Getting the most out of journaling
How did I get into journaling?
I was on a self-development challenge a few years ago and part of the challenges was to journal daily! I had never really considered this and I thought it was just filling in a diary or something similar, how wrong was I! We were given prompts to journal about, questions to ask ourselves and challenged to find the time each day to do it. The preference time to journal was either at the beginning or the end of the day. At first it felt a little awkward because you are questioning yourself and attempting to look at yourself from the outside looking in. This can be quite difficult and can seem like your picking faults with yourself but I soon discovered it was much more than this.
So what is journaling?
Journaling is asking yourself questions, getting your thoughts out of your head and onto a piece of paper (which is powerful in itself) and questioning those thoughts! Have you ever asked yourself, what is holding you back in your life? Write down whatever comes into your head, and then ask yourself, why? As mentioned it can feel awkward at first and you can struggle with it, some people take to it like a duck to water, others take time to really get their thoughts onto paper and question those thoughts. However, you don’t have to be asking those sorts of questions every day or even week! You can try asking yourself what you are grateful for today, just list three things you are grateful for and why you are grateful for them and you will feel better.
Had a great day? Journal about it, why was it great? How can you make tomorrow and the day after just as good?
Journaling has a way of making you reflect on your thoughts, it can help you live in the present moment and is great for your mental wellbeing. I’ve actually had some great ideas when I journal. I tend to journal in the morning, first thing when my brain is more relaxed and creative, I always come up with more answers when I journal first thing in the morning.
How often should you journal?
At the moment I am journaling daily, I am working on lots of goals at the moment and journaling helps me keep my focus. I know people that journal each evening so they can reflect on the day and getting their thoughts on paper so they sleep better. It’s about finding what works for you, if you have a really busy life then finding 15 minutes a day to journal could change your day, your week or even your life! It is that powerful and I find the more you have going on in your life the more you should make time to journal. Equally though maybe you want more out of life, journaling can help with this, just asking yourself the questions, what do you want in different areas of your life? Followed by why and then how can I get there?
Should I keep my journal private?
Yes, unless you have something you really want to share. Even then your journal is your private property and a way for you to write down your thoughts. If you think someone may read your journal you are less likely to be honest with yourself or your thoughts.
I want to journal and am struggling to get going?
Try relaxing, take six deep breaths, in for six seconds, hold for two and breath out for four seconds. This will help relax you and help you become more creative with your thoughts.
Included below are some prompts to help you.
1. What do I want out of these different areas of my life?
· Career or business
2. Why do I want those things?
· Think about the why behind the reasons you want to be healthier or have more money, better or different relationships. This will help you work towards your goals and give you some direction
3. What pisses me off and why?
· We all have things that piss us off. But why do they, is it really worth wasting energy and focus on little things? It’s a great question as you can look at yourself and see how you react in certain situations.
4. Journal about a quote or something you have ready.
· Why did it inspire you, try to work out the deeper meaning and connection to you. Why did it inspire you, what are you going to do as a result of this inspiration? Really try and reflect on what this means to you.
5. Write out your goals for the day, week, month and what you are going to do to achieve them.
· Ask yourself about the barriers that might get in the way and how you can overcome them.
· Write about how you will feel when you achieve these goals – this is a great way to make yourself feel better.
6. Write about what makes you happy.
· Another great way to make yourself feel better is by writing about the things that make you happy and how you can build more of these things into your life.
7. What have been your recent challenges?
· Had a day where is was tougher than normal, write about it, why was it tougher than normal, did you overcome everything and get done what you wanted to get done?
· How can you learn from days like this and make today and the next day a better day?
· Write our possible solutions to your challenges and what could work for you.
8. What are your fears?
· Weather they are rational or irrational we all have fears, writing about them and trying to work out ways to overcome them is a great start. Fears are quite common, google the top 10 fears, you will be surprised how common your fear is.
9. Have a theme for the week or even month to journal about.
· If you are unsure of themes think about specific dates, events or things you are working on or towards.
10. Write down positive affirmations, these can relate to your goals or be uplifting, positive and empowering but they must be aligned to your beliefs, you have to have belief in them. Spend at least 5 minutes doing this and you can always use these to say out loud every day. Examples below:
· My health is of upmost importance to me
· I am working towards a healthier me
· My strength is greater than my struggles
· The tools I need to succeed are within my possession
· I have decided that I am good enough
· I can achieve my goals in life
· I have a choice to be whoever I want to be
11. Write down your ideas and explore them more.
· How can you make it work?
· What do you need to do to make it happen?
· What are the benefits of your idea?
12. What are you good at?
· What do you enjoy about these things?
· How can you do more of these things?
13. Record your wins?
· What has gone well?
· Jobs that you have got done.
· What have you done recently you would class as a win.
14. What would you like to learn about?
· Skills you would like to learn
· New hobbies you would like to try and take up
· How would you be able to do these things
15. Make a list of things you should let go of. Letting go and moving on relinquishes control of whatever it is over you. You don’t have to forgive, or even forget but you if you can find a way forward without it holding you back, your life will be so much more positive.
· Things that have happened in the past
16. Write about the lessons you have learned in the past by making mistakes.
· What did you learn from doing something wrong?
· What are you now doing differently as a result of the mistake?
· How much better is your life because of this mistake?
There is so much more to journaling than you first think, it can transform you in a very short period of time. It helps give you clarity and control over your life.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.
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