A journal can serve as a wonderful tool for not only recording your life, but also for helping to find solutions to life’s challenges.
Many people view a journal as the same thing as a diary, but there is a fundamental difference. A diary is used to record external events in your life, but a journal is to record your thoughts, feelings, and ideas. The difference can be profound.
Consider these benefits of keeping a journal:
1. A journal creates focus. Few of us really take the time to examine our lives. We commonly feel that we either don’t have the time, it won’t be beneficial, or it’s simply too uncomfortable. By regularly making an appointment with yourself to work with your journal, you can create the necessary focus to make positive changes in your life.
2. A journal forces you to see the truth. We’re all amazing at fooling and distracting ourselves, but when the truth is right before our eyes in black and white, there’s no place to hide.
3. A journal releases stress. There’s something cathartic about getting your thoughts on paper. Reducing your stress also creates a more effective state of mind for solving challenges.
4. A journal provides a means of measuring progress and growth. Have you ever seen a friend’s child and noticed how much they’ve grown? You wouldn’t notice the growth if you saw that child every day. Our own personal growth is similar.
· Small changes aren’t noticed when you’re exposed to them daily. A journal provides a way of looking back and seeing just how far you’ve come.
Use your journal to solve challenges:
1. Record your thoughts about the challenges you’re facing. Find a quiet place. What is the fundamental issue? How does it make you feel? How would your life improve if you were able to get this challenge fully under control?
2. Keep a list of possible solutions. Over the course of several days, your mind can provide dozens of possible solutions. Record them for future reference. Avoid being judgmental. Simply record the ideas that pop into your head.
3. Develop an action plan. Eventually, one idea will stand above the rest. If you find yourself torn between multiple options, do whatever it takes to make a decision. Even flipping a coin is better than remaining indecisive.
· Start your action plan with small steps that are simple and easy to accomplish. A little momentum can be invaluable.
4. Record your progress. Record the actions that you took each day to overcome the obstacle in your life. Also record your thoughts and feelings about your progress. If you can make yourself feel good about the process, success is much more likely.
· Acknowledge improvement, no matter how small.
5. Look for dissonance. Everyone is self-sabotaging to varying degrees. Record your thoughts and behaviors that are creating resistance to your progress. For example, if you need to lose 25 pounds but you’re eating ice cream every day, that’s a behavior that’s not supporting your goal.
· Create a list of solutions for dealing with your counterproductive habits.
6. Make journaling a daily habit. It’s easy to let things slip through the cracks and create even bigger challenges if you don’t write in your journal each day. Take advantage of this easy way to keep your life moving forward in a way that pleases you.
A journal can be an effective way to create positive change in your life. Even if you’re skeptical, give journaling a try for a few months and measure the improvement in your life. With regular effort, you’re certain to reap many positive rewards.