When it comes to keeping track of your thoughts, current activities or plans for the future, nothing beats a consistent, disciplined journal. Documenting your thoughts and actions is a great way to see where you’ve been and where you would like to go. The key to journaling with purpose is to focus on the specifics that matter to you and avoid the random ramblings that can pull you away from your goals.
A good journal-writing approach can be broken down into a few essential components:
- Your thoughts and emotions are certainly important to your overall approach to life. Just don’t let your journal become a steady rant on your stream-of-consciousness thoughts. (Unless, of course, it’s a rant journal and that is the purpose of your journal.) Allow yourself a few sentences to record your emotional temperament for the day, then move on. Your journal was meant for bigger things.
- Speaking of your thoughts for the day, good journaling is consistent journaling. It may not be every day, but it must be on a steady, regular basis. Find a pattern that works for you and give it the importance it deserves in your routine.
- After you move on from the emotional state of the union you have with yourself, it’s time to recap recent accomplishments. Are you keeping track of fitness goals, eating plans, educational or career-related goals? Your journal is a good place to quantify your status. Here you will see the achievements and the shortfalls in your plans. Accountability is a great motivator.
- Once you have recapped where you’ve been, use your journal to establish a plan for where you want to go in the future. Expand your current goals based on the level of progress you can see documented on your previous journal pages. A good journal is a guidebook for the future based on where you have come from in the past.
- Don’t use your journal to simply maintain the status quo. A journal can be the perfect launching ground for your fertile ideas for future accomplishments. Your journal can be so much more than simply a record of things gone by. It can be a safe place to test out new theories and ideas on paper or computer screen before putting them into practical service. It can be a place where the wild and crazy side of you finds a home.
For many people, a journal is simply a recording of life as it goes along. It is an after-the-fact listing of the day’s events. This might be exactly what you’re hoping to accomplish. But for others, a journal can be the blueprint of accomplishment, quantifying where you’ve been while laying the groundwork for where you are going.
Looking for tips on how to adopt a journaling routine? Check out our post, 3 Ways to Develop a Journal-Writing Habit. Where will your journal take you?