On my birthday in 2013, I decided to start journaling daily. I had heard and been told for years about the importance of journaling each day. The late Jim Rohn once said, “It is challenging to be a student of your own life, your own future, your own destiny. Don’t trust your memory. When you listen to something valuable, write it down. When you come across something important, write it down. Take the time to keep notes and to keep a journal.”
I initially made a commitment to journal daily for the rest of 2013 however as the days, weeks and months passed by, I started to truly appreciate the benefits of journaling. I used Evernote for my daily journal entries but from January 1st, 2014, I switched over to Day One, which I have found to be a much nicer experience. I allow 15-30 minutes each night to make my journal entry.
Here are five of the benefits I have experienced from journaling daily for the past 13 months.
- Allows me to reflect back on my day. One of my mentors teaches a process called The Evening Review where you ask specific questions to review your day. An example of a question could be, “Where could I have been more decisive today?” This is meant to be a process that will allow you to come up with ways you could do something differently next time. I incorporate this process when reflecting back on my day and also detail the actual events that happened that day from the time I woke up to the present time. Not only does it give me a chance to document my day, it also creates a history of all the things I have been doing.
Before I started journaling, if I wanted to know what I did on a particular day, I’d have to guess and most times, it would not be accurate. Now, I have documented evidence of my daily activities. When reading back early journal entries, it’s a similar experience to looking at old photos of yourself, which is very nice.
- Clarifies my thinking. Writing each day has helped me generate new content on my blog consistently. Although I have had a blog for more than seven years, it has only been in 2013 that I have really committed to publishing new posts on a weekly basis. By giving myself the time every night to be quiet and think has allowed me to generate new ideas for my books and training programs.
- Check in on how I am feeling. The first question I ask myself every night is how am I feeling. While it only takes a few seconds to write down how I’m feeling, it forces me to check in and acknowledge that I am feeling a certain way. Sometimes I write down I’m feeling tired after a long day, sometimes I am excited about the days ahead and sometimes I am just feeling good. Whenever I am experiencing negative feelings, acknowledging how I am feeling is a simple and effective way to release those feelings.
- Extract lessons from the day. Each day I will will write down two lessons I learned that day. Sometimes it will be a lesson I learned a previous day, which is feedback that I have not fully integrated that lesson into my life. There are times when the lessons learned are written as quotes, which is future reference material for me. When I do go back and read previous lessons, they stimulate new ideas for things I am currently doing or for future blog posts. I also write down at least a couple of things I’m grateful for that happened on that day.
- Set intentions for the next day. I usually write a quick summary of what I’d like to do or experience the next day. It can be something specific or something broad like, “Think through my strategy for promoting my next book.” Journaling has allowed me to plan my next day, the night before, and I always end with writing down at least one thing I must accomplish the next day. This enables me to have a clear focus for the next day.
Having experienced and stayed committed to journaling daily for over a year, I can confidently say that it is now a habit that I will continue to maintain as the benefits far outweigh the time required to sit down and write. I encourage you to give this a go and experience it for yourself.
Question: If you do currently journal daily, what are some benefits you have experienced?
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