What is a journal? How personal do we make our entries? Do we write them with restriction in case it is ever found or specifically to be read by an outsider, or do we write our completely inner most thoughts unabashed, for our own eyes only? Do we use it to simply vent, or for record, are they for re-reading, assessing, future help or are they simply an outlet? Should we keep separate journals for separate parts of our lives? One for personal matters, feelings, thoughts and one for goals, accomplishments, wishes and wants? Are they a record of facts, experiences and advice or a mish mash of personal jibber jabber?
I think its safe to say a journal can be any number of things and can be incredibly insightful, eye opening, and rewarding to the creator and also sometimes to others, depending on the type.
Personally my journal is a very personal thing, only I see it and IF I ever chose to allow anyone else to read it, they will be a very special person to me indeed. My journal is kind of like my friend, my confident, but it doesn’t judge or give false information, it doesn’t give misguided advice or try to warp my mumblings into coherency…It simply accepts.
When I was young I used to write a diary, much like a journal but to me my diary was all about my crazy thoughts, my emotions and turmoil, my trials, releasing the tension…when I read them back they are a desperate expression of everything I couldn’t say, or even make sense of. But there was no development, I was using it as an outlet but nothing more.
Now things have changed, for me a journal is more about a journey than just expression. Its a way of expressing but also of recording, of making sense, planning, improving oneself and I have to say it has been monumental in helping me through what has turned out to be probably the worst year of my life to date.
It really helps me to process my thoughts and feelings, but I refuse to scribble page and pages of nonsensical words, as I sit down to write I find a quiet place and time, I think….I process the things I itch to record, put the ramblings in order and write relatively concisely and with real meaning. Sometimes, the things I wanted to write, the negative or mixed up feelings often find themselves resolved before pen hits paper. I might mention them in a single sentence to record the fact it was there, I felt it but I can deal with it.
I also use this writing time to make sure I am grateful. Every day I write ‘thankful for’ and aim to list 3 things I am grateful for that day, anything from my health, abilities, specific people, opportunities, experiences or sometimes even just for a TV show I am enjoying, or that wine which helped me relax and feel better. There have been one or two days in the last 6 months where I have been unable to complete this, on my lowest of the low yet even on these days, even writing the title, ‘thankful for’ I know there are things, I know that I am just having trouble pinpointing them at that moment in time, I know I write them every day and have many thing but my mindset is just clouding them.
There are another two sections I do every day to ensure I am looking forwards to positive things and to ensure I am chasing those things. I do ‘wishes/wants’ and ‘goals’. Under wishes and wants I write anything, this could be big things like getting a nice house, having a great relationship or winning the lottery or it could be smaller or more personal things like mental clarity, or happiness.
Under goals I choose things often relating to my wants. Most are small steps I can take towards what I want over the next day or so: start playing the lottery, do certain activities I enjoy to make sure I feel happier, put aside thinking time on specific topics or research them to gain clarity, reach out to a certain person, or give them space, remind myself what I need to do to help the situations go in my favour.
And every day I look back on the previous day to see what I accomplished. I don’t reprimand myself for anything not done, this isn’t a race, its not a competition, its not work. As long as I am moving in the right direction and bearing my goals, wants and things I’m thankful in mind, then I am winning.
I also use my journal for several other useful things.
Firstly for recording my training, so quick notes on workouts, weight, reps and how it felt, just writing it before I do the workout means I can’t just procrastinate and not do it…it is written in pen, it is recorded and so I must do it, I will NOT have to record my failure to do this, it is the one time I am strict with my journal content and entries.
Secondly I use the back of the book for notes, notes to help me. There are lists of my good and bad points, things to work on. I have a 3 year plan, and steps to achieve larger goals. There are some yoga routines, body-brushing information, workout plans, supplement information, notes of names and websites I may find useful and ideas to look into at later dates when I have time.
Overall this relatively small notebook is an incredibly valuable asset, helping me in a number of ways on a daily basis. I would highly recommend people giving it a go.
You don’t need to write the same types of things I do, make it personal, adapt it to help you be the most positive and productive person you can be, it is definitely worth spending 10 minutes a day doing!