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Personal Growth

Writing Daily Journal – A Powerful Habit

Consciousness in our action (and our inaction) infuses vitality and meaning into our life. 

Everyday writing daily journal provides an opportunity to ponder upon the day gone or the day to come. It also shows a mirror to the subdued consciousness with which certain days are spent.  

In our context we will restrict writing to the daily habit of journaling your thoughts. I prefer my writings to be in a physical diary but you can have a digital equivalent of it. It might sound common sense, but going date wise will create a better experience. Going back in the past will be easier and more relevant that way.

Why Writing Daily Journal is Important?

There are various benefits of writing. Without any claim of being exhaustive, I will try to list a few for you to think about. 

It makes you conscious

The days come and the days go. Since we hardly spend any time reflecting upon the life we are living, it goes on unconsciously. Writing can become an exercise to awaken your mind, awaken your thought process, awaken your consciousness. At least for the time you write you become calm and mindful. I would say almost meditative, which brings internal stillness, which is must for any meaningful contribution to the world.

It improves your memory

If you’ve to record something, you will have to recall it. When you become regular with writing daily journal, the day gone by will flash in front of you. Don’t worry if that doesn’t happen on the day you start writing because eventually it is bound to happen. Moreover, when you have written something, it will be sketched in your memory for future.

It makes you a visual thinker  

A little effort towards improving how you write can introduce you to the concepts of visual thinking like mind maps, storyboards, doodling, story-telling and more! It makes your writing more descriptive and vibrant. 

It makes you self-aware

There is an extremely popular adage, “if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” Writing daily journal gives you that measuring tool in your life. This makes you contemplate on how effective or how productive you were in the day gone by. It’s the first step towards improving yourself.    

It helps in habit forming

If you’re committed to self-growth you will have to dabble with lots of growth strategies, daily routines and rituals like exercising, reading, networking, getting your daily dose of motivation and so on. By writing daily journal about what habits you’re trying to inculcate in your life or by simply mentioning what repetitive tasks you did today, you’re committing to its continuity and recording its progress too. Thus the chances of the habit getting permanent improves substantially. If you wish to learn the art and science of habit forming, I highly recommend Atomic Habits by James Clear

It chronicles your growth  

It also journals the progress of your intellectual faculties. Over a period of time you will be able to analyse where you were going wrong or what was the piece of understanding which was missing at a particular point of time in the past. Journaling daily gives you a factual written chronological account of your growth as an individual. 

What to Write?

“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”

Louis L’Amour 

Regularly penning down thoughts creates a priceless repository of content which depicts your relationships, your state of mind on a particular day, your struggles, your excitements, your commitments and your failures. 

So just sit everyday, preferably at a set time and write. With time you will know what you wish to write. For beginners let me suggest a few ideas from which you can pick one or more for any specific day –

  • List short-term and long-term goals
  • Thoughts which are bugging you
  • The realizations you had
  • Delve deeper into the powerful thought you had
  • Reflect on your accomplishments
  • Things you’re curious about
  • List your passion projects
  • Important actions to be taken
  • Make a gratitude list & count your blessings
  • Draw mind-maps or doodles
  • What new did you learn
  • What you want to pursue tomorrow
  • The self-commitments 
  • Your bucket list

This list can go on. Most important thing is to start and to continue. Things will fall in place eventually. 

What can go wrong? 

When you try to follow a rigid daily writing routine, there are chances of slip ups. This has a detrimental effect on our motivation. Our brain gets the signal that our plan to write everyday is not succeeding and thus it’s a bad plan. Our brain has this tendency of reducing motivation towards all flawed plans.   

The chances of habit formation goes up significantly when our brain is convinced about the goal you’re trying to pursue and the plan you have to execute it. Thus in place of a long term rigid schedule, you may go with short term (like a week) flexible scheduling for your writing. Timing of the day doesn’t matter, how much you write doesn’t matter. What matters the most is you write something everyday. 

Where to start?

Get hold of a physical diary where you can start writing daily journal. Writing with pen on a paper has scientific benefits for your memory.

Ideally you should write on today’s date page. The writing will be restricted to 1 leaf because of space constraint, which is in a way good, because you know where to stop. However, if you feel the urge of writing more, you can insert a loose leaf or probably take the topic out from your diary to a blog or another notebook for capturing random thoughts.

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