I have had an on-and-off relationship with writing about my life. Be it blogging or journaling, I’d have phases of doing lots and then nothing. I had to find a purpose and its meaning in my life. Recently as I got back to blogging, I also got back to focused journaling. The past few years of my life have been a rollercoaster having lived in 2 countries away from home, reaching many milestones and basically, just growing up.
I know now that planning my life, being mindful of my feelings and recording thoughts and ideas is valuable as I head into some solid working years of my life. Stuff’s getting serious now, basically!!! And focused journaling has helped me stay put together to face any challenges head on with motivation.
Over the past year I have used this journal to record notes on life, thoughts and feelings. It is a great activity that I now look forward to at the start of my day and end of the day and sometimes, even in the middle if i need to.
Why do this?
So, why do I maintain a journal? This article by Benjamin P. Hardy from Orlando really makes a good point in using your journal to grow, become someone you have aspired to be by breaking those big goals and aspirations into achievable tasks each day. If you look back and feel life just passed you by, then journaling can be for you. I have mainly been experimenting every few weeks by finding the right kind of journaling that is for me.
It can be anything from pages and pages of ranting to formatted pages of to-do lists and tasks I have accomplished in the week. Find out what works best for you and your purpose in maintaining a journal. You can even use the journal to figure that out for the first year or so, like I have done.
What to put in there?
Going off of what I mentioned above. Journaling is a reflection of your mind so make it work best for you. I have recently enjoyed reading about other’s experiences of journaling and various forms of recording their thoughts and have definitely noticed a pattern of journal content.
There are people who use it to record gratitude, happiness and feelings to maintain emotional connectivity. There are also people who use it to become more productive by planning out tasks, recording progress and reflecting on their productivity. And then there are also people who use multiple journals simultaneously for different purposes. You just have to see why you need it for which areas of your life!
It can also grow with you as your life changes. My system of journaling currently is tailored to my life of a working student who also blogs. This is my world these days. And this is what my journaling system reflects. A big part of this life is careful planning and maintaining agendas, which is a whole different post coming very soon!!!
How to start?
Just grab a notebook and start writing. A lot of this process is now being commercialised as social media promotes specific kinds of journaling and a whole lot of effort associated with it. But ever thought how people organized themselves before Notes on iPhone and Macbooks. They had small and big notebooks they wrote on. Just do the same!
Eventually you will work out a system that suits your life and needs and then you can invest in something fancier and grow this passion into something you actually want to invest in. I started with using SWAG notebooks and then slowly upgraded my way into fancy notebooks with quotes on them. Maybe you want to get yourself a pretty one first to motivate you – that’s fine too and I get it!!
The idea here is to start without inhibitions and making into a insurmountable task itself. Journaling is supposed to help with other things in life and not become a burden itself.
Here’s a handy self-formatted page I have started doing for myself to bring variety in my journal, maybe you can start with something like these: