If your mind is cluttered and you find it difficult to define your intentions and what you want out of life, keeping a journal will give you the self-awareness to express yourself more effectively and productively. Before you start, you want to design your new habit of journaling so that you see the most benefit.
Step 1) Eliminate the Burnout Mentality
When you first begin to journal, you may look to change yourself overnight. Instead of buckling, straining, and stretching yourself thin for a quick boost, settle into the journey of self discovery and do not burn out. Forget about being a superhuman and ditch the idea that you’re going to see incredible gains in the short term. I started small with a two to three sentence summary of how my day went and where I needed to improve. The habit was tiny, but it worked. In fact, the ease and simplicity of taking these notes was the key to my journaling success. The cure for over-ambition is long term thinking. You have a life ahead of you, and make the effort to embrace the time you have.
Step 2) Turn Your “Why” into Fuel
Notice the time frame you have in mind. If you fast-forwarded 5 years from now, you should still see yourself journaling. You should also see the powerful benefits that have blossomed as well. The only guarantees are death and taxes, but understand that you have now placed journaling among the ranks those two dire guarantees. You’re no longer thinking with a burnout mentality, and now you have free reign to befriend the real reason why you want this habit. Tap into the 1 year, 5 year, 10 year, or even 30 year vision of where you see yourself and turn the energy you find into the leverage that will get you there.
Step 3) Make The Process Exciting
Who wants more chores anyways? We have enough so find ways create a process that is as simple and enjoyable as possible. These don’t require any genius stroke of creativity; they could as simple as journaling your achievements for the day so that you have something to look forward to putting down. I also recommend keeping a gratitude journal about whom and what your grateful for. The exciting part is that the source of your gratitude will be drawn forth, and the achievements and tasks you’ve completed will have acknowledgement and momentum. Your journal should be something you look at and be proud of. You are under no requirement to enjoy the time you take to journal, but you will surely find yourself sticking to the habit if you do.
Step 4) Review Your Journal Regularly
You put in the effort and consistency to make entries and have logged your life into your journal, but this will do you no good if there is no follow up. Our brains are programmed to forget the majority of what goes on which is why journaling is so valuable. It allows us to capture our exact state of mind, feelings, thoughts, and perspective at that time. Journaling by itself will forge self-reflection and self-awareness into our lives, but the real gold is found when we can go back in time occasionally to rediscover and expand ourselves into a deeper knowledge that we wouldn’t have had otherwise.