I’ll be honest, I was very skeptical about the benefits of writing in a journal.
Maybe it’s the masculinity or something else but I always thought it would a waste of time.
After 90 days I am happy to admit I was wrong.
I never, ever would have guessed there were so many benefits to writing in a journal.
After reading endless articles and reading about Lewis Howes journaling in his book, The School of Greatness, I thought I would try. There seemed to be a lot of benefits like gaining clarity, brain dumping your ideas and setting priorities for the day. I knew I could use a little (or a lot) of all of three of them in life so I gave it shot.
The end of January marked three full months journaling. I would love to say I went 90/90 days but I ended up missing six. Here’s why you should make journaling part of your daily routine.
It’s Journal — Not a Diary
I think the reason a ton of guys will scoff at the idea of journal writing is that it seems like a diary. Let’s be clear, diaries are for kids and tend to focus on the negative, doom and gloom. Journals are a place to collect your thoughts, document your life, and remind yourself of your goals.
Why It Works
I recommend journal writing — not journal typing. I’ve typed in the past and found it easy to be thinking one thing and typing something different. When you write in a journal however, you are forced to write your thoughts on paper.
It’s also very powerful for your subconscious mind to see your goals and idea written in your own handwriting. As you probably know the brain has two sides — left and right, both responsible for different functions.
As this Huff Post article said, “If you just THINK about one of your goals or dreams, you’re only using the right hemisphere of your brain, which is your imaginative center.
But, if you think about something that you desire, and then write it down, you also tap into the power of your logic-based left hemisphere…
And you send your consciousness and every cell of your body a signal that says, “I want this, and I mean it!”
Just the act of writing down your dreams and goals ignites an entirely new dimension of consciousness, ideas and productivity to the powerhouse that is your subconscious mind.
This simple act also opens your subconscious to “seeing” opportunities that simply can’t be observed if you’re tied up with THINKING about your goals.”
You Will Get Clear
The number one benefit I’ve found from journaling is that I am clear about what I am trying to achieve. Each day I reaffirm and write my daily goals and big picture vision. This will keep your top goals the guiding force for your day.
Often time we get so busy in life that our goals get pushed away to distractions. At work you might have to put out fires, sit in mind numbing meetings or deal with angry clients. At home you are bombarded by TV ads, social media, and family obligations. It’s easy to see your priorities get pushed aside.
Daily journaling will help you get clear and keep your goals a top priority!
Make Yourself Think
The most important part about daily journal writing is the actual writing part. With technology, human beings don’t spend much time actually writing anymore.
Journal writing is great because it makes you slow you mind down and actually force yourself to think. Your brain wasn’t designed to write and think about something else. It will force you right out your ideas and thoughts currently in your mind. This is why I spend so much time writing about goals.
Prioritize Your Goals
Do you have a lot you want to accomplish but can’t seem to make any progress towards your goals? Journal writing will absolutely help.
When you spend time writing your goals down everyday, morning and night, you will constantly keep your goals a top priority. The overwhelming majority of the population doesn’t set goals.
Clarify Your Goals
The more you write in a journal the more you flesh out your goals as you are constantly focusing on them every single day. As you write a goal I also ask myself out loud “How can I achieve this goal?”
When you ask yourself a question your brain actually wants to help you find an answer.
“Successful people ask better questions and as a result, get better answers.” — Tony Robbins
Learn to ask yourself better questions and write out the answers that come to you. Ask yourself things like:
- How can I achieve this goal faster?
- Who can I spend time with to increase the likelihood of my goal?
- What am I doing wrong? What am I doing right?
- Where am I spending my time?
I start each journal session by writing about things I am grateful for in my life. This could be taking my dog to the park, having dinner with my girlfriend, visiting my family, helping a stranger, the weather…literally anything.
The important piece to focus on what you are already grateful for, things you are already lucky enough to have. As you begin to spend time focusing on what you are grateful for, the more of it will come into your life.
Be thankful for what you have and you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have you will never, ever have enough. — Oprah
One of the biggest ways to reaching a goal is to have an accountability partner. But sometimes it’s hard to always find someone to hold you accountable, especially if you have a lot of goals.
Enter → your journal!
My motto is, if you write it in the journal it is going to happen. If you say you’re going to work out 5x this week in your journal on Monday you better be acting like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson five days.
The daily accountability is huge and will help you create discipline in your life to help you reach your goals.
Focus on Your Wins
Whether you have a great week with a ton of “wins” or a shit week where it feels like nothing goes right, there is almost always something to celebrate. On Sunday of each week I look back on the past week and write down all my wins. This could be anything you accomplished in any area of your life. Examples like:
- Lost 1.5 pounds
- Didn’t skip a day of my morning routine
- Meditated 3x
- Spent time with my family
- Got to quota at work or closed a big deal
Most people spend much more time dwelling on their losses than relishing their wins. Everyone fails, it’s part of life.
As Les Brown said, “You have to fail your way to success.”
Ready to Start Journaling?
I could make this post 10X longer because I have gotten so much value for journaling. It doesn’t have to take long either. I typically spend 10–15 minutes in the morning and 5–10 minutes at night. Start with gratitude, ask yourself questions, flesh out ideas, and make your dreams come true.
Call to Action
When it comes to improving your life I will try almost anything. Whether I am reading a book per week, writing in a journal, practicing incantations in the car like Tony Robbins I’ll try it.
If you want different results and want to live a life that is unlike others you have to be willing to do different things. I’ve made it easier with my “Success Cheat Sheet” which will show you the daily habits and morning routine that will help you reach your goals sooner.