The New Year: Seven Reasons to Keep a Journal
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The New Year: Seven Reasons to Keep a Journal

Keeping a journal is an effective tool in achieving goals - listed are seven ways in which it can do just that.

The New Year has barely begun and already your resolutions are starting to crumble. You make excuses as to why you aren't as productive or as focused as you had hoped and are already tossing well-intentioned goals to the wayside. One method of staying on top of your game all year long is to keep a journal. Maintaining a daily journal will assist you in:

  • Staying on track. Making a point to write out your progess every day will keep your nose to the grindstone. It will help you maintain focus and make you accountable to your yearly resolutions. Entries do not have to be long, drawn-out accounts to be effective. Short summaries on what you have accomplished are enough to remind you of what your long-term goals are and where you are in accomplishing them. Review your goals everyday - some may need to be revised or even eliminated. Others may need to be added or expanded upon. Working toward your goals is an every-changing process - you need to be flexible enough to change them if necessary.  
  • Putting things in perspective. Sometimes just the simple act of writing out problems or frustrating roadblocks out will help analyze the proper ways to combat them.  Issues will become clearer and often not as critical as they originally may seem. Solutions will come to you more quickly and easily and you will not be as stressed because you can see on paper that you are working toward solving your difficulties and challenges.
  • Venting. Many times there is nothing you can do about temporary issues that stop your goals and dreams in their tracks. Writing out your worries and cares may help sooth your soul and provide new and find more challenging goals for you to follow. It will release pent-up frustrations and is a much better outlet than than many other alternatives.  
  • Dreaming big.Keeping a journal may force an individual to dream bigger dreams and aim for higher goals. Daily entries will provide baby steps to a grand finale by the end of a year. For example, if you want to write a book by the end of December, break your goals down into daily goals such as writing 1,000 words per day. If you follow that rule religiously, you may have four books by the end of the year - much more than you had really hoped or dreamed for.  
  • Helping others. You can use your journal to list ways of helping others. It does not have to be monetary assistance but can be time spent with an elderly acquaintance, joining a Big Brother or Big Sister program or volunteering in a soup kitchen. Writing out ways you can be a friend or assist someone else in need can turn you into a more compassionate and giving individual. Always make a point to make at least one of your resolutions be about someone other than yourself. For example, if you have a friend up for an organ transplant, resolve to support him and help him in anyway possible throughout his long and critical wait. Visualize daily a successful operation and outcome for him.    
  • Healing. You may have been extremely hurt by the actions of a close friend or disappointed in a rejection letter for a novel you painstakingly wrote. Expressing your feelings will assist you in moving on and looking forward instead lingering in the past.
  • Expresssing gratitude. A journal is a wonderful and effective way of expressing gratitude and appreciation for all you have and your day-to-day successes. Being grateful is a vital step in achieving a happy and fulfilled life. Sometimes just the act of choosing one person, thing or event that you are grateful every day will make your realize just how special and complete your life really is.

Choosing to write a journal is a personal issue - it should not be shared with even those closest to you because it is your intimate and detailed gateway to a more complete and self-actualized life. 

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Comments (1)

You have delineated some excellent reasons for keeping a journal in this well-written article, Sheryl.