I was clearing out some old stuff last week when I found a journal I kept when I was 17, (For context, I am almost 30). It felt really amazing to read my thoughts, the things that I considered problems back then, the small joys and triumphs.
I have been journaling since I was a child. Nobody put me to it, I just enjoyed doing it. Nothing beats going back to read your thoughts at different points of your life: your struggles, the small joys of triumph, of defeat, the situations you survived. It sharpens your perspective on the present and can even help you predict the future.
I think journaling is a habit everyone should cultivate, especially these days we are holed up at home due to the pandemic. Who knows, this may be an opportunity to explore your writing gift. And if that doesn’t work, it could always be an isolation therapy and a way to document sketches of stories to tell your children. I have detailed some other reasons you should re-consider journaling.
One of the best ways to stay accountable to yourself is by keeping a journal. It serves as a reminder for the things you said you’ll do or never do again. The processes that lead you to success and the ones that led to the failure is all recorded. A few years ago, I recorded some major success in my professional life, and I journaled through it. Anytime I feel stuck with my work, I always go back to that journal to trace the steps that lead me to that success. The same with failures, and bad habits you want to drop.
A letter to your future self
Anytime I read the journals I kept in my teenage years, I double down with laughter, the little things I considered to be problems! Besides the laughter, journals help me see the shape of my life journey. It’s so easy to forget our little beginnings and the things that inspired us.
Our memories are not as accurate as we like to think. When you journal daily, you have a better chance at recording your thoughts. Sometimes we think we will remember things but when you need those thoughts the most, they are gone. Imagine reading your journals when you are 70!
When I am going through a stressful situation, or I have a stressful day I always journal. This isn’t because I want to keep bad memories, but it helps in relieving stress. Sometimes, the problems that feel so massive in our head, when we start writing them out you see that it wasn’t so bad after all, and writing helps you think and gives you better perspective
I think this is one of the best benefits of journaling. Your journals are like a mirror for your thoughts and actions; you see yourself as you really are, warts and all. It gives you time to pause, to think and reflect. It is a reminder to feel gratitude for your life, to be strengthened towards your resolves, and to pursue your goals and aspirations.
P.S: If you are afraid someone would read your physical journal, you can keep an online journal, just remember to back it up.