Why You Should Keep a Journal and How to Get Started

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I’ve been journaling off and on since 4th Grade. I’ve always drawn to keeping a journal. There’s something about the process of keeping a record of what’s happening in life that has made my life better.​

A Few Benefits of Journaling

Journaling allows you to process what your thoughts and feelings. Dawson Trotman says, “Thoughts disentangle themselves when they pass through the lips and fingertips.” Your journal can be a safe place to release your emotions without hurting yourself or someone else.

Journaling hones your communication skills. The more you do something the better you will become at it. Writing each day, even if it’s just a few of sentences, will help you become a better communicator. Improving your communication skills will help you in every area of your life.

Journaling allows you to see progress and patterns in your life. Socrates said that the unexamined life is not worth living. Your journal can become a tool by which you examine and take stock of your life. It can be a valuable resource in living your life with intention, as opposed to letting life happen to you.

Journaling creates a record of your successes, milestones, and life lessons. It’s easy to forget valuable life lessons and memories. A journal will help you keep a log of the important moments in life so you can keep a record of what you’re learning and reflect back on some of the big milestones in your life.

Journaling Tips

Find a medium that works for you. When my wife journals she likes to use pen and paper. I prefer to use a keyboard or a touch screen (right now I’m using the Day One app). Go with what works and feels best for you.

If you’re having trouble writing, start by using a template. Your template could be a series of questions you answer, a certain form you use, or a limit you impose on yourself. There are a lot of great templates out there you can use to kick-off your journal. Here are a few of my favorites:

Michael Hyatt’s Journal Template

The One Sentence Journal

The Five Minute Journal

Journal regularly. You don’t have to do it every day, but to get the most out of keeping a journal you’ll want to do it a few days each week. Set a reminder on your phone or task list or schedule a time to journal on your calendar when you’re first starting out to help you build the habit.

Getting Started

Keeping a journal may be something that is new to you. It may also be something that you’ve tried before and, for whatever reason, have given up on. Start small. Write just a few sentences about your day, each day. As time goes on you’ll get a greater sense if keeping a journal is right for you.

 

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