Journaling isn’t merely about picking up any old pen and paper and jotting down musings. Journaling can be a life changing tool, which can give you the eye of the tiger and help shape your life the way you want it to be.
However, the problem with maintaining a journal is that most people only do it sporadically, sometimes starting and then usually forgetting about it again. For the longest time, that was me. The good news is that there’s a cure.
The cure is simple on the surface, but it gets a bit more complex as you dig down into the process of journaling and its incredible benefits.
Before we start keeping a journal it helps to know the hows, whys, and quite honestly, what’s in it for us, or we’ll simply scribble whatever and whatever is never all that constructive, valuable, or lasting.
I know, because I started several journals until someone took the time to give me some real directions and useful guidance. The rest is history. My first book was taken directly from the pages of my journal.
1) You need the right tools.
I am a buyer of blank books. Kids find it interesting that I would buy a blank book. They say, ‘Twenty-six dollars for a blank book! Why would you pay that?’ The reason I pay twenty-six dollars is to challenge myself to find something worth twenty-six dollars to put in there. All my journals are private, but if you ever got a hold of one of them, you wouldn’t have to look very far to discover it is worth more than twenty-six dollars. – Jim Rohn
- Find a notebook you like, it doesn’t have to be an expensive leather bound notebook, but it needs to be something you’ll enjoy having with you.
- Find a writing instrument that you like, preferably one that feels good in your fingers, writes on the page nicely, and is replaceable in case you lose it.
- You can also use an electronic journal, such as your smartphone or an online app. Just make sure it’s something that you’ll enjoy using. Test them out until you find the right one for you.
2) You Need the Right Incentive.
If you’re serious about becoming a wealthy, powerful, sophisticated, healthy, influential, cultured and unique individual, keep a journal. – Jim Rohn
What’s in it for you? Sure, you’ve heard journaling is profound and it can change your life and all that… yadda yadda yadda.
But really, what’s in it for you?
Well, let’s figure it out. What do you want out of life?
Don’t look around at the plants, or the walls, or out the window at the trees and bushes, there’s nothing out there which will answer this question for you.
The biggest challenge for people who start journaling is that they don’t have direction as to what they’re journaling about. So a good place to start is getting clear on what you want out of life.
Open your journal (or if you don’t have one yet, a blank page) and write down these three questions:
- Who am I?
- What am I about?
- What do I want?
Use 250 words to answer each of them. 250 words is key because it keeps you from using too few words or using too many. You want to hone in on your answers.
3) You need results.
Journal writing is one of the greatest indications that you’re a serious student. Taking pictures, that is pretty easy. Buying a book at a book store, that’s pretty easy. It is a little more challenging to be a student of your own life, your own future, your own destiny. Take the time to keep notes and to keep a journal. You’ll be so glad you did. – Jim Rohn
A lot of people don’t keep a journal because they don’t realize the results it can provide.
We all want instant gratification for what we do. This isn’t a bad thing. It’s normal. We’re human and we do certain things to get from point A to point B and if there’s no obvious point B, well, we usually stop doing whatever we’re doing. It’s in our DNA.
Journaling is no different, you need results, and I’m going to show you how you can get results right now, today.
In 250 words write about something, anything, that you’ve been struggling with lately. Something that’s been bothering you and has been difficult to get clear on.
250 words. Go.
Our brains are funny things, when left alone with our thoughts they often confuse issues more than they help us figure them out.
Think about it, our brains are filled with fears, doubts, and negative thoughts.
You can’t do that.
You’re not good enough.
They’ll never believe you.
Who do you think you are?
Our brains are filled with things we perceive about how others might feel or think about something (or about us).
In other words, the thoughts in our heads are like thousands of pieces of multiple puzzles and they don’t make a lot of sense until we write down exactly what we are thinking.
Exposing your thoughts on paper brings clarity. There is no other immediate way to see truth.
Look over the 250 words you wrote. Do you still see the issue the way you thought it? Did you exaggerate the issue in your mind or downplay it? Do you now see a viable solution or solutions to the issue? Use 250 words to describe the best solution.
You’re a writer, you can do this. A bear can’t do this. A tiger can’t do this. But you and I can.
The more often you use journaling as a serious and reliable tool, the more you’ll be encouraged and prosper from it. It really can change your life.
I like to think of it like this, our thoughts are the layers of an onion (well, maybe, hundreds of them) and journaling helps us literally peel away those layers to reveal our inner awesomeness, which is too often betrayed by thoughts we have very little control of–until we write them down.