I’m a big believer in keeping a journal.
Not long ago I went through a mini mid-life crisis. My goals had been crushed to dust and I wasn’t at all where I thought I was supposed to be. On a whim, I bought colored pens for no other reason than they looked pretty.
I’m shallow like that.
Because they were pretty, I started writing just to see the colors. Again, shallow—but keep tracking with me. The more I wrote, the more I wanted to write. And the more I wanted to write, the more I remembered the purpose that was planted in my heart long before I let outside influences blow me off course.
In short, I rediscovered my vision.
Where would we be without the journals and diaries of the greats such as Anne Frank, Mark Twain, General Patton, Benjamin Franklin and Virginia Woolf?
Consider the amazing people in your life who passed away and left no record of their private thoughts and ideas. I’ve known some people who lived giant lives and I desperately wish I could’ve glimpsed inside their personal thoughts to see what made them who they were.
In addition to leaving a record of your own brilliance for future generations, there are myriad reasons to write down your ideas, thoughts, daily habits and your comings and goings:
- work out life issues—writing helps you sort through feelings and facts to reach conclusions
- record events—it’s just plain nice to be able to look back and remember
- plan your future—writing a plan has more power than wishing or dreaming
- evaluate ideas—as simple as pros/cons list, or writing lengthy explanations of your observations
- process emotions—relive joyful events and work out negative ones
- track goals—black and white proof of progress is more powerful than thinking you might be getting there
- express creativity—a blank space that’s all your own is teeming with possibilities
- aid your memory—writing imprints events in your mind
- brainstorm—writing helps your brain make important connections
- stress reduction—safe place to vent
These are just a few examples of the value regular journaling can bring. Just like there are many reasons to journal, there are many means and methods. Some people keep an electronic record, though I would argue in favor of good ol’ pen to paper.
Really, the question shouldn’t be if you journal, the questions are how often, and how has journaling enhanced your life? On Wednesday I’ll share my new favorite method of journaling, and on Friday I’ll give you a sneak peek inside my bullet journal.