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Growing up, many of us were encouraged to keep a journal or a diary. We might not have been aware of the benefits it came with but we did it all the same. Writing your thoughts in your little book of secrets seemed so mysterious and exciting until we grew out of it. With the everyday jostle and a busy schedule, sometimes it becomes hard for one to consider writing in a journal. Just like how we become so pumped up at the beginning of the year, we see the need to document our resolutions and how the previous year went, it should continue like that throughout the year. The reason why many of our resolutions are never realized is how we choose not to make a habit of journaling.
One might be wondering why they should keep a journal as it might seem trivial. There are many benefits to keeping a journal, it has been seen to be a great way of reducing stress and anxiety in turn improving a person`s mood. People who keep journals have better mental health and even physical health as the immune system is boosted. It helps you to organize, clarify, and articulate your thoughts. You develop better self-knowledge and problem-solving skills. It even aids with creativity and innovation as you get time to brainstorm on ideas, enhancing the curiosity to learn new things.
Keeping a journal sounds easy, l mean what could go wrong with just writing your thoughts in a book? Plenty of us at some point picked up a book and started journaling maybe for a couple of days and probably just lost interest in the process. It takes a lot of willpower and organization for one to be able to be consistent about keeping a journal. Below are some amazing tips to help you keep going once you start, all the while enjoying the process as well as getting the most out of it.
Always have your journal with you
Your journal shouldn’t be a book for special occasions or just one you use when you want to write something special. Dump all your thoughts into it. By always being with your journal you give yourself more chances to write in it. You get to scribble down ideas and decisions you might need to get back to. Inspiration can strike anytime. And if you have a journal that you can also color in, it allows you to have something to do that is both therapeutic and relaxing. A coloring journal allows you to plan out your week or further ahead, while also having fun coloring.
It is not always easy to make detailed entries in your journal especially when you always have a busy schedule or when you are someone who doesn’t really like writing. A bullet journal will work just perfectly for you. Write lists instead,
- things you like,
- what excited you today.
- Interesting quotes you come across
- bucket lists.
You don’t have to narrate your whole day.
Create a layout that works for you
Write in a way that makes the experience enjoyable, one that allows you to go back at some time and still understand what you were writing about. If you list your goals, things you want to work on, let them be clear also with a specified time frame that allows you to go back to them and track your progress. Include how you plan to achieve the desired goal in well-articulated steps.
Don’t be hung up on perfection
Many times we end up losing the zeal to write because we will be obsessing about doing it the right way. There is no right way to do it. Embrace your thoughts and go wherever they take you, it is alright to be spontaneous. Your handwriting doesn’t have to be perfect, that idea doesn’t have to make sense entirely before you can scribble it down. If you find it difficult to write anything down unless it’s “perfect”, then before you start, write at the top, “no one else has to see this”or “practice pages only” or something else that will encourage you to write, rather than edit yourself before starting to write.
Don’t overthink it…
Write it down no matter how ridiculously big or how small the idea might be. Write about what scares you; your long-term goals, the short-term ones and be sure to always document your wins and celebrate them no matter how small they might be. Keep your journal entries short and easy to follow up on. Use diagrams or mind maps or speech bubbles or drawings of scrolls or whatever you want to record a few words and make them stand out.
Make it a culture, it might not necessarily be every day but to make the habit stick it is advisable to write daily and even push it with a specific time you find flexible. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time you give yourself – five minutes daily to write up a few thoughts. You can even choose to write during a specific activity during your day, if you take a bus to work or to school you can even make the bus ride a time for reflection and writing daily. Set reminders if you are one to forget.
Eliminate distractions while journaling
To be in sync with your mind and to able to tap into the creative realm your mind should be free of distractions. Find a serene spot that is relaxing which makes it easier for you to focus. If music calms you down, play some to shut out all other distractions. Or maybe color in and focus on the coloring. It is surprising what useful ideas suddenly start appearing!
No need to make it too serious!
Journaling should be fun. If you love color and glitter, if you are into pictures include some in it. It does not have to be strictly writing. Spice it up to keep it interesting in line with your preferences. Sketch a drawing if you want to.
If you have not yet started the journaling journey, anytime is the right time to do it. Don’t wait for the beginning of the month or the year, start now. Grab a book and get on it, you will not regret it!