The value of using a journal cannot be underestimated.
Just in case you’re one of those people who hears the word journal and immediately thinks diary, let’s get clear that they are two different things.
Sure, a diary is a daily record of your life, thoughts, hopes and wishes or, in the business sense it can be a record of your appointments and movements.
A journal is much more valuable. Whilst similar to a diary, it does not need to be written in each day, although you can if you want to.
A Journal is Your Journey
A journal is your personal record of the journey that you are taking in your life.
Each of us is at a different point in our life journey, so we will each have varying needs at different times.
With a journal, there is no wrong or right way.
It is entirely up to you as to the type of journal you keep. There could be aspects of your life that you want to change, explore or expand upon. Once you have begun identifying the area, then you’re ready to begin your journal journey.
What kind of journal should you keep?
This really depends on which areas you feel the need to work on and is very much a personal choice.
For instance, if you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed, a “Me Time” journal could be in order.
Consider a “Relationship” journal if you need to work on your relationships, or perhaps a “Memories” journal to help keep a record of special people and special moments.
If you are unwell or facing a difficult illness, then a “Healing” journal can offer immense value.
When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I started to maintain a wellness journal. It was so valuable in the sense that I was able to reflect back at the end of each week and month to see how far I had progressed.
I was able to visibly notice how much better I was coping with each dose of chemotherapy. Yes, it was making me sick, but with each dose, my recovery time was shorter rather than longer. As I reflected and read back over the entries in the journal, I felt more empowered. More in control over my own health. I was also able to pinpoint the activities that had taken place to make me feel better or worse.
In the workplace
If you’re self-employed, or a first time manager a business journal is also another great way of holding yourself accountable and debriefing.
Your business plan is the official roadmap, but your journal is the place where you have the luxury of exploring how you are travelling in terms of personal feelings, experiences and fears.
Writing a journal is a wonderful way to slow down and take the time to analyse situations and our reactions to them.
The mere act of sitting quietly and handwriting helps to still chattering monkeys of our minds.
Thoughts should be allowed to flow unbidden onto the paper in front of you. They do not need to be in a specific order.
Once the mind has emptied itself, you can go back and read over what has been written.
It’s quite incredible what insight you will often gain by re-reading your own words.
It’s not always easy to get into a new habit and finding time to journal can often be a challenge.
The secret lies in being disciplined.
Set yourself up for success by allocating a set time to journal.
First thing in the morning, last thing at night or during a lunch break are times that seem to work well for many. Allocate the time in your calendar and stick it.
A journal is a great way of taking control, being empowered and keeping track of where you are heading in your life, your business, and even your relationships or finances.
The way you chose to use a journal is very much a personal choice.
There are many products on the market that provide visual prompts for your journal. They come at various price points, and it is very much a personal choice how you choose to journal.
Often simple is best. A blank notebook and a quality pen are all that you need to start your journal journey.
There’s also a great article here on the 10 Surprise Benefits you’ll get from keeping a journal.
Do you currently keep a journal? I’d love you share your experiences of the benefits you’ve discovered in the comments below.