JOURNAL-KEEPING

The exercise of writing down reflections about events experienced each day is an invaluable way to evaluate your performance...set higher standards of excellence...and find new ways to solve difficult problems.

WHAT A JOURNAL CAN DO

Many people resist keeping a journal because they think they aren't good enough writers... that someone will read their innermost thoughts...or that they have much more important things to do.

Instead of thinking of a journal as a diary - a book in which you merely relate the day's events - think of it as a container for self reflection, self-expression and self exploration. Retelling the day's events is less relevant than the act of expressing your thoughts.

POWERFUL BENEFITS OF KEEPING A JOURNAL

  • Self-expression.
  • Stress reduction.  Many people say they feel calmer and spiritually at ease after a journal-writing session.
  • Stronger relationships. Writing about people you know will help you understand them better and put you in touch with your own feelings about them.
  • Better organizational skills. By structuring yourself to write regularly, you automatically develop stronger organization skills, such as list making and time management.

RULES OF JOURNALING

You can schedule 30 minutes with your journal at the same time each evening...or just pick up a pen when the mood strikes you.  Easy ways ways to get started...

  • Put yourself in the mood.
  • Jot down a few lines to summarize the high or low points of your day.

WHAT TO PUT IN YOUR JOURNAL

  • Explore the roads not taken in your life.  What would your life be like right now? This technique is an extremely powerful tool for developing decision-making skills about your future.
  • Imagine yourself one month from now - and one year from now. Where are you now? Where do you want to be? What are some of the things you can do to get there? Write it all down, as a confession to yourself.  The words will awaken your intuitive and creative wisdom, which, in turn, will help you make better decisions.
  • Create a list of topics of the day.  On a sheet of paper, list the numbers one to 31.  Next to each number, place a topic of personal interest.
  • Use a springboard to focus your attention. Examples: "Why am I feeling so angry?"   "What I want most in life is..."   "What's the most important thing I need to do tomorrow?" The springboard approach is just one way to break your writer's block.
  • Write an unsent letter.
  • Create dialogues.  Another way to express deep feelings is to write about your feelings - and then write in the imagined voice of the other person.
  • Freeze frame happy moments.  Immerse yourself in recollection, filling the page with physical and emotional detail.  Most people report they feel refreshed and energized after writing out their favorite moments.
Each day of the month, use the corresponding topic as a springboard for your writing down your thoughts. This process will remind you to monitor regularly the important areas of your life.  Your journal will make you aware of how life and dreams change, how some remain the same, and, best of all, it teaches you how to think clearly about everything you do.

Kathleen Adams, The Center for Journal

 

Last Updated: 8/13/14