Journaling is a powerful tool for self-development, keeping track of your life, and reflecting on what you’ve accomplished. Therapist and relationship expert Nedra Tawwab shares tips for developing a consistent journaling practice.
I recently went back to a journal I kept in 2005. Oh. My. Gosh. Seeing yourself in the past that way is like watching a black-and-white movie where you are the featured star. It is such a trip down memory lane. I am so glad to have these entries to look back on and glad that I found a way to create a journaling practice that works for me. In order to do that I had to loosen my idea about what journaling is and what it means to be consistent. I had to remind myself that I make the rules.
When many of us think of journaling, we think of a process where we write down all of the events of the day: what happened, who was involved, who went where, and what we wore. It can feel like a lot, and keeping up with something with that level of detail every single day can feel daunting.
There are many ways to journal beyond keeping a daily account of your life’s events. Here are five ideas for other kinds of journaling:
Consistency is tricky. In my professional opinion consistency is any regular interval of time. Once a day, once a month, once a week, all of that is consistent. It doesn’t have to be frequent, it just has to be something you can stick to. If you can take 5 minutes a day to journal, great. If you can journal six times a year, great. Don’t quit journaling just because you can’t commit to doing it every day.
A lot of us have journaling trauma; at some point in the past someone found and read our journal, and we don’t feel comfortable writing on paper. I have been keeping a digital journal since about 2005. I have a journaling app and I use the Notes function on my phone. One of the things I love about Notes is that it has a separate password from the one I use to unlock my phone and it’s completely random, so it adds an additional layer of security.
The important thing to remember when journaling is that it is for you. It is yours to write and no one is judging it. It is not for public consumption—it is a way to reflect and keep track of who you are, where you’re going, and what you’ve done. It’s your life story.
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