In earlier generations it was common to keep a diary or personal journal. Today few people do it, and very few recognize the value and astonishing power of keeping a journal. If you can read and write, you have access to the most amazing source of personal power and magic! Try it for 30 days and watch it transform your life! Clients periodically tell me they couldn't possibly find the time. I ask them to try it for 30 days. Then clients often tell me they couldn't possibly live without the power of their journals. The following are my list of the top 10 reasons to keep a journal.
1. A journal will clarify your goals. As you write a few thoughts each day, your ideas about what is important, what is worthy of your life and your time will become much clearer. You'll automatically discover what you really want in life.
2. A journal will simplify your life. Spending as little as 10 minutes with pen and paper describing your values, noting your achievements and giving thanks for the joys of life, will make you less tolerant of life's distractions. Things become much simpler when you write them down.
3. A journal will strengthen your relationships. It will give you time and the words to express your feelings, it will help you understand and be patient with your loved one's peccadilloes, and it will teach you to love more powerfully.
4. A journal will make you more attractive. Socrates said, "Know thyself." Keeping a journal will help you know yourself and express yourself more clearly, and that is amazingly attractive!
5. A journal will empower you. Thinking with pen and paper forces you to eliminate fuzzy or confusing images and "laser" in on precisely the right word, the most powerful image to express yourself. Keeping a journal will make you more a better communicator, and that can make you rich!
6. A journal will eliminate temptation. Some ideas sounds great in our imagination, but when written on paper they just aren't the same! It's easy to blurt out "I hate my job!", but writing about what it means to quit, change careers and start over will quickly result in one of two things: The temptation will go away, or you'll start generating actual plans to make your life better. Either way, you win!
7. A journal affirms the reality of your life. Writing about life adds meaning and power. Journal your child's first steps or first tooth, starting school, her first date and high school graduation adds substance to these things. A friend of mine just became a grandfather for the first time and gave his son, the proud father, a fat 3-ring binder of notes he'd written as he'd watched his baby boy grow 25 years ago. Together they cried and laughed at the reality that life is a sacred, wonderful thing.
8. A journal helps you be quiet. Journalizing has been called a form of meditation. It has a similar power to quiet the mind and focus your thoughts. It even has the power to turn off the TV! It can heal anxiety, change your breathing and make you smile. What more could you ask?
9. A journal helps you speak out. Many of my articles, letters to the local paper, and letters to friends began as notes in my journal. A journal helps ideas become words, and it provides a nursery for words to grow into sentences and paragraphs, until finally they need a stage on which to express themselves. Sometimes that "stage" is a candle-lit dinner, other times it's a protest sign or a letter to an old friend. Whatever form it takes, many of those messages would never have been born without the safety of a journal in which to grow.
10. Finally, a journal just feels good! Using quality paper and a fountain pen or other beautiful instrument with just the right "heft" and feel is a wonderfully sensuous, delightful experience. It will cheer you up, reduce your stress, make you smile and add to your life. Who knows, it may even improve your sex life or make you more patient with the kids! (Well, it might!)