For as long as I can remember I have kept a journal. And I have always loved writing whether it be letters, poetry, journaling or blogging. But one thing that I have noticed over years of putting pen to paper and fingers to keys is this. Everything is a practice.
Maybe you’re like me; intermittently grabbing a notebook and scribbling musings. You might even have more than one journal. One in every room and handbag for when inspiration strikes. Yes, I know. I’m there with you. I’m the last person who NEEDS to go to Officeworks to purchase more paper and pens. But I do. (Just don’t leave me alone there for too long, please!).
It fills me with so much joy to write. It’s beautiful but it’s messy. I’m forever collating notes and tearing pages to reorganise the themes each journal seems to take on. And as ‘me’ as it is to do things this way, it feels inconsistent. If only I could be more organised and get more out of my love for journaling.
The key to personal growth for me has always been consistency. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is, therefore, not an act but a habit. Something those Greek philosophers knew way back (although forgive me if this is misquoted – the internet these days is full of incorrectly attributed quotes).
Creating a Journaling Practice
When it comes to starting any new activity, it takes more commitment in the beginning before we can call it a habit. Good intentions alone won’t get you there. We need continued inspiration to maintain our actions, to keep us showing up. This is particularly hard when the activity doesn’t have ‘instant’ or visible results.
What if instead of us expecting to get something out of journaling, we looked at it as a personal ritual, as important as brushing our teeth morning and night. What if we embraced it as a personal development practice, a self-care practice or ‘me time’.
Building a practice that feels more like a daily treat is more likely to last than something perceived as a chore. If you create your practice around things that you love or in a space that you feel comfortable in, it will encourage your practice.
Here are some tips to encourage your practice:
- Find a comfortable space. The quieter the better.
- Use any notebook – this isn’t about aesthetics, this is about you and your practice. (But, if a beautiful notebook makes you want to write, then that’s okay too).
- Set a timer if you feel short of time or need to keep to a schedule. Even 10 minutes will help to get you started in creating this practice.
- Create a ritual to go with your journaling, such as making a cup of tea.
- Take a few deep breaths and settle in before you start writing.
- Don’t hold back. Write whatever comes to you without forcing or directing it.
- This is YOUR time. Allow yourself to explore this practice.
- Journal at the end of a meditation practice for a deeper connection with yourself.
What Can Journaling Do For You?
- First of all, this is more than a writing practice. The self-care that comes as a by-product of a journaling practice is worth it alone. Taking the time to pause, listen and reflect will enhance your sense of wellbeing.
- Writing at the beginning of the day allows us to focus, to move forward with clarity and with intention. We can lay our goals out, increase productivity and become more organised in our personal life.
- Writing at the end of the day gives us an opportunity to purge our thoughts and feelings, removing distractions and allowing for better rest. It’s also a good time for self-study and to reflect on our actions (or inactions) and emotions.
- Reflecting on past experiences that we have written about can give us insight into ourselves and how far we have come.
- Writing about our goals and aspirations and tracking how we work towards them gives us the greatest gifts later on. It’s hard to see progress from day to day, but looking back you will gain new motivation or inspiration from writing about your journey.
Want More? Here Are A Few Journaling Resources:
Connie Chapman – Create A Soulful Journaling Practice
Dr Kristin Neff – Self-Compassion Journaling Exercise
Jon ChunYan – Intuitive Journaling Kit