Whether it’s on a daily basis or once a week in the weekend, keeping track of what I’ve done, how I think and how I feel has allowed me the power to look back, in order to move forward.
I started journaling almost three years ago, I bought a small moleskin journal and started keeping a few lines a day on what I had done every day. I did it as a way to record where my energies were going and then reflect on what I had accomplished and what was still pending.
I learned that most of what presses me right now would not be anywhere near in my radar a few weeks in, and while some struggles would keep on longer than others, the great majority would be tiny storms that at the moment feel like grade 5 hurricanes.
Journaling also gave me the power to reflect and recognize the tiny wins that otherwise would go unnoticed and refuel when most needed.
The first year, I wrote on the moleskin with more frequency than I would have predicted when I got started. The second-year I built on that tiny habit that I created and tried as much as possible to keep up to date. The fact that the medium limited it to a few lines a day meant that I could do it in just under a couple of minutes and beat any kind of mental resistance against it, this is key for when you are picking up something new.
As time has passed, I have evolved the way I journal; I have also come to recognize the state of my mental health base on the frequency or rather the misses on entries on the journal – funny, because it’s on the down days that you need the most to get stuff out of your system or your head as it’s the case.
Keeping a journal forces you to look procrastination right in the eyes, it also allows you to confront the most terrible of the fears: the
waste pass of time. As a human being, it also gives you the power to reflect on your actions, decisions and thought process.
I have, since that first moleskin, moved to digital. I’ve done it so that I can keep it with me at all times and to not depend on whether I have the diary with me or not on a specific day. It has also allowed me to bring some more structure to it, add some metadata to my entries, which, as a record of mementos, has played its roll when looking back.
There are a lot of different kind of journal methods out there, if you want, go test a few and start with the one that you feel fits the most with what you want to accomplish – keep in mind though that the most important part of any journal is the frequency, once you have established that bit, structure comes next but will never beat the fact that you write with consistency.
If there is anything that has surprised me the most about journaling is how easy it is for us to forget the immediate past.
It’s surprising as it’s scaring, because it makes you realize the flimsy of our minds, its recollection and the lifespan of our memories in our little brain. It’s also scary because it shows you how ephemeral life is and how time is the one thing you will never get back, and in that realization, you understand the value of making the most with the time allowed to you.
Think about it, do you remember what you did last Tuesday?
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