A lot of people believe that keeping a journal is only for little girls.
How wrong they are…
I was a little girl when I kept a journal the first time. It didn’t end well…
I was 20 when I started doing it again. Best decision of my life!
There are a lot of benefits in keeping a journal, so, in case you have no idea what they are, let me tell you about the most important benefits of writing in a journal. (Ahem, daily!)
1. Think Things Through
Writing down what happened makes you think it through. It helps you see things from a different perspective and understand them better.
Well, not exactly as an objective third person. I doubt anyone could do this for events concerning their own life. But you have to set them in order if you want to write them down. And for that, you have to focus on the important stuff.
It’s like when you have a problem. Taking a break can help you find the solution. And it’s so obvious then!
Or when you have a project and if you check it again after some time, you can see clearly all the mistakes you did.
When living something, you are so close to everything. But, the closer you are, the less you see. (Totally stolen from Now You See Me 😉 ). By writing them down, you take a step back and you see things more like they are and less like you feel them to be.
And usually, problems are not as serious as they seem at first. Most of them have a solution. You just have to be calm enough to see it.
2. Just Relax
Writing in a journal is a great way to leave things behind. Anything that stresses you out, that you worry about, anything you regret, anything you feel sorry for. If you can’t change it, it’s better if you stop obsessing over it. If you can’t do anything about it, it’s better not to let it bother you.
I have to say, you can do that also by talking about it. To someone else, or even just to yourself. But for me, this works only partly. If I talk about it, I often end up obsessing over it even more with “what-if” scenarios. Which is the worst thing in the world for me. Anyway…
So when something frustrating happens to you, write about it. Write about what you feel and how it affects you. Write even what you could have done differently if this is something you’re thinking right now. Write anything that comes to mind.
Once you have all your thoughts on paper, then close your journal and immediately, you’ll start to feel better. Out of sight, out of mind!
3. Complain Away
This is your journal. Your haven. You can write whatever you want in it. And writing down any complains you have is really useful for your inner peace.
So complain all you want about anyone. About someone in your workplace that makes you angry, or at school if you’re a student. For a family member who drives you crazy (I love you, mom!) or a friend who can’t take a break and needs all your time. No one’s going to judge you for this. Even if I’d use it just for this, I still believe that keeping a journal is incredibly useful! 😀
And I repeat: No one is going to judge you for your writings. So feel free to write WHATEVER you want. It’s kind of annoying that we have to filter anything we say in our everyday life. When you’re alone with your journal, just write what you truly feel or believe.
4. Dream In It
Write down your dreams. Any dreams you have. About your career, about your personal life, things you want to do, places you want to visit. Anything!
Remember? No one to judge here.
So write down anything you’d like to have in your life, do in your life, be in your life. It makes your dreams more concrete, more real.
Some people believe that dreaming is useless, that dreaming is a waste of time. But if you can’t dream about something, how will you start trying to achieve it?
5. Plan Your Life
You’ve written about your dreams. And now what? Well, now you make plans about how you can get all that you want.
Planning makes achieving easier. It’s not just a general idea of something you’d like to do someday. It’s a step-by-step plan that you have to follow to achieve your dream.
Yes, of course, there will be changes and upside downs, but you have to start from somewhere, right?
And planning makes it easier to do things, even when you don’t feel like it. Why? Because you don’t have to think so much about it. You have already outlined the steps you need to follow. All you have to do is follow them. And that’s extra motivation for starting right now!
6. Check Your Progress
Well, you made your plan and you followed it. Now what? Did it work? Well, if it’s the first plan you made, probably not. That’s usually how first plans work. They just don’t.
And now? Well, now you get feedback and you use it. You check what went right and what went wrong. You try to find a different way for the things that went wrong, you make a new plan and you follow it.
For example, one of the things I have to write down often is the day-by-day planning. Did I do it right the first time? Heck, no!
I failed a bunch of times until I realised that a day has 24 hours and I want/need to sleep for, at least, eight of them. I just function better this way. I also need a few breaks throughout a day; otherwise every 5-6 days, I break down completely and don’t feel like doing anything at all. Talk about unproductivity on that day!
So I schedule my work to get the maximum productivity out of my day.
And that’s what you do for every goal you have, every project and every dream. You make a plan, you see how it works, you change what needs to be changed and you follow the new plan. Then, rinse and repeat.
7. Hone Your Writing Skills
As with everything, you get better at writing as you practise. And no matter what, you’re going to need writing skills in your life.
You’ll have to write a report, an essay, a manual, your CV, an article or even a book. So the sooner you get good at it, the better.
And writing every day helps you get better at it. You learn how to express yourself better, how to organise your thoughts and how to put your thoughts into words.
So what are you waiting for? 😀
Writing down what happened throughout the day, what you want to do in the future, your dreams and your plans helps you learn what kind of person you are.
It’s easy to believe something when it’s just in your head, but when it’s written down on paper… Well, sometimes, it just doesn’t make sense.
You can’t say that you’re a truthful person when you lie all day. You can’t say that you’re generous when you don’t give anything to anyone. And you can’t say you’re punctual when you’re always late.
Well, you can say all this. But when it’s time to write them down, the facts just don’t match up.
And then you have to do a little reflection and to check what really happens. What you really want to be and see how to get there. What you don’t want to be and try to correct some of the traits you don’t like.
9. Focus on Yourself
It’s nice to focus on yourself a little every day. It does wonders for your mental – and your overall – health.
After all, don’t lie to yourself saying that you can run all day without taking a break and this won’t have a negative impact on your health. It just doesn’t work this way. It’ll catch up with you in the worst possible moment and you’ll collapse.
So every day, find a little time to focus on yourself. And writing a journal is a great way to do this because it requires you to calm down and focus on how you feel.
10. Scripta Manent
And last but not least: You have the memories written down. No matter how many years pass, you can go back, reread them and think: “Oh my! Was I really like that?”. 😛
You can read them again and remember how you felt at some of the most important moments in your life. Your first class, your first job, your first great success, meeting your best friends, your boyfriend or girlfriend, your husband or wife.
Time makes memories fade. But if you have written them down, then nothing can make you lose these memories.
These are the most important benefits of keeping a journal, in my opinion. Hopefully, you can see why you should start writing immediately. 😀
Let me know what you think about keeping a journal and, if you have any questions, I’d be happy to answer! Any suggestions are always welcome, so tell me about topics you’d like me to write.
And if you liked this, check out more topics on life improvement.
See you next time!