If you want to grow, one important thing you should do is keeping a journal. It may seem simple, but it can make a big difference in your life.
I myself have been journaling for years. Writing all the lessons I learn and all the ideas I get has become a habit for me. And to be honest, it’s difficult to imagine how my life would be without it.
Here are some benefits you will get by keeping a journal:
1. It trains you to be observant. Once you make journaling a habit, you will develop the habit of being observant in all your experiences. You will get way more ideas and lessons this way. Instead of paying attention to the negative side of things, you pay attention to the positive side to extract lessons from it. Instead of taking things for granted, you look for new ideas that you can implement.
2. It prevents you from losing an idea. Have you ever gotten an idea only to lose it later because you didn’t write it down? I often experienced that myself. But then I developed the habit of writing down every idea that comes into my mind as soon as possible. If I’m away from my computer, I usually write it down on a piece of paper that I bring wherever I go. I will then transfer the idea to the journal in my computer.
3. It helps you memorize an idea. Even if you do nothing else, the act of writing helps you memorize the idea better. I often remember the things I write down without looking back at my notes.
4. It trains you to express your thoughts. I often take lessons from my experiences and write them down in my journal. Since I want to write a concise statement that summarizes the lesson, I need to think for a while to make it concise. This is a good exercise for me because over time I can express my thoughts better.
5. It helps you expand your ideas. When you try to come up with a sentence to express an idea, you are thinking actively about it. Thinking actively helps you connect your idea to another idea. At the end, you will expand your ideas.
6. It helps you review all the lessons you’ve learned. Why should you repeat the same mistakes you’ve made? By reviewing your journal, you can quickly see the lessons you’ve learned and the ideas you’ve gotten. You can do whatever necessary to avoid repeating the same mistakes. You can use the ideas to propel yourself forward.
7. It allows you to see your progress over time. After keeping a journal for years, you can look back at it and see how far you’ve gone. Things that were big problems in the past might seem small today. The raw ideas you had in the past might have been realized today. Seeing your progress motivates you to move even further ahead.
Now that you have seen the benefits of keeping a journal, what tool should you use?
You don’t need anything complicated for your journal. If your prefer to use a computer, you can use a word processor like Microsoft Word or Google Docs. You can even use a text editor like Notepad. If you prefer not to use computer, you can use a notebook.
Just use whatever tool you feel comfortable with. The important thing is to make journaling a habit.