I was about eight when I was given my first journal. I remember my parents giving all of us kids journals at a family evening activity. I am guessing keeping a journal was the topic, but for me all I remember was receiving that journal. Then a few years later for Christmas my Great grandma, Sophie, gave all her grandkids journals as a Christmas gift. That is also the only memory I have of that Christmas; her picture was inside of it and it is something I treasure. In both memories, the act of being given a journal meant something to me, even at a young age I wanted to record my thoughts.
Inconsistently over the years I have kept a journal. Whether it was notes of the day, a calendar of events, or writing in a journal, keeping and documenting my thoughts seemed to matter to me. But, I couldn’t be consistent with it.
It is consistency that I think most of us lack and are, at times, a little perplexed as to why we can’t be consistent with writing down our daily thoughts. Is it that we run short on topics and content? Do we find that we are living the same repeated pattern, just on a different day?
Then why bother journaling, and what difference would it make if I do?
Reflecting on where I was then to where I am now truly helped me gain a perspective that might only have happened through keeping a journal. When you decide to keep a journal, you are deciding to grow as a person through self-reflection.
Every day I am trying to live a life on purpose. A life with openness and curiosity. In my old journal writing days I was a master at finding blame, excuses, and reasons why “others” had made it “impossible” for me to do what I wanted to do. I had truly mastered being a victim and playing that part. There are still times I might find my thoughts going down that road of victimhood, but now from creating more awareness, I can catch myself before it gets to a point that my thoughts and actions are not serving me or the people around me that I love.
For this reason, my old victimhood journals are priceless to me, not because I want to relive the pain, but because I had captured my thinking process in real time. These are emotions and thoughts during a time when I felt I couldn’t breathe. I can’t second guess my decision when I made them in the past from what I knew then. If I am truly evolving as a person, I will have gained more insight as my view could have changed over time. Looking back, I can feel the pain, but I know that pain was multiplied due to my own thoughts. Seeing that growth makes my journals that much more valuable to me.
Here are a few questions and tips that might help you in your journal writing endeavors:
Why are you deciding to take note of your life?
It is important to not judge yourself when asking this question instead ask with curiosity.
How do you want to take note?
Will you be doing hard copy or digital?
When will you journal?
Find a time a place a routine that you are willing to fit into your life.
Lastly, not a question but a suggestion: don’t beat yourself up if you fall of the wagon. We all fall off the wagon at some point. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have had to get up after falling of the wagon. Remember give yourself and others grace. As we could use more of that in our world.