Why you need to be journaling


I’ll get straight to the point on this one, you should be journaling. It’s far too easy to let life flow from day to day, to get caught in that flow and let it drift you to where ever you’re end up. It’s not like if you don’t journal you’ll end up homeless thinking to yourself, “If only I’d journaled! How foolish was I?!” But there are some obvious benefits to journaling and some of them will definitely affect your life in positive ways. I’ll list them out and explain one of the reasons I began A2A while I’m at it.

To begin with, and most obviously, journaling forces you to sit down and think back on your day/week. It’s really easy to get home from school/work and just wipe it from your mind, like it was some sort of bad dream that you can forget about now that you’re home. But it’s important to sit down and think about what you went through that day, taking the time to think about what you could have done differently. When you sit down at the end of a long week, instead of distracting yourself with television, you could be sitting down with a piece of paper, writing down all the things you noticed about the week. Were you unhappy, were you hungry at work everyday, was there something you did wrong, did you not put aside enough leisure time for yourself, or was your week perfect? Sitting down and writing things down can give you something to reflect back on to help you make better decisions about the next week coming up.

Journaling can help from day to day as well, taking time and writing down the events of the day forces you to rethink them in a different frame of mind than you had when you were going through them. For example, if you and a co-worker had a fight over something that day you’d probably only remember the frustration you felt in the moment, unless you go back and think about why the fight happened. Some people dump the problems they had at work on their friends or their significant other as a way of rehashing the events of the day and getting them out in the open. You can do the same thing by journaling, and by writing them to yourself you’re not burdening the people around you with your emotional baggage. It may sound harsh, but unless you have a therapist for a friend, they likely don’t want to listen to every problem you have. Instead I find it’s best to write down your thoughts, get them out of your head and think about what might have really been going on. In the moment you might have just felt your co-worker was being an ass, but maybe if you go back and think about it with a clear mind you’d remember hearing about their mother being sick. That co-worker might be dealing with a huge amount of pain, and while misdirected rage is never right, you can imagine how you’d handle being given the news of your loved one potentially dying. For this reason, it’s extremely important to rethink situations to get the full scope of what might be going on in the background.

And to the efforts of long-term goals, journaling can help you there too. Having a report/check in on your daily life can be something you can use to look back on the year and what became of it. Did you complete your goal for lent? Was it really important to you if you didn’t? Did you make the most of the summer while it was here? Do you wish you’d gone to the beach more? Do you wish you’d partied more? I bet you wish you’d spent your time more responsibly, maybe you wish you’d spent more time with your friends and less time in front of the TV. Or heck, maybe you wish you’d caught up on all of your favorite shows instead of working so much. You do you, but journaling helps you at least realize you’re doing you, and not just going along with the motions. Journaling gives you a tool at the end of the year to use as a guide for what you want next year to look more like.

As I promised though, I’ll talk a little about one of the reasons I started A2A. Gold star for you if you were able to guess, I’ve spent… way too much time drifting. Take it from someone who knows, there’s nothing you’ll regret more than wasting time. Sure, you might regret being stupid and buying a big fancy car you can’t afford, but when you get older you’ll regret the amount of hours you had to work to pay for that car, not the money itself. So with A2A existing as a sort of online journal, I’m partly doing this as a way to keep my thoughts and habits in check, at the end of this year I can look back and say I did everything I’d like to have done. Or if not that, at least I can look back and decide on what needs to change for next year. I might look back and notice my finances are slipping, that I gained weight, that I haven’t put enough time aside for friends and family, or maybe I’ll see some other trend I could work on fixing. Maybe I’ll look back and discover my life needs more memes…… ya, that’s probably it…. I just need to set aside more time spent scrolling Facebook memes and then my life would be perfect.

A word of advice though, if you’re journaling on a digital format where you can delete entries, delete negative entries after they’ve becomes too old for it to be useful. I spent 9 months travelling across Canada, I made a journal entry whenever I felt a rush of emotions or the need to tell someone something without having anyone to tell it to. I had two folders, one I called the ramblings of a sociopath and the other was labelled sunshine and rainbows. You can guess which folder the bad day entries went in to…. I got my negative thoughts out of my head and on to my laptop and went on with my days. After the experience was over, I reviewed those entries and wrote down everything I thought was important, and then I deleted the ramblings of a sociopath. So to this day, as my memories of the experience fade, the only thing I have to look back on are pictures of all the people I met and the good times that I thought were so good I committed them to paper(code?). Learn what you can from your bad entries, but don’t let them outstay their welcome.

To wrap this up though, journaling is a great way to get your thoughts out of your head and on to paper. To help you cleanse your day and give it a place to rest rather than on your shoulders. To help you look back on situations in a different light, in order to help you make better decisions about your life in the future. Over all, journaling is a great tool to help you better your life and I suggest that everyone do it.

This weeks advice

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