Twenty-twenty has been a testing year for everyone. The situation we all found ourselves in was completely out of our control and has taken all of our inner strength to get through, yet here we are about to enter a New Year! Although there may still be hard times ahead, now is a chance to recuperate, enjoy the holidays and festive season and focus on setting some goals that will encourage a happy and stress-free 2021, whatever is happening in the world around us!
As the New Year approaches many of us aim to make resolutions with good intentions, and try our very best to stick to them, but sometimes the simplest resolutions can be the most beneficial. Journaling is something that may not jump out as an obvious resolution, but the benefits can be huge!
Journaling is known to help improve both mental and physical health. There are many great reasons to keep a journal – it can reduce stress, keep your memory sharp, boost your mood, help improve your self-awareness, and increase creativity and productivity.
It’s not just us that thinks journals are great – journals have been kept throughout history by some of our greatest minds including Marco Polo, Leonardo da Vinci, Beethoven, Charles Darwin, Marie Curie, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Frida Kahlo, Mark Twain and Lewis Carroll to name just a few. You will be in good company!
How To Begin Journaling
Form the habit
Routine and habit is so important when starting regular practices. We know that doing new practices such as journalling will help us, and we have often been fully committed in our head, but when push comes to shove, finding the time and motivation can be difficult. Here is a simple technique that can change the way you incorporate new practices into your life.
This technique can be used across many practices, it’s known as Atomic Habit forming. For example, if you want to start flossing, start with one tooth a day, if you want to start reading, start with a couple of pages a day. The main idea being when you first start something new, start with very small amounts, but do it every day. Then you will form a habit and can increase as you feel you want to.
With this in mind, just start your journal slowly but surely, write a few lines or a paragraph every day, form the habit and then develop it when you feel you want to write more.
Set time aside each day
As with any practice, planning when you will do it will help you give it the time it needs. We are huge advocates of planning your day the night before, to make sure you get through everything you want to. Set time aside each day to dedicate to your journal, no one is too busy; we just have different priorities!
You will start by only needing to give it a small amount of time if you are forming an Atomic habit, but before long you will be planning in longer and longer every day because of how rewarding it can become. Keeping a consistent schedule everyday will create a familiar routine and make committing to it easier, but do be flexible with how much you want to write, some days you may not have a lot to say and others you will feel as though you are channeling your inner Tolkien! Just let it flow!
Choose a journal that reflects you
Journaling is a personal practice, so it is only right if you choose a journal that means something to you. We believe in turning it into a mindful exercise, take pride in it. There are some beautiful journals available to purchase, or you could design your own, you will take much more enjoyment if you write in something special. Whether you buy it or make it yourself, it will help you visualise it as part of your self-care routine and encourage you to keep your journaling schedule.
Write down key points that will personally help you
There are two ways to journal – buy one with key points already printed for you to follow and guide your writing, or start with a blank page and be your own guide. We suggest starting with a blank page as this is the best way to reach personal goals and allows your techniques and writing to evolve on your journey. Pre-printed journals are generic and too vague to be able to suit everyone. While they may cover a few things you want them to, writing your own will ensure it has everything you want, and gives it your own personal touch. It will also give you the opportunity to edit the headers you set yourself everyday so as your goals change, your journal grows with you.
The key points you choose to discuss will depend on why you want to begin journaling, so it is important to know what you want to achieve before you begin. For example, if being more grateful is what you would like to work on, writing headings such as ‘What am I grateful for today?’, ‘What am I looking forward to tomorrow?’ and ‘When did I show my gratitude today?’ is a good place to start.
The Benefits Of Journaling
Our minds can often feel full of thoughts, this is one of the reasons we like to meditate and practice mindfulness, and in the very simplest form, when you write your thoughts, you are emptying them from your mind onto paper. Use journaling as a meditative practice, and take a minute to note how you feel once you have finished your journal for the day.
Improve emotional clarity
Life is complicated and people can be too, things often happen that make our minds feel clouded with unwanted emotions. When we are feeling overwhelmed we can confuse one emotion with another. Writing down how you feel allows you to identify what you are truly feeling and the action you need to take. It helps us visualise better, helping us to move away from any negative feelings.
Helps to achieve goals
Journaling often includes ambitions and writing them down is the secret weapon to achieving them. Writing down goals is a great way to manifest them into your life as it signals to your brain that they are important. Most of them cannot be achieved overnight, so checking in with them daily and asking yourself what you did that day to get one step closer will track your progress and flag anything you need to change to keep you on the right path.
Allows you to self-reflect
As humans, we are constantly evolving. Journaling encourages you to slow down and take a minute to reflect on the person you are today. It allows you to celebrate the things you love about yourself and identify the things you need to work on today to be a better person tomorrow.
Have A Very Happy New Year
We think the start of the year can be a perfect time to start journaling. Leave 2020 behind, take the lessons from it you need, and focus on a positive and mindful 2021. Making journaling one of your New Year’s resolutions is certainly something you will not regret!
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