Are you Journaling? 5 Reasons why you should

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One of my bigger accomplishments of 2014 is that I kept a journal in which I wrote every night before bed. Each day I would do bullet points of happenings that day and at the bottom I would write tasks for tomorrow. No entry would be longer than a notebook page (in this case mine was 8×6) and each one was concise and summarized the day.

This year I will be doing the same again. If you are not journaling I urge you to on a routine business and if you are not sure why here are a few reasons:

1. It is a good way to evaluate in a timely fashion

Writing in it every night forced me to look back on my day and see just where I could have changed things or how I could have been more productive. It also helped me to reflect on things that happened relational, emotional, and spiritually. Why did I argue with that person? Hmmm I probably could have spent less time on social media. Wow, when I sum it up, I really didn’t do much of anything today. These are some thoughts I have at the end of the day when journaling and assessing how I acted during the day helps me make better decisions for tomorrow.

2. Keeps you on task

Part of my daily journaling is putting down the things that I had accomplished that day and things that I will need to do the next day. For instance when it comes to my writing, I would put what my progress was for the day and what I was expected to accomplish tomorrow. Also have you ever just gotten into bed and realized ALL the things you forgot to do that day? Yeah… now you have a place where you can write all those things down so you can remember to do them tomorrow.

3. Baggage lifter

Ever have something happen to you and you just need to get it off your chest. This is a good way to do that. “Never let the sun go down on your anger”. You don’t have to go into super details when writing about it, you can simply just write down that you are angry and frustrated. Just doing that can sometimes make you feel better.

4. Looking back

Going back now and rereading my journal entries allows me to see myself almost from the outside. I read entries of things I have gone through that seemed so consuming at the time but now I am over. There are events in it that I have forgotten have happened. And mostly there is a running theme of thoughts and actions that I didn’t notice before. It is like I am giving insight to myself. It is kind of like one of those look back videos they have on Facebook only this is far more detailed and personal.

5. It can be fun!

I use multicolored gel pens and alternate between them so at the end of the year it is like a rainbow of colors. Sometimes I will even paste something in it or doodle. At the front of the book I usually start it with a meaningful quote, then accomplishments for the past year, disappointments, and then what I am looking forward to this year. You can do whatever you like, get creative, it is your outlet.

So give it a try and start journaling, it is definitely worthwhile.

Also here are some tips for journaling:

  • Find the right kind of notebook whether it is spiral, leather-bound, or digital. Make it a format that will be readily accessible and comfortable to use. For instance I prefer a spiral or soft-bound notebook usually by the company miquelrius.
  • Make sure the notebook is thick enough. If you want to write everyday then you need a notebook that has about 400 pages/200 sheets.
  • If you are keeping a digital journal I suggest using a word processor (word or pages) and saving the entries to a special folder if you are doing separate documents. A great app to use for this would be Evernote or Day One . Check out this article for good iPhone apps and this one for android apps.
  • Put the date at the top of the page. I usually put the time, the day of the week, and the date.
  • Leave space at the bottom to put tasks for the next day. I will help you look forward to tomorrow and when you look back you can see how often those tasks were completed.
  • Do it everyday or just once a week but make sure you are consistent.
  • Be open. This is about you and you shouldn’t be closed off to yourself.

Happy journaling!

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This is Your Life

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I read an article today about how we, as millennials, continually compare our experiences with one another to asses if we have taken the right path or if we have completely messed things up. Here is the gist of what it said.

Everyone is worried about their choices. Those in cities worry if they’ll ever get out to the country, and those in the woods think they might be missing the opportunities of city life. Young professionals are terrified they’ve forever bid farewell to fun and freedom, and those with throw-away jobs are down about not making as much money as they could be and not appearing accomplished enough. Some who are dedicated to school want more room in their lives for other things, those with roomy lives desire that space to be filled. Single people want relationships, settled people wonder if they’re missing out on something, traveling types miss stability, stable ones are restless, old friends want new friends, new friends miss old friends, and basically almost everyone my age has some dangling worry trailing around after them everywhere that they’re somehow not doing everything, that what they’re doing is not altogether the right thing, that they are missing out.

I read this and thought “man that is so me”. I look at friends who seem to be traveling all the time and wonder why I’m not doing that, I look at friends who have stable careers and wonder why I don’t get a “real” job, and I look at those who seem to be so collected in the life they have and wonder why I’m not like that.

The truth of the matter is… they are wondering that same thing. I guess it’s that whole grass is always greener on the other side outlook. We take for granted what we have, what we’ve done, and where we are because we are so busy looking at another person’s life.

Here’s the thing, you don’t have it all together and neither do they. Paths were chosen and decisions were made and that is how you got where you are, but if you are so busy looking at what they are doing with their life you end up missing out on what you could be doing with yours.

The author of the article addresses this to people in their twenties but honestly I think this is a lesson for everyone, regardless of age. So take a look back at all the great things that have happened to you and the things you have to look forward to because those things are pretty awesome too.

Hunger and Thirst

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How bad do you want it? How much do you crave it until there is nothing else on your mind? How bad can you taste it that nothing else will satisfy you? How bad do you want to achieve your dreams?

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst, for they seek”.

Have you ever had a craving, for a certain food, that was so bad that nothing else could satisfy it? Every once in a while I crave french fries, and not just any fries but the ones from McDonald’s piping hot. I don’t really eat fast food that often, sometimes once a month, sometimes not even that. However there are moments when I just crave those fries and nothing else will do. So I stop and buy some and then all is right with the world.

That is how it should be with your dreams and the goals you want to achieve. You can try to put something else in its place or try to become comfortable with what you have yet no matter how hard you try that insatiable hunger and thirst can’t be dissuade.

Use it to drive you, push you, move you forward into the place you want to be. Dream and drive goes hand in hand. In order to have your dream you must have the drive to get you there. You will not eat unless you are hungry and you will not thirst unless you are thirsty.

You have your dream. You can go after it. But how bad do you want it?

What’s Your Dream?

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 Welcome to Hollywood! What’s your dream? Everybody comes here; this is Hollywood, land of dreams. Some dreams come true, some don’t; but keep on dreamin’ – this is Hollywood. Always time to dream, so keep on dreamin’.

I have watch the movie Pretty Woman more times than I can recall. I don’t actually own the movie but it is on TV frequent enough and when I catch it I always stop and watch. Do know what my favorite part of that movie is?

It’s not the stomping of the divots at the polo game or the moment at the opera or even the moment when he rides to her house in his “chariot”. Oddly enough it is the radio DJ at the beginning of the film proclaiming “What’s your dream”.

It’s a very simple line spoken by a character we never see yet it holds so much potential. It sets up the whole premise of the story and how the main character has a dream she wants to achieve. Of course there is other stuff mixed in there but that is one of the underlining themes.

What’s Your Dream?

What is it that you want to do? What do you want to achieve? If you had no obligations to anything right now, what would you be doing? Where would you be?

You can’t just say you want fame, money, or security. Those are generalized terms that don’t even scratch the surface of what you want. So what do you really want?

This is what the Me Year is all about. Find your dream and have it. Do you dream of traveling? Then travel. Do you dream of owning your own business? Playing in a rock band? Volunteering in a Third World country? Making a scientific discovery? Or just having more time for your family?

Do it.

Dreams are an end result. To get to your end result you have to want it and go after it. The Me Year is about stop saying no and why it can’t happen and making it happen. Wanting isn’t enough unless you put action behind it.

Take action and make your Me Year happen. But first, What’s Your Dream?

Change Your Stars

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If you could go back and relive a certain moment again, what would you change? Did you have to stop and think of what moment you would choose or did you instantly know?

I could tell you some of mine. Easily.

But then the question comes up, should you? How do we know that changing those moments will make it for the better, what if it make us worse? Everything we are right now is because of the things we did in the past. If you change the past, you become a different you.

But here’s the thing, if you change your future you ALSO become a different you.

We can’t change the past, but we can change the future. We can decide from this moment on how we will be different and how we will make a difference. I can’t change my financial situation in the past but I can change it in the future. You can’t mend broken relationships in the past but you can change them in the future.

In one of my favorite movies, A Knight’s Tale, the father tells the son, William, to “change your stars”. He is telling him that although his past is made of poverty and a low-class system it doesn’t mean that is how his future is supposed to be.

Whatever you past is, there is a future still coming that you can change.

Image courtesy of nuttakit / FreeDigitalPhotos.net