When I was younger, I spent a lot of time journaling. I have stacks and stacks of filled journals. I’m not sure there’s much in them that’s of value, but I did find it useful at the time to get my feelings out on paper.
These days, I journal in the same way many high performers use this practice. I journal with a specific purpose. I like to journal about what I want to create in my life. I spend time and attention focused on and writing about how to achieve my goals and how to improve.
For example, I like to journal about how I could improve as a person, writer, speaker, coach, parent, and partner. I also journal about what’s going well for me and the things I feel have improved in myself and my life.
Additionally, I write down affirmations, and I have a gratitude journal in which every day I record things for which I feel grateful.
Some people, mostly artists and creative people, like to use their journals as a way to allow a stream of consciousness to come out on paper. They write until they run out of thoughts. Many complete a similar process called “morning pages,” which are described in The Artist’s Way.
Begin journaling in any way that seems compelling to you. Here are five journaling methods you can try:
- Stream of consciousness journaling
- Structured journaling about how you can improve
- Journaling to work through a problem
- Writing affirmations and your thoughts about those affirmations
- Journaling as a gratitude practice
I challenge you to journal for a month. Don’t give up until you have kept a journal for at least 30 days. At that point, evaluate if and how the practice has benefited you.
Warning to Writers and Artists
If you are a writer or artist who wants to begin journaling, don’t use your journal as a way to procrastinate. Block out time for journaling. Set a timer. Don’t journal for any longer than you planned.
Be sure you block out time for working on your creative project. Get to that immediately after you journal.
Try journaling for just a brief amount of time each day. I journal for ten minutes every morning and night, and I set aside the rest of my day to accomplish other tasks.
Keyboard or on Paper?
You an keep a journal on your computer. However, many people say writing by hand is more effective.
I found that I could more easily keep up with my thoughts on the computer. And there’s no shame in typing your journal entries. Just remember that these pieces of writing should not become your blog posts.
Blogs are not the same as digital journals. Use your blog to provide valuable information to your followers. Use your journal to explore your own mind and thoughts.
Choose Your Journal
There are hundreds of journals from which you can choose. Purchase one that speaks to you.
Find a journal that is leather-bound, colorful, or that says something inspiring on the cover. Or, if a spiral-bound notebook is more your style, go with that.
Here’s something you can journal about: how journaling improves your life. I personally get a lot of clarity from journaling. The activity helps me focus on positive parts of my life instead of the negative.
I hope you, too, can use journaling to find ways to grow and advance in your life.
Do you journal? Tell me about your experience.