Journaling is life’s homework you impose on yourself! Boo…why would you want to do that?
You get out of life what you put into it.
Period. The end.
If you don’t give yourself some homework for life, then you may fail.
You may be one of the lucky ones smart enough to barely get by with a “passing grade,” but you’re definitely not reaching your full potential.
Do you want to reach your full potential? If the answer is no, then you can stop reading now.
If the answer is yes then great!
Why is journaling so important and why should you take the time to do it?
Journaling is so important to your personal development. It enhances self-discipline and helps you achieve your goals with some focus and direction. It’s also vital to inducing mindfulness and self-awareness which of course enhances your emotional intelligence. Writing is also extremely therapeutic. It can be a way to purge bad thoughts. It’s the best way to heal yourself. It’s so important to journal throughout your life whenever you face a problem.
A lot of people; however, don’t know how to journal! That’s okay. I’m sure there’s different ways to go about doing it, but I’ll share my process if you need some help.
First of all, why should you write stuff down?
Here’s why you need to write stuff down and keep a journal.
Your gut knows more than you do. You may not understand why you’re getting a gut reaction to something when it first hits. Your subconscious knows more than you do. Your gut is your body’s way of telling you that something is lurking back there in your subconscious mind and you need to pay attention!
You may not fully understand how to solve a problem. Most of the time we don’t fully comprehend what exactly the problem is. We don’t always understand why we feel a certain way at first. That’s why you write about it. When it’s in your gut that means it lies in your subconscious. When you feel something and you’re unsure of what you should do, then you should write about it.
When you write about it, you bring it out of your subconscious and to the forefront of your mind.
If it’s not at the forefront of your mind, then you can’t begin to consciously understand it. Therefore, you can’t fully address it.
When you write about something it makes it more real. When you write about what’s bothering you it means you’re acknowledging it. When you acknowledge it, there’s a better likelihood that you will actually do something about it! If you ignore it and don’t write about it, then the moment passes. When that same feeling comes back again (as it most definitely will) you still won’t fully understand it or know how to address it. If you write about it, then you begin to have an understanding of the why’s. You pull some of that stuff out of your subconscious through journaling.
Oh, and I’m not saying you have to write in your journal every day. Some people do but I don’t! Write when you feel something and when you’re unsure of what exactly you’re feeling, or what you should do. It doesn’t have to be every single day!
When do you need to write stuff down?
Write about anything and everything that’s troubling you. Write about anything that you’re trying to accomplish. Write about who you want to be. If you’re single, write out the kind of person you want to be with. When you write about it, it makes it more real. It makes it easier to pin point when you see it. Writing about it makes it more obvious.
If something a guy says to you gives you a “weird” feeling in any way shape or form you need to write about it. If you’re not sure how you feel about any given situation and it’s causing you stress, then you need to write about it. If you’re simply not sure what to do, then write about it.
I was watching a friends episode the other day. It was the episode where Ross can’t decide whether or not to be with Rachel or the other girl he just met. It’s the one where he finds out how Rachel really feels about him. What does he do? He gets Chandler to type up a list of pros and cons about Rachel on his computer. (I prefer writing to typing because I think it cements it more in your mind, but that’s just me) Basically, it’s throughout this process that he realizes who he really wants to be with. He is entertaining the subconscious (and conscious) reasons to be with Rachel.
(I posted the clip at the end of this post if you want a good laugh today) 🙂
When you create a list of pros and cons it’s a simpler version of journaling. When you write things down it simply helps you process information faster. When you write it down, you can then study the list. You may find that what may be considered a negative can actually be turned into something positive. (I talked about this concept in a previous post here) You may find there are way more positives than negatives. Writing this type of list is a form of journaling.
Do you know how to journal?
I always talk about how important it is to make your lists and write things down. I think I say to do this in almost every blog post! It occurred to me the other day that some people haven’t journaled before and may not know how to actually do it! I don’t think there’s really a right or wrong way, but I have a process I use that I’m happy to share.
Here’s my process…
- I write down the issue, question, or whatever is bothering me.
- I write down how it makes me feel.
- I write down my fears surrounding the issue.
- I then address the fears and determine the worst that could happen. I write this down.
- I write down if I think these feelings are healthy feelings or unhealthy and possibly selfish feelings.
- I write down my plan to address the unhealthy or selfish feelings. We all have unhealthy reasons for doing things. All of us. That’s okay. This is where you learn if you may be acting irrationally based on your fears you wrote down previously. Pay attention to that fear! This is what’s most likely holding you back from either fixing the issue, or understanding it. You will learn here WHY you’re afraid of taking the next step.
- I write down the outcome that I want to achieve.
- I write down my plan to address the issue based on my healthy feelings while taking into consideration my fears.
- I tell myself it’s okay to be afraid. I also tell myself that I can do it. I write this down too. I also write down that I will do my best and be kind to myself and others in the process.
- I close my journal.
Revisit your journal!
Go back and revisit once a week, or when you have a new feeling, epiphany or experience with your issue. Write down when you have a set-back. (Hint: You will!) Go back and write more. Continue to add notes to your journal. You can write stuff off to the side on the same page. You can write stuff sideways on the page if you want! It’s your journal and it can look how ever you want. Just keep writing. Did those things that you feared actually happen? Are you implementing your plan or have you strayed and need to get back on track?
As you write more and more it becomes clearer to you. Track your progress. Are you making progress? Are you progressing? No? Write about why you think you’re not progressing. Write about what’s holding you back and how you plan to address that.
What’s preventing you from moving forward? What are the unanswered questions? How do you think you can you answer them? What actions can you take to figure out how to move forward? Hint: You will make mistakes. That’s okay. Go back and WRITE about them.
Then rinse and repeat!
The more you write about it, the more you WILL understand it.
The more you understand it, the more likely you are to effectively address it.
Can’t address it entirely as you would like? That’s okay, because you’ve now learned something about yourself. Maybe it’s not so great, but hey we all have our issues right? Write down a new plan or a workaround that works for you based on what you’ve learned about yourself. There’s always a way. There’s always a solution. You just have to find the solution that works for YOU.
What’s happening in your mind?
At this stage I can tell you what’s happening in your mind. You’ve brought it to the forefront of your mind. Now it’s no longer in your subconscious. Now you’re dealing with your issue. You will begin to make better decisions because you will simply be more consciously aware. Your brain will begin to recognize the issue when it pops up. Your brain will understand when your fears about the issue start to take over and it will be able to adapt easier. You will be able to think more rationally and behave accordingly.
If you’re single, you must find someone who can handle your issues (and vice versa).
In a relationship? Great, now that you fully comprehend your issue, you can now better communicate that issue to your spouse. You can now fully communicate to your spouse or romantic interest, what you need because of this issue. Kindly of course as I always say! If you’re dating someone and they can’t provide it to you, then put on your big boy pants and move on. You can’t demand something of someone if they don’t understand it. The more you understand it, the better you will be able to communicate it. I cannot stress this enough.
You’ve learned something new about yourself, or possibly tackled an issue you’re having in your life. Maybe you haven’t tackled it, but you’ve brought it to the forefront of your brain. That will enable you to make better decisions simply because you know and have more clarity on the issue. It’s more “in your face” so to speak.
That’s personal growth. Personal growth leads to happiness.
Most of the time, you don’t completely fix the issue. Most of the time you simply have more clarity around it so it affects you less. When you’re better able to understand yourself, you’re better able to relate to others. This will have a positive impact on your relationships.
Listen, I’ve still got issues. The trick is that I know what they are and I’ve learned how to live with them! I’ve learned how to better adapt my behaviors in a way that addresses my issues. I’ve explored them enough to not allow my issues to completely take over my life and my thinking. I’m able to communicate about my issues more positively. It’s also helped me to understand the kind of person I need to be with.
What else can you write about in your journal?
Do you want to better at certain things? Make your list. Write about it. Can’t find a life partner? Are you having trouble getting relationships to stick, or trouble getting to that second date? Read Be Who You Want to Date. I explain in this post how to journal this.
Did you just get out of relationship with a toxic person? Has this left you doubting yourself? Write about it. Write down the awful things they said you were, or did. Write those things down and then on the other side of the page, write down YOUR truth. Correct the messaging so that you don’t entertain the negative self-talk. Don’t let another person’s thoughts about you determine who you think you are. You determine who you are. You and only you. You determine your value and you teach people how to treat you!
Also I can’t stress this enough…
You must be willing to take risks in life and accept that sometimes you WILL make mistakes. Just accept it now. Accept it but don’t let mistakes defeat you. You take risks so that you learn. When you learn you can then make better choices. Just keep learning. Never stop taking risks. Never stop learning and be resilient.
Remember. You are not what happens to you. You are what you make of yourself. You have the power to drastically change things in your life. Begin healing through journaling. You won’t be sorry.
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(clip below as promised!)