Tuesday, May 5, 2020

How to Write in a Journal Effectively

You may know all the reasons why you should keep a journal, but if you’ve never written in a journal before, or have limited experience with it, you may not exactly know how to get started. You’ve got your notebook out, and a blank page staring back at you… now what?

Of course, there’s no set rules to writing in a journal. You can write in it however you like and it’s effective either way; however, if you need just a little guidance to get you started on the right foot, I’ll show you an effective journal “template” that you can use day-to-day, and modify as you wish to suit your needs.

Remember, none of the “sections” listed below are required to be long. They can be as long as a few paragraphs, or as short as one sentence… it’s all up to you, after all, it’s your journal :-)

A good way to start any journal entry is to begin listing a few of the things you’re grateful for. If you do this on routine, it helps to write a few words as to why you’re grateful for each particular item, so you really feel grateful, rather than just writing from memorization.

Even if you only name one thing you’re truly grateful for, what this will do is help bring you into a positive mindset for not only your journal writing session, but for your entire day. Gratitude is one of the best ways to ignite positivity… and we all have something to be grateful for.

Personal Reflection
I then begin writing about where I’m at with the current goals that I’m working on, or touch on some of the things I mentioned in my previous entry (if applicable). For example, if I had planned on posting an article to my blog and also taking my wife and daughter to the park today, I’ll write whether or not I ended up following through and how it went (or why I didn’t end up doing it). If I see somewhere I need to improve as far as my goals go, I’ll recognize that as well.

This section of the journal entry is for making a “status check” of yourself to see where you’re at, evaluate your strengths, and assess your weaknesses. I recommend you also use this section to write down how you feel about certain things, and express your emotions.
Goal Focus

This is where you can make plans to fix the areas you’re weaker at, set goals for the next day, etc. The previous section was used for evaluating and assessing, and this section is for planning and thinking about the “next” step.

For example, let’s say my goal is to lose 25lbs and I took a nice walk the previous day to work towards my goal. In the “Personal Reflection” section, I can recognize the fact that I took some time to work on my fitness, but also take note that I should have probably ate less snacks during the day. Then, in the “Goal Focus” section, I could state that because the walk wasn’t very challenging, that I plan to go further the next day and cut back on my daily snacking.

What the above journaling template will do for you is:
Get you started on the right track, with a mindset of gratitude.
Allow you to assess your feelings, your strengths, and areas you could improve (whether it be goals or general personal growth areas).
Ensure you are taking at least baby steps towards your goals each day.
Allow you to have a clear “action plan” as to what you’re planning on doing next (whether it be later on that day, the next day, etc).

As I mentioned earlier, there is no “right” way to write in your journal, but if you’re unsure how to get started, following the above template will definitely give you an effective head start!

Jonathan Beebe 
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