Hot take: there’s nothing more intimate than a fountain pen and a blank sheet of paper. Let me explain.
The bliss that accompanies a journaling session is unmatched. Bonus points if you can set the ambiance with low lights and a warm-scented candle.
Truth be told, I stumbled upon the practice of journaling before I knew what journaling was. Writing down ideas and making to-do lists was simply second nature for me!
My Introduction to Journaling
My experience in journaling began during the pandemic, although it wasn’t the most formal introduction to the practice.
I was on house arrest (only figuratively, of course), and being locked up in the house, my mind began to wander. I get bored pretty easily.
Being a business-oriented person, I thought I’d make good use of my time by starting a business. Better yet, let’s see if I could make a whopping $1,500 a month to fund a home gym. And so the challenge began.
But, how would I reach my goal? How much money would I have to make every day of the month to achieve such an income? What were the individual steps I’d have to take to get the cold, hard cash rolling in?
My experience in journaling begins here. I found an unused composition notebook downstairs in the study and claimed it as my own. I rushed back upstairs and closed my bedroom door, ripe with ideas to materialize.
I began by calculating the daily amount of money I’d need to make and then followed with an unofficial business plan. I then broke down what I’d need to accomplish day by day to meet my expectations.
I never acted on any of those ambitions, but that’s not the point. The point is that simply writing down some ideas opened the floodgates to a world that I didn’t know existed. I had a ways to go.
The Rabbit Hole
It took me a solid seven months following my makeshift business plan to realize what journaling had to offer. When I discovered that journaling was a specified thing, and had a devoted following, I delve in a little deeper.
I started 2021 off with a bang and bought into the journaling obsession. I read this book, called The Miracle Morning, that recommended journaling in the morning. So, I tried it.
Every morning, I’d write down affirmations in six different areas of my life. The book promised this practice would transform your life forever. I kept on with it for about a month before deciding it was a waste of my time.
So, I took a hiatus from journaling. I thought, this is so corny, how could this ever help me actually achieve anything?
I quickly answered my question.
When I realized there are different forms of journaling for different purposes, I really reaped the benefits! I wasn’t limited to repetitive daily sentences promising how wonderful my life would be; it’s meant to be an individual practice. It varies from person to person.
Over the next couple of months following my resignation from journaling, I slowly eased back into it. I'll admit, I wasn’t consistent, but I began to see the same benefits.
Instead of affirmations and long lists of the things I was grateful for, my journal (still a composition notebook) wound up filled with goals and thoughts I’d pondered for a while.
Disclaimer: affirmations and gratitude are great; I’m not knocking them. I simply get more benefits from other things.
If an idea or philosophy I heard stuck with me, I wrote it in the journal. If I was overthinking anything, I rationalized it on paper. It was incredible.
Fast forward to the end of 2021, I bought in. I’d experienced benefits by journaling occasionally - imagine being consistent!
I asked for a Moleskin journal, a real journal, as a Christmas gift. My parents came through. Let me just say, Moleskin journals are amazing. If Moleskin has one fan, I am that fan. Get a Moleskin; you won’t regret it.
I say this to show I took journaling more seriously, and my habits evolved into what they are today.
I began the year with some goals of mine and some fun experiences I wanted to have this year. I swear by writing your goals down; they become so tangible and within your grasp. One of these goals was to journal three times a week.
A few months was enough to realize the stupidity of my goal. How was I supposed to make a habit out of journaling if I left it up to the whims of how I was feeling?
I adjusted accordingly and made it my goal to journal every day.
Journaling is a practice that evolves and conforms to fit your needs. Over time, the way I journal and the things I journal about have transformed drastically.
At the beginning of the year, I used my journal mainly for establishing my framework for the year. What were my goals, and how could I dissect them to make them more manageable?
As the year has gone on, my journaling sessions have shifted to reflect my current state. It’s reminders for myself, ideas for writing, recollections of my day, and maybe even answering writing prompts to get the juices flowing.
I take notes in my journal from time to time as well. I write about things I’ve learned or plans for my blog such as this journaling series.
I self-reflect too. I find self-awareness helps fix problems in my life before they arise; my philosophy is to diagnose the root before the symptoms even pop up.
Journaling went from somewhat of an abstract concept to a central pillar in my life over two years. I can only hope it takes a fraction of the time for you to realize the benefits journaling has to offer.
It’s not an exaggeration to claim journaling has helped shape who I am today. I’m grateful for it, and I don’t think I’ll be stopping anytime soon.
If you're still unconvinced journaling is the tool I've made it out to be, go read about the benefits of journaling. I promise you'll find yourself wondering if you can have that for yourself. I promise you, my friend, you absolutely can.