I’ve heard alot about the benefits of journaling. And I knew I wanted to find out for myself if they were true. That meant I needed to add journaling into my day somewhere.
And, if you know anything about me, then you know that I am obsessed with my morning routine. I swear by it. It has totally changed my life – for the better. So that seemed like the perfect place to layer in journaling.
There are many pieces to my morning routine and sometimes I pick and choose between them to create my routine for a particular day, or even week. This usually depends on how I’m feeling or if I’m struggling with something or feel a part of my life needs a bit more focus.
I didn’t add journaling into my routine for quite some time. It was something that I was a little weary about. Honestly, I kept thinking back to my pink diaries with little key locks on them from when I was a little girl.
I loved those diaries. They have some of the deepest, darkest secrets from my childhood written in them. And I have no idea where they are. Yikes!
And that makes me nervous. If someone, god forbid my older sister, were to ever find my key, she would know the never-ending crush I had on the boy that taught me how to write the letter eight without lifting my pen from the page. In first grade, I was one of the only kids in class still drawing a smaller circle on top of a bigger one – confession…I still do!
Once I got past my adult fear of putting my thoughts, secrets, fears, and everything else on paper, I started to journal.
My First Days of Journaling
It wasn’t easy at first. There was a struggle to find something to write about. I tried to keep it not so personal. Instead of really journaling, I used the time in my morning routine to write my day’s to-do list, knowing full well that wasn’t the intended purpose of that time.
Honestly, it didn’t feel like I was adding anything to my morning. I felt stressed and overwhelmed. But I promised myself I would stick with it for at least 2 weeks to see if it was worth it.
At the end of the first week, I had finally started to feel secure enough to write some superficial thoughts on paper. This was a big step as I’m definitely one who lives inside the made-up world of fiction I create in my mind.
Going into week two I committed to digging a little deeper. I stopped doodling in the margins of my notepad and really concentrated on being truthful to myself and my journal for the 20 allotted minutes every morning.
And guess what, by the end of that week I was absolutely committed to my journaling time. I looked forward to sitting down with a cup of coffee and freewriting until my alarm went off. Sometimes I even snoozed and kept going.
The Stress Relief from Journaling Was an Amazing Gift to Me
I found that I was writing down things that were weighing on me. And the process of writing those things down helped me digest them internally and to free my mind space for other things.
Do you know those thoughts that are constantly nagging at you? Yes those, I know you just thought of them. They went in my journal and out of my head. I didn’t need to stress over them for the remainder of the day. Instead, I wrote them down so I could deal with them later.
And that’s exactly what I found myself doing. I knew they were there, written in pen on paper, and they weren’t going anywhere until I was ready for them. So I let them stay there until I was ready for them.
I also found myself writing down my future goals. Not in bulleted lists, just meandering thoughts of what I wanted for myself, where I wanted to see myself go, vacations I was working towards. Really, any number of things were motivations for me to work harder and move forward within my business. My journaling was keeping me on track – helping me set goals.
The Biggest Surprise that Journaling Brought Into My Life
I focus so much time and effort on knowing myself, being true to myself, and understanding myself. I had no idea when I started journaling that it would further my ability to see within. But that is exactly what it did.
Journaling allowed me to speak honestly to myself about myself. Once I was more comfortable with it I’d get lost in writing my real feelings and emotions. Still, I’m shocked when I go back and read, even from the same morning, what I wrote and how I’m able to articulate my feelings and emotions when I don’t always even realize what they are. But my journal does.
How to Start Journaling and Add It into Your Routine
You may not be as hesitant to start a journal as I was. Maybe you’re eager to get started. Or maybe you’re questioning its benefits. Either way, I’d say just give it a try. Take these simple steps to get started:
- Pick out a journal – there are some seriously awesome journals to choose from. One of my faves is the Leuchtturm1917. And when I’m feeling crafty and creative I go for my Junque Journal.
- Set a predetermined amount of time aside each day for your journal. If you have a morning routine, consider adding journaling to it.
- Find a quiet, comfortable place to settle in and connect with yourself.
- Set an alarm. This can help whether you fall into the eager or not-so-eager category.
- Don’t care about what you write. I know, that doesn’t sound like great advice, but really, just let your mind and pen take you to where they need to go. Don’t set any expectations for yourself.
- Respect yourself. Have confidence in your mind to let you know what you need to write down. And don’t judge whatever it is that you do write.
- Enjoy the process. Pay attention to how you feel after you write each day. Over time I think you’ll find it to be rejuvenating and freeing.
These days I don’t keep my journal under lock and key. I am comfortable with what I write there and know that it’s for my benefit and continued growth.
When I miss a day of journaling, however, I notice that my mind is a bit more jumbled than usual. Or sometimes I find myself taking a few minutes in the afternoon to jot a few lines in my journal. I depend on my journal. And I love it. Eventually, I figured out the amazing benefits of journaling.
Happy journaling, y’all!