing down your ideas helps the brain organise them in a way that they become more powerful. Regular writing can improve the quality of your ideas and assist more frequent bursts of creative insight.
Learning. There is a reason why university lecturers promote hand-writing for note taking. Physically writing improves the brains capacity to remember information.
Achieving Goals. Writing down your goals and tracking your progress in a journal can be instrumental in achieving the desired outcome. Just taking the time to write down your goal makes you 5 times more likely to achieve it, and can be a catalyst for habit change!
Clarity of Purpose. This was a major reason why I started journal writing five years ago. I use my journal to write down my dreams, intentions, likes, skills, goals, tasks, visions for the future etc., in a way that is uninhibited by realistic circumstances. I create ideal futures in which I am actively doing whatever my heart desires without constraints of money, time, or experience. This has been a major feature in finding my purpose in life, and has proved a valuable tool for nurturing a positive inner dialogue.
How to Journal
No one starts off writing a historical legacy or philosophical memoir like Marcus Aurelius, but getting the ball rolling is really easy.
Firstly, buy yourself a journal that feels nice to use. I am currently using a Leuchtturm 1917. I also love to use fountain pens. For me, using a nice fountain pen enhances the writing experience and makes me want to write everyday! However, using any old pen and notebook will do the trick!
When I first started writing a journal, ensuring the date was clearly written at the top of the page was the only rule I followed (this is great when you read back over your journal entries). But if you have trouble knowing what to write down, here are a couple of journal exercises you can do:
Gratitude. Write down 5 things you are grateful for that day.
Blessings, Achievements, Goals (BAG). Write down 5 blessings in your life, 5 recent achievements, and 5 goals for the future.
Ideal Day. Write down what your ideal day would look like without the constraints of real life logistics.
Values Audit. Write down everything you value, then assess them against how you actually live.
Daily Reflection. Write down what you did well that day, or what you would like to do better tomorrow.
To-do list. Write down the tasks you need to get done that day.
Vision Board. Write down your most outlandish goals that you want to achieve before you die.
Whatever it is that you write in your journal, you can guarantee that the journaling process will create a new way to express emotions, find purpose, relieve stress, and foster a deeper relationship with your self. Awesome!
For more information on journaling, check out Bullet Journaling, and Life Captured Inc. There are an infinite number of ways to use your journal, so pick up a journal today and tailor yours to suit your personality!
Be your best self!