The Benefits of Journalling

Putting pen to paper has so many benefits

Journalling is one of those habits that lifestyle gurus often recommend. Is it something that you’ve thought of doing, but decided that it’s too much of a chore or can’t see the benefits? I’ve been writing in a journal for over a year now and so I thought that I would share my thoughts with you about my experiences.

No rules

You choose what you want to write about. It can be as deep or as superficial as you want. I often start out talking about what I did the day before or what I plan to do that day. When I am journalling I find that is a good start, particularly if I don’t know what to write. This almost always leads on to an exploration of my thoughts and feelings about the previous day’s events or that upcoming day. Sometimes you might feel as though you have nothing to say. Just start writing, ‘I don’t know what to write today and the words will flow’.

Journalling provides time to reflect
Sharing thoughts and worries

If there’s something on your mind then you can write about it. Often I feel reluctant to face my fears, but find that once they’re down on paper they don’t actually look so bad. I can then explore ways in which I am going to address them. Perhaps it’s not even a worry, but just thoughts about a situation. You can use your journalling time to reflect on your thoughts.

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Planning

As you may know from this post I love planning. I’ve often got an idea in my head about how I could improve my productivity or rearrange my schedule. Putting that down on paper in my journal gives me the opportunity to explore that idea more fully. It also acts as a reminder. I often read back over the past month and I often find that I haven’t followed through with my ideas, either because I’ve forgotten about them or I haven’t had the time. Reading them again gives me that nudge I need to make time to put them into practice or decide that they weren’t a good idea after all.

Dreaming
Use your journal to dream about your next big trip

We all like to dream about our future. Our next big holiday, where we’d like to live, getting your ideal job. When you’re journalling your imagination has the freedom to think big and explore the options. You can jot down wild ideas which may come to absolutely zilch or may be the start of a big adventure.

Reading back and seeing how far you’ve come

As I mentioned above, I often read back over the past month when reviewing how I’ve spent my time. It’s amazing what you forget. Thirty days can sometimes seem like a lifetime ago. You’ll realise how much you’ve achieved in that time. In the Simple household we are still doing a lot of work on the house and the list seems endless, but when I read back over what’s been done I realise that we’ve come a long way.

Your journal becomes a record of your life
Provides a timeline of your life

As well as being able to consider the past month, if you make journaling a regular habit it becomes a record of your life. Last Christmas I took the time to read through my journal entries for that year. I made a list of all the interesting and significant events and shared them with Mr Simple. Sometimes he gets overwhelmed and a little down about what he sees as the slow progress on the DIY front. I was able to remind him of all the changes that there had been and the activities that we had enjoyed together during our time off from work.

Can just be a few words or several pages

Julia Cameron recommends writing three pages a day, which she calls morning pages. I allocate 30 minutes every morning and once that time is up I stop writing. In fact, sometimes I stop before that if I don’t feel that I’ve got anything more to say. As I said, there are no rules, you can do whatever suits you. It can be a few lines or even bullet points or it can be several pages.

You don’t have to do it every day

It’s not often that I journal on the weekend and when I’m taking some days off from work I don’t always write then either. It just tends to be Monday to Friday and work days. It just depends on how I’m feeling. Yet again, there are no rules. Just don’t let any gaps mean that you don’t return to it.

If you want some journaling prompts click this link to head over to Natalie Bacon and subscribe. You’ll then get 75 Journaling prompts free. That should keep you going for a while.

Finding Time to Work on Your Goals

This is my second article on how to find time in your day to work on your goals. Previously I gave you four questions to ask yourself. This time we’re just going to look at one strategy –

Moving your day.

What time do you get up? Is it 7.30am and leave the house at 8am? Or since covid get up at 8.30am and start work at 9am? Like most people you probably need 8 hours sleep. Therefore you didn’t need to go to bed until 11.30pm in order to feel rested and ready for your next day.

interior of modern living room at home
Are most of your evening hours spent in front of this?
Reflect

Now whilst that probably gives you a nice long evening after a hard day at the office I want you to ask yourself, ‘What did I do with the time after work?’.

Even if you didn’t get home until 7.30pm that’s four hours of ‘you time’, but I bet you weren’t very productive for all of those hours. In particular, I bet you didn’t do much with those two hours between 9.30pm and 11.30pm. You probably spent them on the couch in front of the TV or maybe in bed bingeing Netflix or catching up on your Instagram feed.

dawn man people woman
Get up earlier – even 30 minutes can make a difference
change

What if you moved those two hours to the morning and got up at 5.30am? Too early for you? How about one and a half hours? Get up at 6am and go to bed at 10pm. That gives you two hours before leaving the house. You’ll have a lot more energy at the beginning of your day than you do after work. And whatever your day job is, it will get done because it always does and you know you have to do it.

So, try getting up just half an hour earlier and see how it feels. You can always build it up in 15 or 30 minute slices to get your body used to it.

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a full moon on a dark sky
It’s hard getting up in the winter when it is still dark
Challenges

You’re not going to want to go to bed early, particularly as you probably won’t be very tired initially.

This is going to be easier during the summer months, when it’s light in the morning, than in the middle of December. My tip is to buy yourself a sunrise lamp, which will gradually brighten the room and help you to wake up naturally. You won’t want to get out of bed. Feel the resistance and do it anyway or check out my post with seven ideas to help you get up earlier.

Your partner may protest about the alarm going off earlier. Offer to bring them a cup of tea or coffee in bed when you get up. It might help to persuade them that it’s not so bad after all.

light dawn love people
In the evening you can relax knowing you’ve already worked towards your goals before you went to work
Benefits

Even just 30 minutes may give you some quiet time before your children get up.

Once you’ve worked on your goals in the morning you can relax and enjoy your day as you’ve got the most important things done already.

There’s no nagging thoughts when you get home from work that you should be working on your goals rather than being slumped on the couch watching Netflix.

Progress is motivational. As you begin to tick off your achievements and feel like you’re moving forward you’ll want more of it. That extra 30 minutes in the morning will help you get started, but once you’ve got the bug you’ll want to increase it as your productivity explodes.

Fancy checking out some free life coaching courses just click here? Ready to go deeper and explore life coaching? Why not have a look at Grow You, Natalie Bacon’s monthly programme, for which I am a member and a partner.