“The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another; and his humblest hour is when he compares the volume as it is with what he vowed to make it.” — J.M. Barrie
You know exactly what you want in life. But you can’t seem to get there. You have all these resolves.
You’re going to get healthy.
You’re going to write that book.
You’re going to be more present with your loved ones.
You’re going to start that home-based business.
You’re going to learn another language.
You’re going to be more patient and happy.
You’re going to get out of debt.
You’re going to be more organized.
You’re going to be a better friend.
You’re going to overcome bad habits.
But the problem is: Doing these is really hard. And it gets harder every day. Some days, it seems more realistic to just give up entirely. The whole taking one step forward and one or two steps backward pattern is getting old.
You’ve been telling yourself for a long time “Today is the day!” only to fall into old ways before the day, or if you’re lucky, the week, is spent.
By writing our thoughts and feelings, and telling our stories and life events, we make sense of, and see the big picture of our lives. Journaling helps us celebrate our lives, move forward on goals, express our full-range of emotions, and savor the richness of our life.
For emergency and contingency situations
Ever need to know what you did on a specific day? This is one way a journal can be invaluable — documenting what you did and where you were. Examples include lawsuits, where you need to know exactly what you saw on a particular day. Your journal can be an important recording tool in emergency situations.
Improve your writing
The most certain way to improve your writing skills is simply to write a lot! This is more easily done if you keep a journal — especially if you write on a daily basis. In addition, any creative ideas you record in your daily journal can be reused and expanded on later.
Keep track of important decisions
A journal can be an important tool to track important decisions in your life. It’s a natural chronological record of your progress and can allow you to remember the reasons behind your decision-making for those all-important life events.
Interactions with people
Over the course of your life, most likely you will have had many, many significant and even profound interactions with the people you know. Keeping a journal helps you record those interactions. Review them from time to time to remember and understand why those people were so important to you — long after the events have passed.
See your progress
Progress is a critical component of any person’s growth and improvement. Did you become the person you are overnight? Of course not. In the context of your important life goals and personal objectives, a journal helps you see and keep track of the things that are truly important to you. Progress comes little by little.
Remember who you were
As a record of your personal history — all the events, decisions and important people who make you the person you are now are in your journal. Keeping an accurate and complete personal history can be extremely useful. By remembering who you were yesterday, you can avoid making the same mistake today.
Enhance your organizational skills
Journals are structured. Starting and maintaining a journal is one way to organize and structure your life, line upon line — like the lines and paragraphs of a journal.
Explore your thoughts
Keeping a journal can help you record all the thoughts you have on a particular day. They may be irrelevant, but they also may be inspirational and even educational for you when you get older and reflect on them. You may never know, but it never hurts to try.
Give meaning to your life
Meaning in life is a very subjective concept, unique to each person. Your journal can track your own dreams and aspirations and, through structure, allow you to figure out what is most important to you.
Daily reflection and self-awareness
Introspection is one of the most important human skills to master to become a more compassionate and overall better person. A daily journal allows you to have that introspection — even if it’s just a taste — to reflect on who you were that day.