How to Begin a Journal Writing Habit for Your Success – BtR 144

History is filled with men and women who practiced journaling for a variety of reasons. Brandon and Jerry discuss how to begin a journal as part of your journey to success.

What is Journaling?

Journaling is essentially a process of capturing your thoughts down into written form. Some people who keep a journal do so to keep a record of their daily activities. Others use it as a means of writing out their feelings. There is no set way one must keep a journal, but we will share with you why you should, how to begin a journal, and provide some personal journal ideas.

Benefits of Journal Writing

Whether you are on the fence about starting a habit of journaling, or just curious for more ideas, here is a list of benefits that come from journaling.

It helps you get your raw thoughts onto paper.

Our minds work at a rapid pace, and life goes just as quickly it seems. When you take time to pause and write out your thoughts in the moment, you are capturing those thoughts for later reflection.

You gain an outside perspective for something that was inside your head.

If you ever told a joke that sounded funny when it was inside your head only to realize how bad of a joke it really was once you spoke it out loud, journaling is kind of like that.

The difference is that the pendulum swings both ways. Bad ideas are recognized right away. Good ideas can be further massaged into viable ideas or products.

Journaling helps facilitate reflection when you read older entries.

A good journal is one you can go back to and reflect on thoughts, ideas, and seasons of your life that have passed. It may encourage you to pick up on a project that had been set aside. You may be reminded to re-establish a routine that was helpful to you in the past.

A journal helps you measure how far you have progressed in life.

Jerry has journal entries and blog posts from a rough financial season in his life. Reading through those entries lets him see how far he has come since that time. His appreciation for his blessings goes up after reading them. It’s probably why you se him so happy these days. He is able to celebrate his wins. Life is good.

How to begin a journal writing habit that works for you.

You can brainstorm ideas that help you plan for the future.

A journal is a great place to plan for the future. You can envision where you want your business or career to be in five to ten years. Keeping a journal can even help you plan for that ideal vacation! Let it be a creative outlet for you where you create the future you desire in its pages.

Your life’s lessons add up over time to become your first book.

Write in a journal long enough and you’ll find that you have enough material to begin piecing together a book for publishing. We have friends who have written a lot of great content in their journals. They have shared some of those entries with us, so we know.

The question we often ask after reading something they finally shared is, “Why haven’t you published this into a written work?!” There are people in the world who connect with you in a way that others cannot.

How to Begin a Journal

Tips on how to begin a journal are not that difficult. It is more about building the writing habit, especially if you can make it a daily one. What we are talking about here is how to journal for success, so here are some things to get you started.

Keeping a Journal Tips

  • Determine why you want to keep a journal. What do you want to capture?
  • Determine when you will journal.
  • Pick a place and time you can keep a journal without being interrupted. How will you protect that space and time? Are you committed to writing regularly?
  • Do you prefer handwritten in a notebook or typing into a program or application?
  • Choose how often you will review what you have written. Reflection is a great gift.

Listen now to episode 144 of Beyond the Rut to hear how Brandon and Jerry have established their own journaling habits.

Personal Daily Journal Template

We provided you with a few options to help you decide on how to begin your journal.

Reverse Bucket List

Gratitude Journal

Keeping a gratitude journal is great if you are going through a hard time, or if someone has told you that your outlook on life can be too heavy or negative. This process will help you shift your mindset to a positive one.

Instructions: Jot down three things from the day you are grateful happened. This is a great exercise to do at the end of the day. The key is to be specific about why you are grateful for what you are writing down. Try not to be snarky in the gratitude. Let it be genuine. Three things, no less. Note: If you find yourself waking up in the morning hitting the snooze button less and if your outlook of the day has brightened. You can do this at the beginning of the day as well.

Reading and Reflection

Jerry follows this format more often than not. He jots down some notes about his current reading from the Bible, then draws connections to his life whether it is with things happening currently or reflecting on past events, and even drawing connections to a positive future.

Instructions: Read something for 20-30 minutes. For Jerry, it is a section from a one-year Bible reading plan. He lists at the top of the entry the date, where he is (because he does travel and it is just cool to make that added connection,) and lists the scriptures he has read that morning. The following questions will prompt you to write a response to your reading:

  • What stands out to you from this reading?
  • How does this reading apply to your life right now?
  • What does this reading inspire you to do today?

Straight Up “Dear Diary” Your Approach

Go the traditional route if you want. Write about whatever comes to mind for you. Some people vent about frustrations at home or work. Others chronicle the events happening. If you want to journal for success though, be sure that you keep your entries focused on creating a positive future that day and beyond.

Did you start a journal recently? Let us know in the Comments below about your experience.

Resources and Links

4 Reasons Why Men Should Keep a Journal and How to Start a Journal by Jerry Dugan on Beyond the Rut

The Morning Routine That Gives You the Advantage to Succeed for the Day by Jerry Dugan on Beyond the Rut

BtR 137 – How to Find That Extra Time for Your Own Miracle Morning – note taking across multiple devices

Drafts – the app used by Brandon to dictate his notes

Dear Diary: 14 Noteworthy Journal-Keepers

Why Journaling Makes Better Leaders by author Skip Prichard

The Pocket Notebooks of 20 Famous Men by The Art of Manliness podcast

8 Famous Visionaries Who Kept a Journal by From the Grapevine

Do journal with caution as this court case created some precedent. Can Your Diary Be Used as Evidence? by Law Info Blog.

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