Journaling

A simple practice for introspection, self-questioning, and raising your awareness.

Level of Difficulty

moderate

Required Effort

medium

Recommended Frequency

daily

Raising your awareness is essential for your personal growth. Journaling is a process of deliberate introspection and self-questioning.

A journaling practice is a Magic Move that can help you set and reach your goals. It can also help you work through difficult emotions and better understand yourself.

In this Magic Move, we’ll give you some tips on how to build a consistent journaling practice.

We’ll also share some ideas on how to make your journal entries more effective.

He who learns but does not think, is lost! He who thinks but does not learn is in great danger.
Confucius

Why should you journal?

The benefits of journaling are visualized in the diagram below:

A visual overview of why journaling is helpful for your personal growth

How you think, feel, and behave does not happen by chance but results from an internal process that never stops. 

You process all the input from the environment, from your mind and body on the inside. Most of this processing happens below the threshold of your conscious awareness. You are unaware of many reasons why you think, feel, and act the way you do.

Journaling is a great way to get in touch with your internal processes. You reflect on how you thought, felt, or behaved and try to make what happened almost automatically more conscious. You raise your awareness.

This allows you to create a plan for dealing with the same situation, thoughts, or feelings differently in the future. You will be more vigilant going forward and able to change your response to external or internal triggers.

Journaling can help you work through challenging situations and make better decisions. 

Journaling can also help reduce stress and anxiety. It’s a healthy outlet for emotions that might otherwise build up and lead to negative consequences.

And finally, journaling is an excellent way of tracking your progress over time. You can look back at old entries and see how far you’ve come!

People do not like to think. If one thinks, one must reach conclusions. Conclusions are not always pleasant.
Helen Keller

Benefits of Journaling

There are many benefits to keeping a journal, but here are a few of the most important ones:

  • Helps you clarify your thoughts and feelings

    Knowing what you're thinking and feeling can be challenging when you're feeling overwhelmed. Writing down your thoughts can help you sort through them. Once they're out of your head, you may find they're not as complicated or overwhelming as before.

  • Encourages self-reflection and awareness

    Regularly reflecting on your thoughts and experiences can help you become more aware of yourself–what makes you happy, stresses you out, etc. With this knowledge, you can make better decisions about how to live your life.

  • Improves your decision-making skills

    Journaling can also help improve your decision-making skills by forcing you to think about the consequences of your choices before making them. When you take the time to reflect on a situation before acting, you're more likely to make wise decisions that you won't regret later on.

There is no right way to journal

You can journal in whatever way you want. Using the traditional pen and paper method can be helpful, as writing by hand stimulates your brain more than typing on a keyboard. You also have more flexibility to draw figures, charts, or mindmap.

A journal entry can be as long as multiple pages or as short as one paragraph. 

Starting a journal is easy, but sticking with it long-term can be tricky. Here are four tips for keeping up with your journal:

  • Figure out what works best for you

    Some people like strict rules when they journal (e.,g., must write X number of words every day), while others prefer looser guidelines (e.,g., will write when inspiration strikes). There's no right or wrong way–just figure out what works best for you and stick with it.

  • Pick the right time

    You might prefer writing first thing in the morning to set the tone for the day ahead or at night so you can wind down from all that's happened.

  • Find a comfortable spot

    Your journaling session will be much more enjoyable and productive if you're comfortable.

  • Write about whatever feels right

    There's no wrong way to do this–just let whatever wants to come out come out. When you don't have anything to write about, write about anything. You can be surprised by what you put on paper once you get your creative juices flowing.

A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.
William James

Conclusion

Journaling is a Magic Move that can help support your growth journey. We’ve shared some tips on how to get started, as well as some ideas on how to make your journal entries more effective. Now it’s up to you – try it and see how it goes!

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