Journaling for self improvement
Updated: Oct 13, 2022
Every productivity guru emphasizes on the benefits of journaling. It is important that we close the day by analyzing the past 12-15 hours that we have stayed awake. Celebrate our victories and learn from our failures. I started journaling because I read a lot about it, heard a lot about it and saw people doing it. My father also advocates the use of a journal. Then I just started journaling. Here is my journaling journey of 2 weeks that has actually improved my overall mood, productivity and outlook on life.
I maintain 2 journals- A morning journal and a night journal. My morning journal is a leather bound handmade notebook wherein, on the first page, I have noted my goals that I want to achieve in 2021. My 3 goals are- enrolling for LLM specializing in IPR, achieve my target weight of 75 kgs and pick up the lead for 3 John Mayer songs (Slow dancing in a burning room, Gravity and Belief) on the guitar. My goals for 2022 are learning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, shooting and get abs.
I wake up in the morning and journal in this notebook seeking inspiration to help achieve my goals for life. I pray, get into an elevated state of being and just write whatever comes to my mind. I recovered from COVID-19 a couple of months back so on some days my lungs hurt. I get migraine attacks which can seriously handicap me for the day. I have lumbarization of S1 and S2 which can flare up any time.
I express my gratitude in the journal each day that I wake up without a migraine, back pain and lungs pain from the bottom of my heart. Then I elaborate on my gratitude for my mother who is one of the pillars in my life who has been my strongest shield and has always protected me in her warm embrace. I express my gratitude for my father, an epitome of dedication and hard work, who works from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. every single day of the week so that we can lead a comfortable life without being left wanting for anything. My parents who are embodiments of sacrifice are the sole reason that I lead a privileged life. They suffer silently but celebrate my small victories magnificently.
My dogs are the next beings that are my source of gratitude. Each day they bring a lot of love and light into my life. Fussy is 13 now. Each day I thank God that she is waking up to spend one more amazing day with us with her warm presence. Jack is 3 and a source of mischief and energy. His enthusiasm ensures that none of us have an emotionally draining day.
After expressing my gratitude, I just start writing about things that I want to achieve. A Spotify playlist playing in the background really helps. I write all that comes in my mind without judging or analyzing. Sometimes, I suddenly get a strong feeling from within to call someone, text someone. I make it a point to follow up with such inspirations. You will be amazed at the way you will get guidance to achieve your goals. The means to achieve them.
My night time journal has 5 components. Firstly, I again mention 3 things I am grateful for that happened during the day. Not general and vague statements. I take the effort to rack through my brain to remember what I am grateful for. Let me say this. In 2 weeks, my list of things to be grateful for now stand at more than 5 entries! Am I attracting more things to be grateful for? Maybe. Maybe not. But I know for a fact that my journaling is slowly and steadily rewiring the confirmation bias that I have so my brain is more biased now to observe things to be grateful for.
My next section consists of the highlights of the day. I jot down in bullet points whatever are the important occurrences of the day. When I write about an incident that has an emotional response, I go into detail. It is cathartic and therapeutic. I do not mince words. It is my journal that no one is going to read. So I do not need to be politically correct. I can be myself. This helps process a lot of unprocessed, suppressed emotions as well.
The third section is the analysis of the day. Here, I write down how my general emotional and mental state throughout the day has been. If any incident occurred that solicited an emotional outburst from me, I make a note of it and state how differently I would deal with it next time. This is probably the most important section for me because I want to better respond to a situation rather than react. Does that mean we become harmless? No. A man that can be dangerous but chooses not to be violent is actually virtuous. A person who cannot inflict any damage is not virtuous; rather they are harmless. Both are different. Be virtuous and not harmless.
The fourth section consists of things to do for tomorrow. Only 3 items and not more. Brian Tracy in his book Eat The Frogs, speaks about things that are important and not urgent. We will anyway do things that are urgent and not important. These three 3 are for your future self. We get into survival mode from the moment we wake up. Our lives are shaped by others' requirements which are conveyed to us in the form of texts, mails and app notifications. Stay away from the phone for 2 hours after waking up and finish the 3 important things for your future self. When you do this daily for 5 years, you will be unbeatable because others are still sleeping when you start hustling.
The final component is also a very important section of the journal. It consists of only 1 sentence- my question to the subconscious. Thomas Alva Edison, the great inventor once said, "Never go to sleep without a request to your subconscious." I have been religiously writing down my specific request to my subconscious. Again let me gladly state that my request that I had been stating for the past 2 weeks with respect to my career has been fulfilled. Now I have a new request. I am excited for it to manifest!
Marcus Aurelius and other great illuminaries of our history have all been journaling. Therefore, there must be something brilliant that journaling provides which is my so many recommend it. Try it out and thank me later!