People journal for just about as many reasons as there are people. I start and end my day in my journal. For me, bookending my day in this way helps me plan what I’m going to do, the tone in which I’m going to face the new day, and then helps me reflect on how the day went.
I’m currently using the Best Self Journal, which has the added layer of places for quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily goal planning – something all of us need!
Silvia Bastos wrote about six ways that people who journal are happier people:
- They notice useful patterns in their lives through self-reflection;
- They notice what makes them mad, happy, hopeful, worried, through increased self-awareness;
- They are more creative, because journaling occupies the left side of their brains, giving the right side of their brains room to breathe and think about interesting things;
- They have better relationships with themselves through alone time;
- They turn today’s mistakes into lessons to be worked out tomorrow through a growth mindset;
- They take charge over their own thoughts by organized thinking.
Five Reasons to Switch up Your Journal Routine
Even the best routines need variety, or a “switch up,” once in awhile. Here are some expert opinions on the benefits of changing your journal routine ever now and again:
New Input = New Creativity
- Get those creative thinking juices flowing: In “Why (and How) You Should Change Up Your Routine, Even if it’s Working,” Evan Ravenscraft explains how doing something differently opens up new ways of thinking about it. I started journaling because I felt swamped by my to-do list. My journal has an hourly schedule, which I dutifully filled in with the myriad of things in my schedule. Guess what happened? I FELT WORSE! I switched by using an old consulting trick, and divided my awake time into 6, 3-hr segments, and tried to put no more than 2 things in each segment, including meals and long commutes. The result? I actually get more done, because I look at my daily schedule differently now.
- Get inspired and motivated: Mary at UncustoMary, shares how changing up your routine, even in a small way, can reinvigorate you and get you inspired. I hit a journaling slump in the winter – it just became one more task to do, and wasn’t making me more productive – just depressed.I started using a blank column next to the daily schedule as a list of what I called “leftovers” (things that didn’t get done earlier in the week). Whenever I had time, I sneaked one of those onto my schedule. I found that I actually got a lot more done than I gave myself credit for, because some things didn’t get on the schedule. I felt better, and was more productive, and more motivated to cross things off the list.
- Grow: In the workout world, if your workout is easy, then you need to make it more challenging, because you’re not improving. You’re just at a plateau. If I’m routinely crossing all things off my list and writing “It was a good day” in my journal, but I’m not any closer to my goal, then I need to change what I’m putting on my list or how I’m using my journal. I start my journal now by reviewing my quarterly goals, then my monthly calendar, and then my weekly milestones. This helps me decide how to prioritize my to-do list, and gives me a focus for my reflection at the end of the day.
- Prepare yourself for other change: Changes are hard for all of us. John M. Grohol, PsyD, shares that making small changes (starting a journal, using a new journal, changing our schedule) help make us more resilient when we need to make bigger changes. I used to feel anxious every day when I prepared my schedule for the day. So now I prepare it the night before, when I can’t think about it as much (too tired). In the morning, I spend time bedazzling the heading of the page, instead.
- Have more fun: Adding variety into your life makes it more enjoyable. John Rampton, at VIP Magazine, says that making little changes, such as starting your day by writing an affirmation, or by making a gratitude list, help chase away negative thoughts and keeps the focus on the positive. My own journal has me write three things I’m grateful for when I arise, and three things I’m grateful for when I retire in the evening. This keeps me humble, and serves to remind me what’s really important in my life (and it’s not the emails, or the great PPT, or even a new mascara I bought).
With My Journal, I Plan to…
One thing I want to do differently with my journal is to be strict with myself about not overscheduling myself – something that makes me feel really, really bad. I know that unexpected things come up, but I need to feel comfortable “rescheduling” other things to another date, if that happens. I also have started scheduling what I call “balance” (self-care) time from the get-go, because I was taking care of everyone else before I gave myself care. As a result, I’ve felt better, and I actually get more done!
What will you change in your journal routine this year?