A month has passed since I’ve done my first challenge out of my 12 Months of Habit and I’ve started off with a deceptively difficult task of Journaling for the last 30 days.
I say it is deceptive because theoretically, it shouldn’t take much effort to sit down for at least 5 minutes daily to jot down literally anything off of my head and yet, I’ve still found the task to be challenging. Prior to this whole experiment, I have also tried my luck to journal as much as I can, but I cannot tell you how many times I’ve failed to be consistent in keeping my end of the bargain.
Like I said in the premise, the biggest challenge is coming up with something to write. Especially that I’ve spent most of the month just locked up in my room as I didn’t feel too comfortable yet to mingle outside, it felt like there wasn’t anything monumental that happened which was exciting to write about. My routine was awfully mundane. If someone were to discover my journal one day, they would more than likely shut it close right away because it wasn’t enough to keep the interest going.
But here’s the thing that you should know about journaling — you’re writing for you and about you. I didn’t realize it at first but eventually it dawned on me that I was subconsciously making it performative and pretentious, at most. When this realization was out of the way, I was able to treat journaling more casually and allow myself to let the words flow about whatever – without any external pressure on what needs to be written down.
Journals don’t necessarily have to have a strict format. It could be anything from the daily happenings in your life, what kept you up late last night, what fantasy you’re working on right now, your realizations from a previous conversation or memory, new learnings out of stuff you’ve read or watched — the list is endless. Cliché as it may sound, the most important thing is you pick up the pen and actually write something.
I’ll keep this post short and sweet, so allow me to list down 5 things I’ve learned from journaling for the last 30 days:
Good diving board for writing. Ask any aspiring writer what’s one of the most difficult thing to achieve when you’re in this path and I’m almost absolutely sure that it would be to actually start out writing; it is always the bottleneck. You can have a bazillion of ideas and concepts to write about, but finding the right words to convey the message perfectly is the challenge. We’re trapped in an endless block. Journaling, as a solution, has shown itself as a good warm-up to this because it doesn’t follow any strict criteria and allows you to write without judgements, without restrictions. You can be as daring, vulnerable and honest in any level you’re comfortable with which then in turn makes you push the boundaries in writing.
Helps release negative thoughts and/or feelings. I’m not the type to enjoy confrontations and have the tendency to keep anything negative to myself because I do not want to trouble others when I feel discomfort. If you’re also like this, having a journal helps as you have an avenue or a safe space where you can be brutally honest, no matter how dark, ridiculous or embarrassing your thoughts are; without having to apologize about it. This tip was especially helpful to me in times when I’m holding back from saying things out of spite which would otherwise hurt the people I care for. I also find this helpful at the time this month when I felt very overwhelmed with the dramatic changes happening left and right in my life.
Aids easier recall of memory. Having a journal gives you an easy access to a collection of past events and occurrences at the palm of your hand. We’re sometimes too caught up with our fast-paced environment that we forget to be present in our life. We always focus on what’s next, instead of what’s now. Of course, it is not at all bad to look for what’s ahead but what’s present keeps us humble and/or grounded — it teaches us experience so that our future will be handled more efficiently. Studies also show that actually writing down things help us to retain key information better because we process or sift through our millions of thoughts.
Allows you to express your ideas and imaginations into words. I am the type to always have fantasies and imaginations all the time but store it mostly in my head and revisit them when I feel like it. Having started a journal however, my ideas were able to branch out when they’re written down and I could go on with the details easily since I have them handy. In many of my blog posts here, I have picked up a couple of phrases I’ve written in previous journal entries because it was relevant and I’ve already pondered about the idea in great detail before.
Daily practice builds into a habit. When I started the challenge, I have subconsciously decided to tackle the journaling task first thing in the morning. I do it in a retroactive fashion, writing about the previous day’s rundown. Eventually, it became my form of meditation and cliché as it may sound, I looked forward to the following day when I can sit down and have time dedicated just for myself. Journaling allowed me to become more observant and more intuitive with how I go about my daily life. I inspect what I feel, what I think and put them into paper either as a release or maybe even as a future reference, if useful.
Although I already finished an entire 30 days of journaling, I have taken it upon myself to continue the habit as much as I can because of the above realizations or reasons. Especially for me who loves to write sporadically, it was helpful to have an avenue where I can just be as silly as I can be.
How about you? Do you still keep a daily journal habit up to this day? Please feel free to share your story with me on the comments box below 🙂