If you have ever thought that journaling just isn’t for you, or you don’t think that you would get anything out of keeping a journal … or, heck, maybe you do want to start a journal, but have no idea how to go about it … this post is for you.
I have been a journaler since grade school, when an older friend gave me my first diary as a birthday gift. Nowadays, journaling is a practice I can’t live without.
There are so many benefits to keeping a journal! To name just a few of my own personal favorites:
You can start to see patterns in your behavior, if you journal on a regular basis. And once you see them, you have a better understanding of yourself and how you act in certain situations.
I am one of those people who needs time to process things before I can give my full opinion on them. One of the best ways I know to do this is through my journal. Often times, writing out my confusions, troubles, worries, and anxieties in my journal allows me to gain clarity and peace. I can’t even tell you how many times the journaling process has helped me figure out how to move past blocks I’ve had in my understanding of things!
REFLECTION & GROWTH
Somewhat similar to what I said regarding self-awareness, keeping a journal is a good way to notice patterns in your behavior. When you are frustrated with yourself for continually making the same mistakes (or the same kinds of mistakes), your journal can help you figure out what to avoid doing in the future, so as to make course corrections and change your behaviors. It’s only in learning from our mistakes that we grow!
Obviously, when people talk about journaling, this is one of the top things that comes to mind. Many people use journals as a way to keep a record of special things that have happened in their lives.
For me, it’s been very helpful to have a written record to go back through, especially from certain periods in my life. For example, the years when my kids were newborns and toddlers, and I was a walking zombie due to the lack of sleep! Without my journals to remind me of things, there would be a lot from those years that’d be lost.
I have often been very much a lone wolf — I don’t get out all that often. So, when I’ve had major upsets, I have turned to my journal and written out my stresses and frustrations. Not only did I get clarity, but I also found that the stress melted away through the pen and onto the page, and I ended up calming down quicker than I would have, had I not had that outlet.
So, you see, there are great benefits to becoming a journaler!
My friend, Judy — a lady from my church who is in her 60s — never liked journaling. So, when we were asked to keep a journal throughout the weeks of our one Bible study, Judy made a fuss. Yet, she agreed to try for the sake of getting the most out of the study.
Several years later, after her house had survived an electrical fire, Judy recounted how worried she’d been that she would lose her journals! She had kept up the habit since the study had ended, and she’d grown to love it! For her, journaling had become her way to spend time in prayer with God and, in going back through them, she could see how God had been faithful to answer prayers. Her journals were a precious record of both her relationship with God, and her own spiritual growth.
So, while you may think that taking up journaling isn’t for you, I challenge you not to give up on the idea so easily! You just never know. Maybe you need a new perspective on what journaling could look like for you. Or, perhaps you just need to try a different method than one you’ve tried in the past. Consider the following ideas:
- Instead of writing daily, try writing only once a week
- Rather than keeping a record of what went on during the day, just write about the best part (or, reflect on what could have been done / gone differently)
- Try writing just one sentence each day, instead of a full page
- Keep a gratitude journal. Each day, just list 3 things you are grateful for (studies have show this to have numerous benefits to your health!)
- Keep a “work journal” where you write out your to-do’s/schedule, and even reflect on successes or mistakes that happened
There is no right or wrong way to keep a journal. Experiment with different methods to see what could work best for you.
For more on how to get started, and an expanded view of the benefits of journaling, check out these resources:
- LifeHacker – Why You Should Keep a Journal, and How to Start Yours
- Michael Hyatt – The 7 Benefits of Keeping a Daily Journal
- LifeHack – Journal Writing: 5 Smart Reasons Why You Should Start Today
- BecomingMinimalist – 8 Reasons Keeping a Journal Can Help You Reach Your Goals
- LifeHack – Stay on Track with a Treadmill Journal
IF YOU HAVE ALREADY BEEN A JOURNALER FOR SOME TIME, LEAVE A COMMENT WITH WHAT YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT IT IS! AND, IF YOU ARE ONE OF THOSE WHO IS SKEPTICAL ABOUT THE PRACTICE, LEAVE A COMMENT AND TELL US WHY!