Dear diary ✍ Journaling can show you how far you've come

Hello! β˜•πŸ“– Last week I took stock of how far I'd come in my career. This time last year, I was paralyzed with fear because I knew my role at the media company was going to be eliminated, I just didn't know when.

Reading through journal entries around that time, I'm happy to say that despite the ups and downs of the last year, I'm in a better spot today - and I may not have fully appreciated that if I didn't have the written proof. 

So I thought today would be a great day to share how journalling can be mega transformative for you and show you how to easily implement this practice into your routine.

Why journal?

Everyone journals for their own unique reasons. At the top of that list, it's simply a great exercise to take stock of where you are right now. 

What did you do today? Was it a good day? Who did you meet? Where are you in your career? What are you aspiring to accomplish? 

Like looking at old photos, logging your days helps track where you are now and how far you've come.

It's also very therapeutic. In the absence of sharing your thoughts and feelings with another person (or if you’re just not comfortable doing so in the moment,) writing down those thoughts can give you the same sense of 'getting it off your chest' and is one of a few ways to help curb anxiety and depression. 

So, how can you get started? 

Use a one-sentence journal.

This is probably the lowest barrier of entry into journaling and is really easy to do: it's literally one sentence about your day. 

The trick is to focus on the thing that impacted you the most that day and not get tied up too much in the little tasks you completed. If you just record tasks like 'Watched Netflix, had pizza for dinner' it won't accurately measure your growth. 

Focus on the good things that happened that day, first. You'll find one or two sentences may not be enough to describe the type of day you had and filling the space up with negativity first, leaves little room for the good stuff (and there's always at least a little good stuff.)

Ready for something a little meatier? 

5-Minute journaling.

I began journaling after reading a chapter about it in Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss where he explains how five-minute journaling helped strike a great balance between acceptance of the past and planning for the future. 

The structured prompts force you to think about your day in a deeper way and highlight the silver linings.

In a blank notebook, write down three points for each of the following questions:

  • What was awesome about yesterday?

  • How could I have made it better?

  • What am I grateful for right now, in this moment

  • What could make today awesome?

  • What are some nice things (affirmations) I can say about myself right now?

If you can't think of three, that's totally cool. What's one thing you can write for each of the above prompts?

You can't cheat and just say 'Nothing.'

Also, it's important to be very specific - don't just say you're grateful for family. Specify what it is about your family that you're grateful for.

Why is gratitude so important? 

Each of us has something to be grateful for, even when it feels like that's not the case.

There's something to be said about the psychology of "Fake it 'til you make it" because the simple act of identifying things to be happy about, can make you happy. 

Last year when I was unemployed, I Tweeted the little things I was grateful for each day, like this:

I’m not kidding: as a result, I started to feel less crappy about being unemployed. 

Still need help getting started?

Here are 8 more tips that may help you build your own journaling practice. 

Have an excellent week ahead, guys. If you've been keeping a journal, have additional suggestions or prompts that you've found helpful, let me know!

Our community would love to hear it as well πŸ˜

Richard Gawlas