When you think about keeping a journal or a diary you often think about the little girls from the movies who always store their deepest secrets and desires in a small pink book and hide it under their beds. Or maybe you think that it’s un-adultlike to waste time describing your whole day in a book that you’d most likely fling somewhere and forget you had even written a thing there. That’s where you’re wrong and I’m going to tell you why in a second.
Journaling has always been around and has helped people all over the world learn more about themselves. One of the most famous Roman emperors Marcus Aurelius was said to have kept a diary of his own, describing in detail his whole day. In his teachings, he has said that this was one of the most beneficial things which helped him through dire times as an emperor.
Here are 3 reasons why you should start a journal:
Keeping track of patterns
People experience all kinds of struggles throughout their lives and often don’t know how they arose and even worse, don’t know how to stop them from returning. There was a time in my life where for several weeks I would get in a bad mood at some point in the morning for no reason. It was certainly not because of work or a particular person so it was a total mystery to me until I started tracking my steps each day. It turned out that because of the heavy food I was eating each morning I would get in a bad mood. So had I not kept track of my actions each day I may have just blamed this on external factors.
By having a journal you can notice things like that a lot easier and from there on think of a way to reverse a bad habit. We encounter so many things every day and are flooded with so much information that we can’t possibly remember all the things we did and didn’t do.
Keeping track of progress
Once you’ve already identified the problem you can now work on a resolution. Again, just relying on your memory won’t help you in any way. Not only will you be able to keep track of progress, but you will also be able to identify why it doesn’t work if you reach a plateau. As much as you may be determined to do something there will be all sorts of challenges you will face that will try to test you and change your mind.
The best thing about this is that at the end you will be able to see just how long you’ve been consistent with this. You will be able to see that even though you’ve failed X number of times that didn’t stop you from trying one more time and one more time after that.
Catching the thing that always manages to get away
For this one, having a To-do list could help you sort out which of the tasks on your To-do list slips all the time. As many people, we all have a specific thing we would like to start doing every day, but since it’s something that is way too new and out of our comfort zone that we always find a way and an excuse to leave it for the next day. I myself have one or two things like that and very often I’d blame my workout or something else for skipping doing it.
The way keeping a journal will help you out here is that it will show you at what point you lose motivation to do the rest of your tasks or at least the more important ones. In the morning we’re usually at our peak and that’s the time when we feel most motivated and ready to do whatever we have for the day. However, as time passes by we feel less motivated and lack the will to go on.
Most people say that you need to do the hardest thing first as it requires the most willpower and motivation. If you can’t do it first thing in the morning then you can at least find out which of the other tasks or daily situations get you out of the zone and make you ditch it.
At the end of the day, the things that appear the most insignificant and mundane to us can, in fact, be of good use to us. Very often we stress on only the bad things that happened to us throughout the day. The moment they happen to us we keep them in our heads and linger to them until we go to bed.
Keeping a journal will help you weed out those thoughts and convince you that your day wasn’t that bad after all. You won’t need to spend days thinking what went wrong and what you need to do next time as you’ll already have everything laid out in front of you.