I have always been that kind of person who writes down her thoughts. But don’t get me wrong, I don’t do this everyday. However, the times I have done it, I have not regretted it. Usually I write in my journal in times of life highs and lows. I write when I am going through change or when I am headed for adventure.
For example, I still to this day re-read the journal entry I made on my first day of University. It always brings a smile to my face when I see my first shot of choice was green apple vodka. Oh Amanda, how you have grown since that day.
But honestly, even though I don’t journal all the time, a small note here or there can really help you in the future. Here are a few reasons I have found journaling to be so powerful for my own personal self growth.
“The more light you allow within you, the brighter the world you live in will be.”
– Shakti Gawain
There is nothing better than re-reading something you wrote in the past and reflecting on how you have changed. I remember going through a tough time in first year University and I wrote a lot about finding my way and learning who I really am. Now when I read those entries I am reminded though I am not exactly where I expect to be, I sure have come a long way. It is encouraging to see how you have grown or toughed your way through situations. Don’t forget, you’ve go this!
2. The Power of 20/20
Of course I have written about old boyfriends, love interests and friendships. The great thing about revisiting a moment from the past is you already know how the story turns out. Because of this you are able to revaluate the situation with clear eyes.
I can honestly tell you, the moment you re-read an entry about a heartbreak and you finally feel nothing is possibly one of the most powerful moments. I recently found an old notebook and stumbled across a letter I wrote to the person who had at the time broken my heart. When reading it I was completely flabbergast at my words. In other words, I was definitely going through some growing.
I realized now I have absolutely no emotion towards this person at all. It was a breath of fresh air.
This relationship would have never worked for a variety of reasons. Looking back on the experience I can see it all in plain sight. When I re-read this entry I was empowered to know I got through that moment of grieving and I was able to move on with my life. Thus, giving me solace that I could do this again.
3. Take it out on the journal
Sometimes I think if my mother found my journal at age 13 she would have thought I totally hated her. But really it’s only because then I wrote in times of internal turmoil. Okay that is a bit of a stretch, but I only wrote when I was mad about something. And at age 13 usually it’s your parents.
Journaling is perfect when you want to be completely irrational. You can word vomit all over the pages of a journal without fear of someone thinking you’re gone nuts. Usually when I do this I simply just feel better. I feel more at ease that these thoughts have left my body and I can start to be a rational human again.
Also, because your thoughts are now on paper, you can analyze them one by one. Versus going into a typical tail spin of emotion. Just tackle one at a time.
4. Pictures say 1000 words, but words are pretty great too
Of course I love to look over photos of vacations and adventures. But, when I re-read my journal from the service trip I did in Costa Rica I can’t believe some things I wrote. I would not have remembered the small details of the experience by simply looking at a photo. Though photos really are a passport through time, some special memories are best written down.
Did I mention writing things down can safe guard you in arguments later? Just saying, it is literal written proof you were right, Aunt Judy did say she liked you better!
5. Goal Setting with a journal
When you keep a journal, try to implement some type of goal driven activity. This can help you to keep on track or even to see how your priorities have shifted. When I look back I laugh to myself that I planned on being a dermatologist, have three kids and marry by 25! Wow this past Amanda chick was wrong!
But seriously, goal setting is a fabulous thing to have in place. Write down a one year plan, a five year plan and a ten year plan. It may seem crazy but an annual check-in with yourself can be a saving grace. If you don’t have anyone in your life pushing your stubborn butt to fight for your dreams, you may need to be your own life advocate.
Here are some of my favorite journals right now.
So there you have it. My top reasons for journaling every so often. I highly recommend picking up a cute paperback journal and physically writing. It will take more time and allow you to really think about what you want to put on the page.
Also, I have officially switched from green apple vodka to wine #adulting.