Always carry a notebook. And I mean always. The short-term memory only retains information for three minutes; unless it is committed to paper you can lose an idea for ever.” – Will Self
“The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another, and his humblest hour is when he compares the volume as it is with what he vowed to make it.” — J.M. Barrie
I have never been consistent at journalling or documenting the important things in my life. AS much as I love writing, daily journalling is something I just can’t seem to get a hang of.
But I do know that some of the most influential people in history kept detailed journals of their lives and most still do.
When I do journal, I usually write about what I read in my Bible, a dream I had last night, an experience I had yesterday, or what I hope to accomplish today. Sometimes I will write on one topic; sometimes more.
Why do you need to document your life’s journey? Why is journalling an important exercise?
As I round up this series, I am reminded of the importance of journaling and documenting every major step in our journey to creating the life we want.
There are plenty of reasons to keep a journal for yourself. Here are a few:
7 Good Reasons to Begin Journalling
Journalling boosts confidence. First off, you are writing for yourself rather than an audience. You are your first audience, your critic, your fan etc. This is tremendously liberating and deeply satisfying as you are not under some pressure to write ‘perfectly’. This enables you to get comfortable in your own skin and reaffirms your abilities when the ugly head of self-doubt appears.
Understand the context.
Life is often happening so quickly I usually have little time to stop and reflect on where I am in the Bigger Story. Journaling helps me to discern the difference between the forest and the trees.
A journal serves as a permanent record of our progress:
Success can be quickly forgotten. And when it is, it becomes easy to get frustrated with our pursuit. As with any pursuit, there are times we may feel like we have not accomplished anything despite all the invested effort and energy. During those moments, it is helpful to look back and be reminded of our past successes.
Record significant lessons.
I’m a better student when I am taking notes. Writing things down leads to even deeper understanding and, I hope, wisdom. I want to write down mistakes I’ve made and what I’ve learned, so I don’t have to re-learn it later.
Journaling Clears Your Emotions
Several research studies have found that writing in your journal reduces stress.These benefits include: Increased focus, Deeper level of learning, order, action, and release, Holding thoughts still so they can be changed and integrated, Detaching and letting go of the past, Allowing you to re-experience the past with today’s adult mind
When I am in an intensely emotional mood, journaling helps me more fully experience and understand those emotions.
After I’ve vented on the pages of my journal, I quickly find a release. Objectivity returns and I’m able to move forward.
Without journalling, those emotional experiences can be crippling for hours, days, and even years. However, an honest and inspired journal session can be the best form of therapy — quickly returning you better and smarter than you were before.
Process previous events.
What happens to me is not as important as the meaning I assign to them. Journaling helps me sort through my experience and be intentional about my interpretation.
A written account allows our story to inspire others.
Our journal is our story. It is our account of moving from Point A to Point B. And rightly shared, it can inspire others to do the same. We also get to leave something behind for our children that tell our story, mistakes we made, failures, lessons learned and what we’ve accomplished.
Wondering what to document? Here are a few suggestions:
Document and track the progress and process of accomplishing your goals…
Document failures, mistakes and successes…
Document memories and lessons learned in your journey… and more.
I dare say that journaling is one of the most important things to do in your life. If done effectively, it will change everything in your life for the better.
You’ll become the person you want to be.
You’ll design the life you want to live.
Your relationships will be healthier and happier.
You’ll be more productive and powerful.
Over to you: Do you journal or document the important things in your life? What benefits are there to journalling?