How Journaling Can Help You Live a Better Life Today and Tomorrow
Written By: Matt Mignona
Where your mind dwells is a powerful indicator of how far you will go. By choosing to focus on the positive and that which is good in your day, you are likely to see yourself as moving forward and feeling strong. However, just attempting a positive mindset rarely creates the long-lasting results that can be achieved by deliberately introducing journaling of your habits and mindsets. Whether you are working hard to counteract negativity in your workplace or designing a product that will benefit millions of people, you're more likely to get the job done if you spend some serious attention documenting what is fruitful and positive in your life.
Here are some of the benefits that you could draw from keeping a journal, and why we think that you'll be stunned by the results.
Priming the Pump: Writing Specific Goals Daily Leads to Strong Intention
Perhaps you, like me, have struggled with journaling. For one thing, it's easy to forget to do if you have no structure at all and if you don't have any kind of prompting or idea. It's easy to immediately turn to cycles of negativity and pointless ideas. Life appears uninteresting, frustrating, and depressing with a journal that has no point; it's no wonder that many of us start and stop one frequently!
However, a few key changes, which are exemplified in the Happier Mind Journal, produce an experience that could not be more opposite: characterized by positivity, purpose, and intention! Here are the keys to effective journaling:
- Write toward prompts that focus on the positive, the good, the gratitude, and the goals in your life. No more aimless writing or worrying about whether you have "enough" to write about: just answer the questions and watch your journaling flourish.
- Don't expect your writing about past experiences to drive your interesting life: focus on your forward-looking goals and how you are making your life extraordinary. A future focus will eventually show you that you are living that amazing life you were hoping for!
- Above all: make it a habit. Plan to do specific daily activities, 10-day evaluations, and 90-day assessments. Read on to see how habits are key to living with intention.
Habits and Rituals Fuel Creative People
Not every creative person has trouble with discipline and making time for themselves, but given the pressures of work, family, and school, many writers and artists struggle to see their dreams realized. For this reason, habits and rituals provide a powerful incentive follow through on one's ambitions. A physical, bound, and beautiful journal can be a manifestation of the commitment to spend time with your thoughts.
For some, it's a morning cup of tea with their journal while sitting at their favorite desk, and for others it is an afternoon spent in a comfy armchair, writing thoughts by the light of a golden sunbeam. Associating your journaling with a particular time, place, and set of objects helps you to protect that space from the many other demands on your time. It is almost like pouring your evening cup of decaf coffee (or tumbler of whiskey!) signals a part of your brain that says, "now is the time for thoughtfulness."
Journaling Impacts Your Attitude and Goal-Setting
Not only are you creating space for your thoughts when you write in a journal, but you also focus your energy in a very specific way. Consider the workings of the Reticular Activating System: it's a part of your brain that filters out the many, many unnecessary details of your life in order to help you zero in on the most important things. When you journal by documenting what is going well and what you are aiming for, you will be lighting up the RAS in your brain. You do your big-picture thinking when you journal, and you will often find that you achieve your goals faster when you are able to really discipline your mind to filter out the noise in life. After all, Aristotle himself said: "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act, but a habit." Journaling helps excellence become a place where you often mentally dwell.
Not only can you set goals better and with less frustration, but you also will find that a positivity focused journal also impacts how you filter information. As humans, we too often gravitate toward the negative, and a simple blank notebook can give rise to a lot of negative expressions; when you deliberately focus on how you can grow and improve rather than dwelling on past mistakes in rumination and frustration, you move forward effectively. Not only will such journaling practices increase your creativity and help you achieve your goals, but it will also put you in a headspace to feel positive and hopeful about what is coming next. For example, the Happier Mind Journal not only has you write your goals every day, but it has two separate goal writing sessions, creating comparisons and self-reflection along the way.
A Better You Tomorrow Begins With Documenting Today
It can be easy to assume that the thoughts or goals of this moment won't matter in the future, but that simply isn't the case. Most successful people have some effective way of documenting what they hope to achieve and where they feel they are on the road to achieving it, even if today's entry is just the seed of an idea. By choosing to put pen to paper, you are telling yourself that even the most insubstantial start of an idea could be exactly what you need to accomplish your goals in a fraction of the time you expected.
Journaling is endlessly helpful for creativity, positive habits, goal-setting, and your future achievements. However, all journals are not created equal! Consider a journal that prioritizes positive thinking and thoughtful self-reflection; this is how you can become the positive, self-actualized person that you dream of being. To get started on your positive habits, try our Self-Awareness Happiness Assessment and many other printable resources online.
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