How I Journal
The way I journal is my favorite habit and I’ve never heard anyone say they do it how I do it.
First, let me just quickly go over some of the benefits.
What is the point of journaling?
Now, if you clicked this article, you probably journal already. But just in case you’re one of the few who clicked out of curiosity, you should really consider journaling.
You can just search online “Journaling Benefits” to get a list of the general benefits.
But for me, journaling is one of the most powerful habits I have because it not only allows me to get to know myself better, it also allows me to create a deeper connection with myself.
By that, I mean that journaling heavily contributes to the improvement of my relationship with myself.
The other thing it does is it allows me to revisit what my conscious states were at different times. No matter how good your memory is, you’ll never be able to remember that.
Oh, and I almost forgot to mention one of the most amazing aspects of it:
To this day, journaling is the best way I’ve ever found to be able to see myself, my thoughts and my actions objectively.
As you probably already know, seeing ourselves through a truly objective lens can be very challenging. Maybe even impossible.
EXCEPT when a lot of time has gone by.
Trust me. If you read something you wrote a year ago, you will very likely be able to look at it without any emotional attachment. Of course there may be some exceptions in the case of extreme emotions. But 99% of the time, if you read something a year later, you will be able to look at it objectively.
And I can guarantee that is extremely powerful.
Just think about it, you’ll be able to analyze yourself objectively, which means identifying patterns and mistakes you can learn from.
That’s insane! It’s like being able to be your own therapist almost.
And you don’t even need to wait exactly a year. Most of the time, 6 months is enough. On some occasions, even 3 months could work!
Obviously, the longer amount of time goes by, the more objectively you’ll be able to look at it.
This brings us to my own method of journaling
It’s not that unique, there are only a few details that I do differently.
Basically, what I do is write a journal entry every night.
What I write about is what’s on my mind. As in, what’s concerning me, what challenges I’m facing, what is bringing me stress, what I’m looking forward to in the future and sometimes where I think I’ll be a year later.
So far, all standard behavior.
Here is what I do differently from most journalers:
I actively speak to myself in the future.
But the idea is that I’m speaking to myself one year later.
Sometimes I can say “I really want this to happen in my life, I’m going to do everything I can to make it happen. I’m sure I’ll be reading this with a smile on my face in a year”
Other times I can just be curious and say “I wonder where I’m living as I read this one year from now”. And maybe I can even add a prediction.
At the end of the day, the way I’d describe is it’s like you’re leaving a letter to a friend of yours for him to read in the future.
What’s next after having written the journal entry? I go back and read any journal entries I’ve written on the same day in the past.
So, for example, today is the 11th of August of 2022. Tonight, I’ll write my journal entry and then I will proceed to go all the way back to 2019 (the year I started journaling) to see if I wrote anything on the 11th of August of 2022.
If I did, I’ll read it and then go to the 11th of August of 2020 to check if something is there as well. After I read that, I’ll go to the 11th of August of 2021 and read the entry I wrote on that day.
I use an app called Daybook. Although it’s not the best to go back a few years, it works and it’s easy to find.
This practice is amazing. There have been SO many times in which I’ve had epiphanies just from reading past entries. And of course, when that happens, I go back to the present day’s journal entry and update it with the new insights I learned from reading what happened before.
One of the best rewards of this system is that you really get to see how much you’ve changed over time.
Sometimes I am mindblown by what I wrote just 2 or 3 years ago.
Even things I wrote 1 year ago or 6 months ago blow my mind. Because you really see how quickly you’ve changed or evolved.
It is a truly amazing way to see your progress in life and in self-development.
The fact you can look at your problems and concerns objectively, also helps you to deal with future problems and concerns.
And the best of it all is that at the end of the day this daily practice REALLY builds up your relationship with yourself.
Even if you’re a lonely person, you won’t feel as lonely because you’ll feel like you have yourself more present. It’s hard to explain this part, but if you try it you’ll know what I mean.
Oh, and you can even use these letters between your past and future self to help you commit to your goals more.
Just think about it. If you have a really tough goal and you spent all of 2021 writing about your efforts to achieve it, in 2022, as you read through your efforts every day, that will only give you more motivation and strength to keep going with all that effort.
It’s almost like you take a solo mission and make it feel like it’s a co-op mission.
But how should YOU get started?
This is a practice that I recommend to all my clients.
The big challenge is to really stick with journaling.
If I go to 2019 and 2020, my journaling was never consistent. What made me start to consistently journal was actually this habit. I was starting to get very frustrated because most of the days I had no entries to read from the past years.
This frustration led me to promise myself I’d write something every single day. Because every day there is something worth remembering.
The way I’d recommend that you start is this:
Obviously, start journaling every day.
Do it every single day for at least 3 months.
If you miss a few days, don’t beat yourself up. You’re just gaining the habit.
Maybe even apologize to your future self in your journals whenever you miss a day. But that’s it. Move on after that.
Once you’ve completed the 3 months, go back to your first entry and start reading each entry every day until you reach the day in which you completed your first 3 months of journaling. (So, if you start on January 1st, you’ll have reached 3 months on April 1st. You should read every entry until you reach the entry on April 1st)
This will take you, of course, 3 months.
Once you get there, go back to the first day of journaling again. Now it will be the entry you wrote 6 months ago.
Repeat the same process.
Once you’re done reading the 6 months entries, guess what? A year will have gone by.
And once a year has gone by, well then you can just start reading the entry of last year, as I currently do.
This is the best way to start. You only have to go past the first 3 months to gain the habit! That’s the most challenging part.
Once you’ve reached a year, trust me, you’ll love it.
(Also, if you hate writing, try voice journaling — recording voice notes. Writing is better, but do whatever gets you to journal)
So, if you liked anything that I mentioned, just go for it. Don’t think about it too much. This activity can take only 10 minutes, so there are no excuses! My journal entries usually are not long, yours don’t have to be either.
If you want ideas of what to journal about, just search “Journaling questions” and you’ll find many different interesting ones.
Do yourself (and your future self) a favor and start this life-changing habit now!
Never stop hustling & never stop dreaming,
P.S. I’m a Success Coach and I’d be happy to help you gain great habits like journaling for yourself if you think you could use some help! You can check out my official website https://myupself.com/ for more information