I’m going on my trip to Tasmania next week, and a trip always means one thing to me: a journal. I love it. The journal records far more than the trip: it becomes, in years to come, a trip itself.
Journals of different kinds – writer’s journal, gratitude journal, daily journal – have been faithful companions all my life, so it was kinda gratifying when The Success Indicator by MaryEllen Tribby listed it as one of the things successful people keep. But it puzzled many others. After all, how much of a difference could keeping a journal make?
Lots, it turns out.
1. A journal is good for you. Studies show that keeping a journal can have a range of health outcomes, from improving organ function to a feeling of greater psychological wellbeing. It can also have social and behavioural outcomes.
2. A journal makes you accountable to the person who truly counts: you.Writing goals in a journal means there is less running away. The beauty of this is that…
3. A journal records your successes, and how far you’ve come. Next time you have an attack of the “I-can’t-do-its”, all you have to do is look inside for proof that you can, because you did, so you can again.
4. A journal requires beneficial thought processes. Pondering “How?”, “Why?”, “Why not?” while writing gives invaluable insight.
5. A journal helps with problem solving and quieting the mind. “Circular thinking” can keep you stuck, 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 stop the circling.
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. A journal requires reflection, which is the very basis of learning and growth. Writing about an experience, what you learned from it, what you 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 or kindness 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. You can release our feelings here without fear, and perhaps without imposing them on the people around you when you’d rather not.
10. A journal is cool. Many notable people kept journals, and the journals they kept delight and teach us to this day. In keeping a journal, you will be part of a cool tradition.
But you don’t have to take my word for it. A journal can transform your life in just two weeks, so will you join me? You keep yours, I’ll keep mine, and then we’ll compare notes when we’re done!