Why keep a journal?
Memories fade, we forget things.
Some flashbulb memories remain vivid for a while, however even those fade with time.
Talk to any elderly person.
Sure they may remember some experiences, however the majority of your life will fade away as the years go on.
Writing about them is an effective way to bring the experience back…
…and to remind yourself of lessons learned.
I review all my journals about once a year. Starting with the first one, and ending on the page with today’s date.
It’s a nostalgic feeling looking over at events in years past, on a quiet evening, with a cup of tea.
You will remember all the victories…
And the failures.
As Les Brown said:
“You will acquire a lot of disappointments. A lot of defeats. A lot of setbacks… But it goes with the territory. You must understand that!”
If you are failing you are trying something outside your expertise.
If you are failing you are making progress.
Breaking new ground.
Unlocking new territory.
Failing is a good thing, no matter how disheartening it may be at the moment.
It may seem like a wasted effort.
However it isn’t.
What’s worse than failure is never trying and regretting it in the end.
Journaling allows you to time travel. It is a conversation with:
Your Past Self (Old entries/Reflection)
Your Present Self (Writing fresh experiences)
Your Future Self (Goals and Reminders)
As you review journals, you may laugh at your younger self, nod approvingly at your present self, and wonder about what you will be like in the future.
Reviewing journals will help you do one very important thing:
Avoid treading water and wasting time spinning your wheels.
When you write on a certain date it’s locked in.
No longer just and idea in your mind, it is tangible.
Tasks left unfinished will not just drift away, and be forgotten.
Journaling will help you not repeat the same mistakes twice, and recognize pattern of event.
Repeating a mistake over and over does not yield progress, it only emphasizes the lesson.
Why don’t more people keep a journal?
#1 Reason is:
Because they feel like they have to write…
And that seems like a chore, and who wants to self-impose a chore on themselves.
That can definitely be a turn off to keeping a journal.
The thing is:
You do not have to write regularly, I often go weeks without writing in my journal.
Other times I write multiple times daily.
Write whenever you feel like it.
Sometimes multiple exiting things will happen in a short time span, sometimes there is a lull in activity, and those days/weeks I don’t write, or even think about writing.
You shouldn’t feel like you have to meet a writing quota.
It’s your journal!
Write as much or as little as you feel like.
Reason #2 is:
Staring at a bunch of blank pages is daunting.
You have to date them, leaf through them, and there is no organization, outside of what you create, and no sense of time missed between entries.
For this reason I do not use plain undated journals (and don’t ever plan to)
I have found weekly planners the best for journaling.
This way you can keep track of appointments, and see when there are long breaks, periods of inactivity.
The one I use is a Quo Vadis weekly planner (Open Format). Good quality planner, perfect for a journal and easy to write in.
As far as writing utensils, I am not picky. I prefer a black pen. So now that you have all the tools to begin journaling….
Now on to the next part…
What to write?
Whatever is on your mind.
What you’re thinking about at the moment.
What are you worried about?
What do you have planned?
Write experiences, appointments, athletic goal and scores, financial plans, and memorable quotes.
Cut out photos or picture and tape them in.
And the most important (and best) thing about a journal is:
Nobody is going to read it, except for you.
If they did, it would be a blog, not a journal.
Knowing you are writing to yourself, without opinions or reactions from others will allow you to write in a completely different voice.
You can be completely honest in what your want/needs are, what you actually thought of an experience, and it will be candid.
Write for you.
Writing in a journal will also help you sleep…
I picked up this idea from Jeffrey Gitomer’s book. We are all familiar with laying down at the end of the day, and your mid is just buzzing with a million ideas, things to do, people to call…
…and you can’t fall asleep.
Writing down what you have to take care of the next day, what problems to resolve, what new ideas you have for your business, will help you sleep.
Take everything that is in your head and write it all down.
You will get occasional thoughts that pop back up, get back up and write them down.
You have to write down everything, that is the key.
Then you can rest easy.
Things I’ve learned through journaling:
1. Things are never as serious as they may seem at the moment
2. Feelings fade – In 10 years you won’t care, trust me
3. It is difficult to make good judgment calls when angry
4. Your progress may surprise you (just continue to work on yourself and develop yourself)
Adventurers have always kept journals.
That is how we find out details of their travels and experiences, and how they themselves don’t forget them.
Captains keep logs of event on the ships.
Scientists keep records of experiments.
Businessmen keep ledgers.
Militaries keep records.
Athletes keep training logs.
Adventurers keep Journals.
Your Business is to Live an Adventurous Life.
Write about your adventures.
You’ll be glad you did.