On Monday, we talked about how men and women throughout the ages have kept personal journals and three positive effects of daily journaling. If you missed it, run grab it so that you know where we are going today.
Today I want to help you establish journaling as a daily habit.
I'm sure that you've given journaling a shot once or twice before. Perhaps it didn't stick. Maybe you tried for a week or two, or maybe even three but eventually you stopped.
We usually fail to develop habits because we go about them unintentionally. We fail to think through the three main elements that matter. No matter the habit you are wanting to establish the three things you need to think through are:
Determine when you will journal. Ideally you would want to journal at the beginning of your day but in the end time of day isn't as important. Establish a time each day when you can retreat, think and write. Having a consistent time helps you in establishing a the habit as it becomes part of your routine.
Decide where you will journal. My wife has a favorite chair in our backyard that she enjoys spending her mornings in coffee in one hand and her journal in the other. Me, I prefer to sit in my office chair. No matter where you choose to write, pick a place and establish that as your daily journaling spot. Establishing a place helps root the habit to not just a time of day but also to a physical location.
One of the most helpful ways to establish a journaling plan is to use a template. By using a template you'll remove the worry of what to write about. At first glance, this might appear confining but in reality it will create freedom. To create your very own journaling template spend some time thinking of a few questions that will help you process the day before, access how you are feeling & plan for the day ahead.
Not sure what questions to ask yourself? Below is an image of the journaling template I've been using.
My hand writing can be difficult to read at times so here are the eight questions I'm currently using:
1. What did I do yesterday? (hit the high notes. What do you want to remember?)
2. What lessons did I learn?
3. What am I thankful for right now?
4. How am I feeling right now?
5. What have I read in the last 24 hours? (record everything you've read since you last journaled. Maybe even a few important insights.)
6. What are my plans for today? (Review schedule and major tasks)
7. What one thing must I accomplish today?
8. Who will I see today and can I intentionally add value to their day?
Below is one of my real journal entries from the past few weeks.
As you can see I ask myself the 8 questions and then write out my answers to each prompt. It is simple and helps me narrow my focus to the areas that really matter to me. If you're having difficulty coming up questions of your own, grab these and give them a try. Over time you will tweak the questions and eventually arrive at a template of your own.
7 Day Experiment: Establish a time, place and plan for journaling. Then give it a try for 7 days and let me know how it goes.