If your anything like me, when you think of journaling, you automatically think of a teenage girl sitting in her bedroom writing the words “dear diary”.
I used to think that only lonely teenage girls or secluded hermits used journals as a ‘friend to talk to’. I couldn’t have been more wrong; some of the wisest and most successful people ever known keep journals and there is good reason for it.
What is a Journal for?
A journal is a way of writing/documenting your goals, progress, thoughts, feelings and ideas every day. Now days, this can be done electronically or in a book. Why would you do that? you may be asking.
Well if you have goals, whether in your physical fitness, business, career, or relationships (in fact any area in life) keeping a journal is one of the most powerful tools you can use to help you in your success to achieving your goal.
Here are 7 reasons why you should keep a journal…
1) Dominating Thoughts
Keeping a journal forces you to commit your goals to writing. If you are familiar with the science of achievment you will know that writing your goals down is VERY important. Writing down your goal takes a desire in your mind and expresses it into to a physical form, where it can be worked upon until its achievement.
Its easy to get caught up in life and lose track of things you want to do or work towards. Things like work and family commitments can cause you to lose track of your desire to reach a certain goal. Writing a journal and documenting your progression towards goals causes you to focus on, and think about your goal every day. This ensures that your dominating thoughts are your goals. It keeps your mind locked onto your goal like a missile.
“Where focus goes, energy flows” – Tony Robins.
2) Your Own Boss
Since childhood we have been prompted and told what to do. Our parents tell us to clean our room or do our chores. Teachers in school tell us to keep working and concentrate. Bosses at work give us targets and stand over our shoulder making sure we are being productive. We are told when we can take breaks and for how long.
When we set a goal for ourself we are entering a whole new game. We are doing something that we have not been told to do and instead we are taking on something we want or need to do. The probem with this is we have no one to answer to. We have no one to check our progress or set the rules needed to achieve the outcome; like we have all been used to.
However, by journaling mistakes and improvements, you hold yourself ACCOUNTABLE. You set yourself tasks to be completed during the day. It causes you to be self aware and not repeat useless actions over and over. This means you are less likely to make the same mistakes as before and go around in circles, because you have to answer to yourself when you write in your journal the next time around.
Journaling enables you to list out what are the most important steps needed to be taken towards you goal. This, in turn, develops better time management skills and enables you to get the most important actions towards your personal goals completed. Whether its to make that phone call, do that workout session, eat the right amount or find information. The little steps done daily are what bring you closer to your desired outcomes. Journaling will stop you from drifting and you will use your time more effectivley and get things done. Effectively you are being your own coach, mentor and boss.
“I would rather be my own tyrant than have someone tyrannize me” – Henry Flagler
Mindfulness is a state of mind where the mind focuses awareness and attention in the present moment and with an accepting, curious, and non-judgmental attitude. Journaling brings you into a state of mindfulness.
Past problems, anxieties and frustrations fade and lose their edge when you take your mind from the past or future problems to the present moment. Our minds jump about from one thing to another like monkeys on tress during the day. Mindfulness from journalling, centres and pulls back a wondering mind to creates a state of calm, meditative reflection. Many studies have actually linked mindfulness to happiness. Personally when I encounter a problem that I can’t seem to figure out, I’ve found that if I sit and write it down, soloutions always seem to pop up that I would never have thought of.
“If you correct your mind the rest of life will fall into place”- Lou Tzu.
A main aspect of goal acheivment is that the goal needs to be measurable. This enables you to know when you are progressing towards improvment or steering off course. For example, if you have a goal to lose weight, you need to know how much weight you want to lose and by when. Then you should break down that big goal into small weekly weight loss goals. This allows you to check if you are on course during the weeks and months. Journaling allows you to have a medium to measure your progress. By consistently documenting your results, you can tweak and amend your approach to attain the desirable results. It serves as a guide on your path to reaching a goal.
“The measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem to deal with, but whether you have the same problem as last year”- John Foster Dulles
5) Hidden Door Ways
By journaling, new ideas and thoughts will flow out of your mind that you never knew you had. This will lead you on to new ambitions and goals. Ideas open up different doors and paths for you to pursue and achieve your major goal.
Journaling allows you to record and file away all the new ideas you get. This can be very important for you, as one of these ideas may very useful later down the line.
As humans we are creative beings; the mind is best used by creating. When we hold information in our heads it takes up unnecessary space. By writing down information, we can free up our minds for the use of thinking of new ideas. This allows our mind to do what it does best and get creative rather than hold old information. Holding information in the mind is similar having too many tabs open on your laptop or pc, it slows down the performance.
“Creativity is intelligence having fun” – Albert Einstein.
6) Switched On
A lot of us go through life unaware of the things we do. We let our bodies and other people tell our minds what to do, and what to think. For example, our bodies tell our mind when it fancies something to eat; even though we know it will set us back in our physical training goals. However, because of this loss of control we have over our own mind, we override our morals and let the body eat what it desires.
Most of us are constantly over riding our minds and live in a state where we are not even aware of it. Our emotions take a hold of us and control our life, actions, and decisions.
Journaling creates self awreness because it forces you to sit and listen to your mind and thoughts instead of running them on autopilot. This makes bad habits, temptations and mistakes a lot easier to avoid when going about your day.
“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom” – Aristotle.
I like to think of journaling as a form of mental training. We can find heaps of information on training the body, but if we also trainned our minds, our lifes would be unmeasurably better. The mind is the starting point of all action that leads to physical changes in our bodies, work, career, relationships, in fact any area of life. Many of us try to fix problems, and forget that we need to fix the cause of the problem first. This starts with our own mind and thinking.
You can journal about anything like physical training goals, career goals or self improvment goals. Even if you are just looking for an exercise for your mind, journaling is perfect. I believe its one of the most effecient tools available for us to reach the goals that we set in life.
So if your serious about a certain goal, get journaling and remember “The pen is mightier than the sword.”
Do you journal your goals? How has it helped you? Let me know by leaving a comment in the secion below. If you found this post useful, dont forget to pass it on to friends by using the social media buttons on the side. Thanks!