Trust me, I am not going to suggest that you write a lengthy prose about all your thoughts. But, small time journaling has always been key for me. Especially now with so many changes going on in my life. Some days I only write a few sentences. Some days I simply paste inspiring pictures or quotes down on the paper. It is never forced, but it is always healing. Journaling in any form forces you to reflect on your life regularly, and it is fascinating what you discover about yourself. It becomes more obvious where your challenges lie when you have to put your experiences down on paper.
It can also serve as a great way to record your life and see how you’ve grown over the years. You might be surprised three years from now when you look back on today.
It can be tough to get started: what do you write about? Should you use a notebook, word processor or something fancy like a leather-bound journal? How much time will it take? What if I don’t like what comes up?
Breathe, my friend. It is all good. Journaling is YOUR time. You do whatever you please.
Write one sentence today. “Today I walked the dog and was able to take 20 min for myself. I listened to the new Adele song as escaped my busy life for a few min”.
These tips can help you get started:
- Choose your medium. It really doesn’t matter where you record your life; all have their advantages and disadvantages. Just choose something that works for you. It can be a small notepad, or sticky notes that you put in a journal. It can be a scrapbook of magazine pictures, quotes, or headlines that mean something to you in that moment. You can color, you can draw. It is all about how you want to express yourself.
- Notebooks do tend to be a better choice. Many of us spend all day typing away on our computers. Journaling in a notebook gives you a chance to manually write something. It seems more sacred to write with our own hand. Computers can also be distracting; you might sit down to do your journaling and end up surfing the Internet. Step away from the computers my friends!
- Never miss more than one day. Things come up, and it’s easy to miss a day here and there. If you miss more than one day in a row, you might wind up missing five days before you know it. Be consistent. It can be difficult to go back and fill in the blanks at a later date. If you travel or do not have a consistent schedule, than keep a small notepad in your purse to jot down ideas as they come.
- Set a schedule. If you use a notebook, keep it by your bed or the coffee pot; that way you won’t miss it. Set a reminder on your computer. It makes more sense to do it at the end of the day as you reflect on your day, but any time is better than never. Choose a time and stick to it.
- Keep it short. Of course, you can write as much as you want. But if you keep it short, you’ll be a lot more likely to do it regularly. Even just a few bullet points can be enough to capture the essence of what happened in your day. It takes the pressure off of feeling that you have to write a novel.
- If you do forget and skip a couple of days, rely on your records. You can look back at your calendar or planner and your emails to jog your memory about how the days were spent. Sometimes reflection can create some real awareness of how you are moving forward, or being held back in your life.
- Track your progress toward your goals. List the things that are most relevant to you at the time. For example, if you’re trying to lose weight, mention related victories, missteps, and your weight fluctuations. If you’re trying to earn an extra $1,000 this month, keep a running tally of your progress.
- CELEBRATE your victories! Give yourself credit when you hit a goal, or even make a small move forward. We forget to give ourselves a pat on the back, and tend to only focus on our setbacks. Journal about your smallest victories, and be proud of even the smallest of accomplishments. THEY ALL COUNT.
Before you know it, you’ll have a shelf full of your journal entries. Consider that writing just half of a page each day would be over 3,000 pages in 10 years!