When was the last time you wrote in a journal? Not in a, “Dear Diary, my peanut butter sandwich was brilliant today,” way like we did as children, but in a way that really exposes where you are now, and where you want to go? While you may push journaling aside as just another task to add to your day, the benefits can be outstanding. In fact, journaling is one of the few tasks that will add real value to your life every day, if you really are committed to living an outstanding life.
Need proof? Just stop for a moment to think about the thousands of pieces of information you receive each and every day. Work deadlines, client requests, mortgage repayments, bills, nutritional information, news headlines – you get my drift. It’s a never-ending pool of information that clouds your thinking and distracts you from what is important. With all that information taking up your headspace, how can you possibly expect your mind to prioritise and determine the most appropriate use of your time? Or more importantly, how to get where you want to go?
If you want to sift through all that information to get to the bottom of what really matters, you need a guide. You need a tool that will help you focus on the individual steps that will enable you to realise your dreams.
What’s that tool? You guessed it: a journal.
Why write in a journal?
• Good journal writing takes two angles: looking forward and reflecting back. Looking forward at “actions” will show you what critical tasks to focus on, to help you achieve your dreams. “Reflections,” on the other hand, will allow you to review events that have passed, to see how you feel in your heart about what happened in your day. This is where you can deal with any challenges you may have had. Reflecting allows you to deal with these challenges by viewing them as lessons.
• Just as food provides us with the energy we need to physically achieve, so too does journaling. It feeds our heart and mind, keeps us focused on the things that matter and keeps us away from negative emotions.
• You don’t need me to tell you that life today is busier than ever. If you don’t take the time to identify your daily achievements (by writing them in your journal), you can become so overwhelmed with what needs to be done, that you neglect to consider all that you had achieved.
• When you reflect on the day passed, journaling allows you to see exactly where you’ve been spending your time. It allows you to make a stock take of your life and identify the areas you may be neglecting, like your family, friendships or health.
• Journaling is also an amazing tool if you want to improve your health and advance your career. Research has identified that it decreases symptoms of asthma, arthritis and many other health conditions; improves cognitive functioning; strengthens the immune system and counteracts the effects of stress. How’s that for a multivitamin?
So if you’re feeling bogged down, overwhelmed, or simply unfocused – try your hand at a journal. It will provide you with the direction and focus you need to make your life exactly what you want it to be.
For a magical look at journaling I refer you to Chapter 12 on my book A Higher Branch where the wise old man teaches young Tom the fine art of journaling. I also invite you to purchase the Higher Branch Journal in the store section of website. It may prove to be the single best thing you have ever done in life. It is for me.
Until next time, may you Live from the heart and grow from the mind.