I first discovered the power of daily journaling in 2010 with The Artist’s Way. At the time, I was hiding out in the South of France on a 6-month sabbatical recovering from a 20-year marketing career that had left me burnt out. Journaling became the essential tool to regaining my health and wellbeing and rediscovering my creativity so I could write a 68,000-word manuscript for my third book, Unstuck in Provence.
Today, some years later, I still handwrite in my journal every morning for at least three pages. Free-form journaling has become a daily habit as essential as brushing my teeth or taking a shower. It would be fair to say that journaling has literally changed my life and that it’s been the ultimate companion to help me gain clarity of purpose and bring it to life.
My journal is the place to record my desires, express my gratitude, work through my emotions and make plans for the future. One of the greatest gifts of journaling is how it helps me make both big and small decisions. Often I’ll go to sleep at night posing a question and in the morning, the answer miraculously appears in my journal. The words just seem to leap onto the page and they always lead me to my truth.
It’s why I made journaling the backbone of The Purpose Project.
Many people however, find the idea of daily journaling really challenging. Negative self-talk and judgements appear as they first attempt to journal. “But I can’t write. I have nothing worth writing about. It seems so self-indulgent and self-centred. I don’t have time for it. What if someone finds it and reads it? What if it brings to light, that thing, that problem, that pain I’ve been avoiding for years?” And on and on, the excuses for not journaling arise.
So why should we bust through the excuses and the discomfort to make journaling a daily habit?
Here’s 10 good reasons why:
- JOURNALING IS YOUR OWN COUNSELLOR
While I’m a big fan of counsellors, coaches, therapists and the like, I believe that we already have a deep well of wisdom within us that’s accessible through journaling. Free-form and continuous pen-to-paper journaling allows us to access that wisdom as it helps make the unconscious conscious.
- JOURNALING IS AVAILABLE TO YOU 24/7
Journaling, unlike a therapist, is available to us any time of day or night just when we need it. In addition to establishing a morning journaling habit, you can carry your journal around with you and write in it any time no matter where you are; at your desk; in a café; or on the train to work.
- JOURNALING IS A GREAT TOOL FOR GROUP MEETINGS
At team meetings journaling can work well as the pre-cursor to a mindful discussion and as a way to address issues or conflict. Contemplative journaling exercises on a specific question can give people the opportunity to record their thoughts before sharing them to ensure all points of view are heard.
- JOURNALING COSTS NOTHING (WELL ALMOST!)
While there are many online journaling tools available today, I’m still a fan of pen-to-paper journaling as I love the feel of the flow of my words on paper. The only cost to me is the paper and the pen. A simple lined book with a wire-ring binding and a black ballpoint pen work perfectly for me.
- JOURNALING IS THE GATEWAY TO HONESTY
Sometimes there are things buried deep inside us that’ve been blocking our potential. This might be a destructive relationship, an addiction or an unacknowledged trauma from our past. Journaling brings awareness to these issues and a level of honesty with yourself that you can’t access by thinking alone.
- JOURNALING HELPS YOU POSE THE QUESTION YOU MOST NEED TO ASK YOURSELF
Often in counselling situations we’re being guided to answer the counsellors question not necessarily the question we most need, or want, to ask ourselves. The best question removes our own self-limiting beliefs which in turn determines the quality of our answer and subsequent actions.
- JOURNALING HELPS YOU MANIFEST YOUR PURPOSE & DESIRES
What is your purpose? Why are you here? What do you truly desire? What would your life be like if your desires were met? Journaling is the path to imagining what’s truly possible for you. Journals can also be used for drawing and pasting in photographs or pictures that inspire you towards purpose.
- JOURNALING HELPS CLEAR BLOCKED EMOTIONS
Our greatest growth and potential actually occurs through pain and adversity. As a wholehearted human being, we become fully alive when we can feel all our emotions instead of trying to block them or escape them. Journals help us feel and move through these emotions as they arise.
- JOURNALING HELPS YOU PLAN YOUR DAY
While I don’t advocate using a journal as a ‘to-do-list’, it can be helpful for writing on questions like “What would make me feel fulfilled by the end of today? What would a great day look like? What are the promises I make to myself today?” Journaling helps us imagine and then create our great day.
- JOURNALING BRINGS OUT THE ‘CREATOR’ IN US
So many of us have latent creative talents just waiting to emerge and come wildly to life. Journaling helps unblock the talents of the poet, musician, artist and movie producer inside. I’ve personally used journaling to allow plot lines to unfold, characters develop and as a way to deal with writer’s block.
If you don’t know where to start with journaling, why not buy The Purpose Project and head to page 63 and get started on your 50-day journaling exercise. Journal each morning on just one of the 50 questions to make journaling a habit to change your life and lead you to your purpose.
What’s more, if you buy 10+ copies of The Purpose Project you’ll receive a BONUS companion E-JOURNAL! FIND OUT MORE
Happy journaling and let me know how you go!