Too many people today keep blog posts and vlogs to record their lives on social media with a short 140-word snippet, an image download or a video vine, which may work for them. But it takes true discipline to record our experiences, meanings and observations regularly. JRNL is attempting to conveniently use the medium of an online application and combine it with traditional journaling practices.
From a professional perspective, there are several reasons a person would want to keep a journal. They include but are not limited to the following:
- To record decisions made or actions taken for possible future accountability. A person would make entries regarding important decisions made, citing reasons for such decisions, particularly if in a position where regularly held accountable. Also cited would be references made to statistics or precedents that have already been set in the field to support decisions or actions taken. After all, no one wants to be left with no leg to stand on if a decision comes back to haunt them that could affect their job status.
- To record something newly learned that could be used to solve a future problem (or even to prevent an issue from happening). An example would be doctors who read personal (or even professional) journals to keep key information that would help them evaluate and diagnose their patients. Historically, think how General George Custer could have benefitted from his scouts’ accounts of the territory, which could have resulted in seeing opportunities that may not have been apparent at first glance and avoiding tragic decision-making on his part.
- To provide a valuable record or accounting of personal experiences from which others may learn to become future leaders or decision-makers. It is easy to state plain facts of what happened, but for someone to understand what it took to reach a goal or major decision in a crisis, one would need to read an account of the thinking and feelings that went on, about the complexity of taking certain options, and the mental strength and inner momentum that the journalist experienced during the crisis.
- To improve writing skills. Journaling unfolds the writer in all of us and makes for better communication, allowing the writer to focus, clarify needs and desires, and enhance self-expression. Journaling builds confidence and self-knowledge. It helps you identify your values and allows you to explore your spirituality.
- To reaffirm your goals, vent your situation, and plan ahead. Journals allow you to detach and let go of the past and even reconstruct it. They are portals of self-discovery, revealing different aspects of self. While journaling, you see yourself as an individual but your records reveal the depths of who you really are. Journals can be a godsend when your life goes through its many changes. It’s therapeutic and has mental health benefits. Journaling can be applied to clarify any issue in your life and is self-starting and motivating. It’s flexible and easy to take a little time to stop, pay attention and listen to yourself.
If it helps, go to a quiet place (park, beach or library) to think and document your feelings and ideas in a judgment-free zone. You can yell in your journal without raising your voice. The purpose of a journal is that it relieves you of your life and then makes you long for it again. Many people write about their apprehensions about becoming a parent for the first time, reflect on their relationships with their own parents, deal with a difficult pregnancy or medical condition (“the bottom of my feet are feeling numb”); work through a difficult choice of separation or reconciliation. You could write about bad spending habits and how much money you spend or gamble. It could also be about the latest Star Wars movie or the upcoming Super bowl. There should be no limits. You don’t have to write to impress anyone, just yourself. Use it and review it regularly.
Journals come in many creative forms for you to find that artist with in you—sketching, relationship, travel, dream, recipes, or garden. Food journals help you eat healthfully. You could even comment on your trepidations about being a bad cook. Inspirational journals help you develop a greater intimacy with God and reflect on how he works through you.
Journal about things that give you immense joy or strike up a powerful emotion in you. Write about a right-of-passage experience that helped you grow. Journal about your bad side—it’s an exercise that will help release your bad feelings (guilt, anger, jealousy, and resentment—we all have them). The consistency of the practice of journaling gets them out of your heart and rids you of the masks you wear. Journal about bad as well as good people. It will help you feel better about yourself and be the person you want to be.
Your most important relationship is with yourself. Even though our lives are so hectic, we rarely make time to connect with ourselves and deepen that connection. We have to slow down and think about what is truly happening around ourselves as well as our part in it. We tend to disregard our own personal feelings and keep ourselves “busy” to avoid dealing with then. Your life story goes on with you continuously every single day. If you journal, through serious introspection, you would see how interesting you really are.
Professional development will aide you within the coming new year. To help with your new year’s resolution, we will gladly send you a reminder to update your journal. It is said it takes almost 3 weeks to form a habit and the best way to get better at journaling is to just keep doing it. Opt-in at your settings and a daily reminder will be e-mailed to you promptly. You don’t have to write elongated passages of fond remembrances, just blend it into your day when you go to that voyage inside. JRNL also lets you print out your journal if you’re not completely comfortable with the software option. You’re writing only for you so go easy on yourself. It is a close, intimate, accepting, trusting, and honest perfect friend. It’s the best relationship you’ve got. Respect it.