Journaling is a fantastic way to supercharge your self-development efforts. When your thoughts are still in your mind, they can be challenging to analyze objectively.
Getting things out of your head and down on paper provides a totally different perspective. Thinking tends to be very sequential; one thought leads to the next, which leads to the next. We get caught in a linear track and miss out on the bird's-eye view of the whole thought process. With journaling you gain the ability to see things from a third-person view versus a first-person view.
Three Great Benefits of Journaling
1. Solve complex challenges. When you write the issue at hand down on paper, the solution for a complex challenge often suddenly becomes obvious. The ability to re- examine the issue from a third-person perspective can make all the difference.
2. Increase clarity. One of the best times to lean on your journal is when you're filled with uncertainty about what action to take. Many things become clearer when you can get them down in writing.
3. Validate your progress. Sometimes we feel like we're spinning our wheels and not making genuine progress. When you're feeling this way, go back and review your old journal entries. You’ll be amazed at how much progress you've made since then. And you’ll also probably realize that you're taking huge strides right now, too!
How to Start a Journal
You might envision creating a journal in a one of those blank books you can pick up in the bookstore. While this option certainly has a romantic feel to it, you might want to consider keeping an electronic journal.
Electronic journals can be essentially free; you could start a blog on a free website or simply use your word processing program.
The big advantage with electronic journals is the ability to search for things. Imagine going back through 10 years of written records, trying to find a specific entry.
Additionally, if you type faster than you write, an electronic journal can be beneficial when you’re trying to get complex thoughts out in a short period of time.
Also, there are several software programs available specifically developed for journaling. If you can spare the $20-$30, they’re worth checking out, and provide a lot more flexibility than the traditional pen and paper approach.
Habit-forming: Make Journaling a Daily Activity
Even if you think that there aren't enough interesting things happening in your life on a daily basis to bother recording them, don’t let that deter you. New habits are much easier to implement if the activity is performed on a daily basis. Even getting down a couple of sentences every night is a great idea. You'll be surprised how often you'll write much more. This practice can even help make your life more exciting and fulfilling. Just knowing that you have to journal each night may compel you to make your life a little more adventurous, just so you have something interesting to write. Try it! During the day, you'll notice that little thought in the back of your mind wondering what you can write about tonight.
Get started with your journal today. It's an activity that has little to no cost but provides numerous benefits. You’ll see your clarity increase and have a much better sense of just how much progress you really are making in your life.
Start journaling today and watch your self-development take on a new perspective.