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How I started journaling
I’ve always loved writing. Writing stories, my feeling, what I did during my day and so on. But I wasn’t persevering when I was writing. Some days, I wrote about 5 pages but ended up not touching my notebook the next day.
3 years ago, I have been interested in Bullet Journal. It was really pretty on Pinterest and I was thinking that it would help me to stop procrastinate and be more productive.
But I felt like I spent more time making it pretty than completing the tasks written on it. So I stopped.
Then, I searched a notebook which followed the design of a Bullet Journal. But it wasn’t a success either. I think it was the BuJo method that wasn’t for me. (There are a lot of these notebooks right now and it will be very helpful if you really want to try the BuJo method).
Then I bought a “productive” notebook to achieve all the goals that I had. So, there were spaces to write my goals and everyday I had to write all the things that I did on my to-do list. But it discouraged me because I saw that I wasn’t as efficient as I wanted and I couldn’t see any result from doing it.
Finally, during all these tests, I’ve always kept a tiny notebook in which I wrote all of my to-do-lists. So now, I continue all these to-do lists in one bigger notebook. I also write down all my feelings, what I really want to do and all my goals. It’s kinda messy it finally helps me to be more organized!
What are the benefits of journaling?
There are many benefits of journaling, even if you’re not doing it every day. Here is a non exhaustive list of all the benefits that I felt while writing.
1. You know yourself better
One of the best benefits that I had when I’ve started journaling was to know myself better. By answering on my notebook a lot of questions, it was easier to define myself. For example, I realized that I’ve always loved to be on my own. As a kid, I could be in my bedroom all the day to paint, write or whatever. It was ok for me and I don’t feel the need to go outside on the weekends to see my friends.
This exercise really helps me when I realized that I was having a quarter-life crisis. The questions helps me to know myself better and to know what I want and need in my life.
2. It keeps your mind clear
I used to write down my thoughts and my feeling when I was feeling really bad. I wrote in a notebook, a piece of paper or on my computer on a blank page. It helped me to sort my thoughts and have a clearer mind. Today, writing my thought becomes a habit that relieves me. All the feelings that I had during a day become clearer and more obvious in the evening when I’m writing.
Writing down your thoughts on a paper helps you to clear your mind because you can analyze it. When you are overthinking, everything seems complicated. There is too much thoughts going on and you can’t concentrate on one subject. When you write down each thought, you can think about it and analyze it. Maybe you had a problem at work today, you thought about it all day but it was mixed up with other things that happened too. So you don’t analyze it and you don’t know why it was a problem and what was the solution. If you write it down, you will focus on it and you will see the bigger picture.
3. It allows you to take more intentional decisions
Once you know yourself better and you have a clearer mind, it’s easier to take intentional decisions. When I talk about intentional decision, I talk about your very OWN decisions, decisions that are good for yourself and what you want to achieve in your life.
I think that your decisions could have a better impact if you write it down. It will make them more REAL.
When I was turning 26, I took intentional decisions and I set goals that were really personal. They weren’t goals that everybody wants to have as they made me go out of my comfort zone. Actually it was decisions that was difficult to take, like quitting my job to do something totally different or decide that I want to live abroad in maximum 5 years. These decisions that I took are really about me and represent what I want to do with my life.
4. You have less anxiety
For me, writing is like meditating. It’s like pushing a “stop” button and all the noises around are stopping. It’s as if when I take my pen all of my thoughts are lining up neatly.
When you feel anxious, take a pen or your computer and start writing why you feel like this, what in your life makes you anxious, and what you need to do to stop being anxious.
5. You are more organized
You may think that my notebook is a mess and you’re right! But it’s an organized mess! And it even helps me to be more organized!!
Even if I have Todoist app, sometimes I prefer to make a point on my projects in my notebook (like where am I at right now, what motivates me to continue…).
I also write on my notebook all the lists that I don’t want to put on Todoist or other apps, like what I need to do this weekend for cleaning my home or what I want to declutter.
6. You’ll realize what you already have
Last but not least, gratitude is an excellent exercise that have a lot of benefits. Writing on a notebook 3 things for what we are grateful today is really helpful when you are in a bad mood or if you’re sad. But it also beneficial when you’re in a great mood because it helps you to congratulate yourself because you’re happy!
Doing this “3 gratitude exercise” is really great if you want to start journaling.
How to start journaling ?
You may be afraid to start journaling because you don’t know what to write. You may be afraid of the blank page. Or maybe you don’t really think that you will see the benefits right away. You may be right but you will feel lighter after writing what you have in your heart.
My first advice is to start with a clean notebook, not an agenda or a pre-filled Bullet Journal. The best notebook for that is a Moleskine one.
Then try to answer these questions :
- How do you feel right now ?
- Why do you feel that way?
- How was your day?
- How could you make sure to have a better day tomorrow?
- What are the 3 things you’re most grateful for today?
With these questions, you certainly won’t have a blank page!
So, what do you feel right after journaling? Is it already something you do on a regular basis? What are the benefits that you have?