On sharing “The Success Indicator” by MaryEllen Tribby on our Facebook page, there were many people wondering why a successful person would keep a journal. What difference does keeping a journal make? A big difference, in fact. It’s the reason why I give my clients a journal of their own at our first session together. Why?
1. A journal is good for you. The reasons are complex, but studies show that keeping a journal can have a range of health outcomes, from improvement of organ function to a feeling of greater psychological well-being, and social and behavioural outcomes, from general improved performance to quicker re-employment after job loss. (You can read the study here.)
2. A journal makes us accountable to the person who truly counts: ourselves. Writing goals in our journal means there is less running away. The beauty of this is that…
3. A journal records our successes, and how far we’ve come. Next time we have an attack of the “I-can’t-do-its”, all we have to do is look inside for proof that we can, because we did, and we can again. And again and again and again.
4. A journal requires beneficial thought processes. Writing in your journal is not the same as writing a tweet or Facebook status – not even the most thoughtful status or witty tweet. Pondering “How?”, “Why?”, “Why not?” as we write provides us with invaluable insight.
5. A journal helps with problem solving and quieting the mind. “Circular thinking” can keep you stuck in the same place with no answers to be had. But writing in a journal is the opposite of circular: it’s narrative, with an actual destination in mind, which will help provide answers and efficiently bring the circling to a stop.
6. A journal is meditative. Hey – you don’t need yet another person telling you the benefits of meditation and meditative activities. Let’s just say It Is a Good Thing.
7. A journal is reflective. This is how it differs from a diary: a diary can just be dumpage for our feelings, but a journal requires reflection, which is the very basis of learning and growth. Writing about an experience, what we learned from it, what we will do differently next time, is powerful stuff.
8. A journal can be specific to your needs. You can have a journal for a particular goal (such as a fitness journal) or interest (such as a creativity journal) or an area you want to develop (such as a gratitude journal) or a particular time and place (such as a travel journal).
9. A journal honours feelings. A journal doesn’t judge. Doesn’t think your mother raised you better than that language you’re stabbing onto the page. Doesn’t think you don’t love your kids just because you’re writing that they drove you nuts today. We can release our feelings here without fear, and perhaps without imposing them on the people around us when they could be seen as negative.
10. A journal is cool. Many notable people kept journals, and the journals they kept delight and teach us to this day. Some people, like Anne Frank, became notable because they kept journals. In keeping a journal, you will be part of a cool tradition.
But you don’t have to take my word for it. Find out for yourself. Keep a journal diligently every day for two weeks, and you tell me.
©Violeta Balhas and The Brilliant Agency 2013