What do great minds like Isaac Newton, Leonardo Da Vinci, Charles Darwin and many more have in common? They kept journals of their thoughts, ideas, and feelings. They planned their lives in their journals and recorded their successes and failures.
The physical act of writing somehow connects our soul to our brain and allows us greater clarity of thought. That leads to better action towards our goals.
It’s good to start out simply if you have never journaled before. And you shouldn’t be overwhelmed by the idea of journaling. It’s really quite simple and enjoyable.
What Is Journaling
Journaling is effectively writing out your thoughts and ideas so you can capture them. Then, you can start to expand upon what you’ve written. You’re effectively thinking about your thoughts while writing them down.
You will get more benefit from journaling by being consistent.
Benefits of Journaling
Did you know that journaling can help you to prioritize tasks, clarify your thinking, and allow you to be more creative when coming up with ideas?
When you can prioritize your tasks, you can see the difference between important tasks and urgent busy work.
Journaling can help you better cope with stressful events, relieve anxiety, and boost your immunity.
Journaling also promotes the brain’s ability to focus as well as improve long-term memory. You can train your brain to be better able to recognize patterns through journaling.
Ways to Start Journaling
When you get up each morning, write down five things you’re grateful for. Then write down two or three tasks you need to accomplish on that day. And then just write what your goal for the day is.
- I got a good night’s sleep
- I have food in my cupboard
- I have hot water running in my home
- I’m seeing a close friend for lunch today
- I have a great job that I enjoy going to
- Do my three follow up phone calls with people interested in
- Find out next deadline for my project at work
- Plan meals for the rest of the week
Goal for the Day
I will focus only on the positive things that happen today and release anything that may be considered negative.
See how easy that can be? You can write that all down in less than five minutes in a simple notebook.
You could also write down three or four things that went well at the end of the day, or one or two tasks you want to do the next day. While you’re sleeping, your brain will be solving those problems.
Other Journaling Ideas
You can journal anything. I’ll go into some specific ideas further below, but I want to capture your imagination right now.
- Goals list
- Short term goals list
- Dreams capture
- Doodling ideas
- Gratitude list
- Things you’re passionate about
Another idea is to help yourself visualize the future. You can write out how you achieved your dream result like a press release announcing your success or a transcript of an interview.
When you see yourself having achieved the dream already, it gives you confidence to take the next steps that open up before you.
Types of Journals
There are so many types of journals on the market. No matter what your preferred style or purpose, you will find a good journal for you.
When first starting out, you may want to use an inexpensive lined notebook or a blank hardbound book.
Then start slowly for 5-10 minutes a day for 30 days. When you’re done, go back and review your entries.
Then you can decide if you want to have more blank paper, or if you enjoyed the lines. Perhaps you want graph paper.
- Travel journals
- Blank Journals
- Lined Journals
- Looseleaf Journals
- Bound Journals
- Planners with areas to record feelings and ideas
You can have more than one type of journal as well. You may want one for your personal goals and one for your professional goals.
You may carry a small journal with you to quickly capture ideas. Just make sure you schedule time each week to review all your notes and capture them into some main system that allows you to track them.
You can use electronic forms like Evernote to capture ideas and tasks. However, if you want to do creative journaling, you should consider using real pens and paper.
Do you know what’s really fun? Using a rainbow of pen colors. You can also expand into stickers. They’re not just for scrapbooks.
Maybe you planned out a goal and achieved it. You deserve a gold star!
Journal Out Bad Feelings
You can journal out negativity as well. You don’t need an actual journal for this. You can write out a letter on a piece of paper to the Universe or someone specifically.
Write out all your feelings and how hurt you were. Go super deep and honest.
Then you can burn the letter or bury it. Or you could burn the letter and bury the ashes.
Journaling can be very healing by giving you a safe place for venting or saying the things you’d be afraid to say out loud. And it’s ok to whine or complain or do anything negative while writing.
You want to ensure that you get out every feeling and resentment before it can get absorbed into your body. You want to be free of negativity. It’s like accepting the weeds, and then pulling them out so your flower garden can bloom.
Journaling for Clarity
To better understand what you’re feeling, you should journal in the morning and at night. You’ll quickly see inconsistencies.
Perhaps you’re thinking about changing jobs. You could journal the pro’s and con’s of staying and leaving.
You could journal what you hope the new job could give you. And you could journal your fears about making the change.
Journaling will help you work through and find the clarification that you’re looking for making the decision easier.
Journaling Your Goals
Similarly, you can find how well you’re working towards your major goals. You can also use journaling to refine your goals.
For example, if you intend to be better organised, you journal that you will spend fifteen minutes cleaning your desk. Then you can record in the evening if you did that or not.
If you didn’t, you may want to journal the reasons. Perhaps it’s not as big of a goal as you think it should be. Perhaps it’s a voice in your head from a family member who always told you to be better organised.
You may want to honestly evaluate if you are organised. And what does being “better organised” really mean to you?
Perhaps you need to readjust your goal to better meal planning, or writing down dates on a calendar so you remember your commitments.
When you make journaling a habit, you will be amazed by what comes into your life.
You will find yourself achieving your goals faster. You will see patterns in your life that you can either embrace or adjust.
And you will connect to what your true goals and value are instead of what you’re doing because other people expect it from you.
That’s how you will ignite your dreams. You will be motivated and excited to work towards them every day because you’re committed to your life instead of someone else’s.