It’s time for some New Years resolutions! Here’s a good one for you, whoever you are: Start journaling.
Keeping a journal is something many people tend to associate with either day-dreamy young girls or Eighteenth-century ship captains’ logs. It’s either “girly” or “old-fashioned.” I could write a book on either stereotype. (Words matter!) But for now, let’s just assume you don’t ascribe to either and instead reflect upon some of the benefits.
Journaling Can Easily Replace Bad Habits
Some habits are hard to make or break. This one simply isn’t difficult—and that alone is a benefit. Take, for example, your 15-minute-long (Oops! Where did the time go?) social media scrolling first thing in the morning. Imagine you spent some of that time writing, instead. That would mean starting your days with your own thoughts rather than those of the news/marketing bots/your former roommate’s political rants. (By the way, if you’re looking to dodge ugly politics, here’s a reading suggestion for you!)
Start your days with your own thoughts.
Keep a notebook where you’d usually sit with your phone in the a.m.: on your nightstand, by the coffee machine, or next to the toilet. (No judgement here.)
Image credit: Farmer
Journaling Clears Your Thoughts
When you hop in the shower in the morning, you probably let the water run for a minute first… Because it takes a minute (or five) for the water to heat up.
When you’re about to go for a three-mile run, you probably jog in place a little first or do some jumping jacks… Because it takes a couple minutes to get the blood flowing, and coffee can only do so much.
Similarly, you shouldn’t expect your brain to be ready to roll on command; you’ve got to give yourself time to warm up. Journaling, especially in the morning, gets your ideas flowing more freely for whatever you plan to do next.
Journaling Brings Your Ideas to the Surface
“I didn’t know I thought/knew/believed that!” I know. You might be surprised when you flip back through the previous week, month, or year, and see ideas you had, words you used, or imagery you came up with, and think to yourself, “That’s pretty good! It’s in my handwriting, so I must have written it, but I don’t even remember doing it.”
It will pull things out of your mind you didn’t know were hiding in there.
Just forcing your pen to keep moving, whether your goal is three pages or eight minutes non-stop, will pull things out of your mind you didn’t know were hiding in there. The more material you churn out onto a page, the more gold nuggets you’ll find when you sift through it later. And those ideas will inevitably spark others, which will spark even more ideas, which will… Well, you get the picture.