How long has it been since you’ve written in your journal?
Wait, did you say you don’t have a journal? Get on that, bro!
I experience quite a few benefits almost every single time that I take 15 to 45 minutes to journal. I feel calmer, my thoughts feel more organized, and I gain clarity on what I want.
Most importantly, journaling allows me to look back at what was going on in my life in the past.
When I look back a few years, I feel grateful for the progress that I’ve made, even though there are so many ways in which my life can still improve.
Here, take a look at this excerpt from my journal from early 2016:
I’m struggling to write consistently. In fact I’m struggling to write at all. The problem is that I’m simply not sitting down and writing! I find other things, such as stretching [and] meditating … more important.
Should I write my blog in English or in Dutch? I’ll write it in English for now: I wrote the first post in English, the domain name is in English, I’m more comfortable writing in English, and the potential audience is larger if I write in English. But there would be benefits to writing in Dutch too…— Peter’s journal, April 19, 2016
Well, I’ve written every day since April 7, 2018 now. So I don’t have that problem anymore!
Or how about this one, from a journal entry I write while I was dealing with burnout:
I often have trouble making decisions. For example, just now I didn’t know whether I wanted to meditate, journal, do some yoga, or go through my usual mobility and stretching routine. … I think it’s often difficult to choose what to do because I don’t know what I want. And sometimes I might (think I) know what I want in the short run, but not in the long run, or vice versa.
Some of the temporary solutions I’ve tried include flipping a coin, forcing myself to choose one option even if I don’t think it’s “the best choice”, trying to feel what I want, thinking which option would make me feel best afterwards, and scheduling (i.e. choosing in advance).
None of these adequately solve the problem for now.— Peter’s journal, September 4, 2018
Needless to say, I am doing worlds better today.
It’s extremely valuable to be able to look at the problems your past self was dealing with. In all likelihood, you have better problems today.
So, ask yourself: how far away are the nearest pieces of pen and paper?