A thing I’ve been doing in my journal is what I call a “kickoff entry”. If I take on a new thing, or add something to my routine, I’ll write a little blurb about what, why, goals, and some thoughts about what conditions I may decide to end the experiment.
These really help to solidify the intent around the action, and help me be realistic about what I want to get out of it. Also, as someone who frequently jumps from one new thing to the next, it helps me pace myself a bit. If I sit down and write an entry, I get an opportunity to ask “do I really want this?” And “what am I sacrificing to make this happen.
I have a tendency to be very “oh this is going to be awesome!” And 3 weeks later have totally forgotten about things. This has been helping with that, some. It’s definitely fun, at the very least!
For the past several months I’ve been making a concerted effort to write in my journal every single day. I’d heard lots of great things about it in the past, but never really got into it. One of the big road blocks I ran into in the past was thinking that every journal entry had to be some insightful, well-written, moving piece of prose. This is actually one of the reasons I have never really had a blog take off and be something I do, too.
I’ve been slowly working my way through Search Inside Yourself (SIY) for almost a year at this point, and one of the mindfulness techniques it mentions is journaling. SIY is very much in the camp of “write for the sake of writing.” It even goes as far as to say that even if all you end up writing is “I have no real idea what to write about but this thing says I need to keep writing for 3 minutes regardless of what’s actually coming out”, then it was a valuable exercise. I’d like to add my support for that statement as well. Usually after about 2 sentences of nonsense, something comes to my mind and I end up writing for way longer than the prescribed 3 minutes.
Combined with an app I’ll discuss in another post that aims to aid in habit formation, I now not only write in my journal nearly every day, but it often ends up being my default location for brainstorming or thinking about things, and there are many days where I will write multiple entries. One of the wonderful things about writing every day is discovering what sorts of broader themes crop up in my journal.
One of the most valuable things I’ve gotten out of my journal is seeing the progress I’ve been making in my life. I’ve really been making significant improvements in my life in the past several years, and journaling gives me a way to look back in time at what things used to be like and see the progress I’ve made. I honestly can’t wait for 5 years from now when I look back at entries I’m writing today.
I have lots more I can say on this topic, and will say on this topic in the future. For now, I invite you to join me on this journey, and if you’ve been journaling yourself, I would love to hear the techniques you use and the value you’ve gotten from your own exercises.