100 Ways To Live A Better Life – 8. Keep A Journal

Write down you feelings, your ideas, your goals, your activity. Journaling is by far one of the most useful things I’ve done to change my life for the best. It works in such a silent, yet effective way. All you need is pen and paper.

The first use for it is therapeutical and this is why I started too: just wrote down my frustrations, unloaded my anger and complaints. And it does a wonderful job at cleaning your emotional system: you can write anything in your journal, right?

But it goes even further: once you got over the therapeutical part of journaling, you can use it as a witness for your dreams. Make it the seed of your desired reality. Whatever you write there, might become real at some point.

Write down your reality in your journal first, and read it every day. 

How To Keep A Journal

This is very close related to the habit creation, we’ve already covered it in post number 3: Create A New Habit. To start with the habit of journaling, find a time of the day where you can comfortably write for 5 to 15 minutes. Doesn’t have to be a specific topic, just write whatever crosses your mind. It doesn’t matter also  if it’s in the morning, at noon or at midnight. As long as you can write down things that you want to get out of the system, it will work.

Second, don’t place any expectations on this. Just follow the routine for at least 30 days. Don’t read what you wrote the other day. Don’t browse back and don’t even try to think at the benefits before one month. Treat it like a task at the job. Or like a chore you really have to do in the house, such as cleaning up your room. Because, at a very subtle level, this is exactly what it is: a cleaning process for your consciousness.

After a while, let’s say, after month of journaling, go back to something you wrote a month ago. See how you were back then. See what you intended to do, or to have and evaluate if you did it or if you got that thing, and how this happened.

A journal is a wonderful tool, because, as simple as it is, it works on so many levels.

There is this cleaning part of it. Unloading steam, letting go of your frustrations, taking them out from the system and putting them down, this subtle process of making words out of your feelings, all this amalgam of interweaved activities will make your inner part more manageable, more flexible, more willing to cooperate. It’s literally a healing process.

And then there’s the witnessing part. You can see the benefits of that one after a few months. Looking back at who you were a few months ago, at your day to day activities, at your goals and dreams will slowly grow something very precious in you: compassion. Compassion for the one you use to be a few months ago. You will start to love that person and to accept it. It’s good. Once you have that, once you know the process, you can extend it to other people too.

And, last but not least, a journal is a very good place to plant seeds. To sketch even the craziest goals.

And to follow them.

further reading

Journaling versus Blogging

Journaling – Steve Pavlina 

3 thoughts on “100 Ways To Live A Better Life – 8. Keep A Journal”

  1. To Adelina, I can see your point, But your profile picture doesn’t look Like a guy who don’t use purses!
    Quote “With a classic journal you might have to remember to put it in your purse or just write in it when you are home. And what do you do if you are a guy like me and don’t use purses!”

  2. I personally prefer to keep a journal digitally these days. I understand the emotional and the ritual behind the pen&paper.

    But it is very hard to re-connect with your journal when you write, let’s say for several months. And it is only then when you begin to reconnect with your journal, with your past -self, when the magic happens!

    Because Journaling is one of my favorite subjects and I studied this subject in the last 2 years, here it is a short conversation with a friend of mine who is reviewing journals (digital ones) for several years and gave me 8 reasons why he find digital journal more effective:

    1.MORE PRIVATE- As amazing as those diaries with lock and key are, no printed book will ever be as private as a password protected file. 

    2.SAFER AND MORE SECURE- Since digital journals are easier to duplicate than handwritten ones, it is also easier to back them up. 

    3.CLOUD JOURNALING- Classic journal updating on the fly means lugging the thing around you wherever you go. Digital journal updating on the fly- with the power of the cloud- is available on the nearest device connected to the internet. 

    4.TYPING VS WRITING- If I staged a competition between myself and myself, one using paper and pen and the other with a keyboard, the latter would wipe the floor with the former. The simple math of having ten fingers at your disposal over one hand explains why most people type faster than they write. 

    5.DATE STAMPS- With a digital journal you don’t have to worry about including the date since it is always included automatically. Some even include the time of day! 

    6.PICTURES- Classic journal: take a picture, develop it, bring it home, cut it up, get the glue, paste it on your page. Digital journal: take a picture, insert it into your journal. 

    7.WITH YOU AT ALL TIMES- Online journals are available wherever there is a computer with an internet connection. Mobile journals are even more portable since they are with you whenever you have your phone. With a classic journal you might have to remember to put it in your purse or just write in it when you are home. And what do you do if you are a guy like me and don’t use purses! 

    8.SEARCHABLE- I can personally attest to the frustration of trying to find a particular entry in a hand-written journal. Basically, your only tool is roughly knowing the time frame it was written in. When you journal is in binary form, a simple search will quickly help you find the right entry, especially if you make a diligent effort to include important key words as you write them


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