What if I told you there is one activity you can do that will keep your resolutions on track? This one thing is scientifically proven to improve your productivity, chances for success, physical health, mental health, emotional health and spiritual health. What if I told you that you could achieve life-changing results in just 10-20 minutes sessions, several times per week? Finally, would you believe me if I told you that it’s completely free? I am normally deeply suspicious of any such “silver bullet” claim, but in this case it is 100% true.
The number-one thing you can do to stay on track with your goals is to keep a regular journal.
- Journaling clarifies thinking. The act of writing engages the left side of the brain, the analytical and rational side, while the contemplation of the feelings you are having engages the right side of the brain, the creative and intuitive side. Getting the two sides of the brain focused on a goal, challenge, issue, or trauma focuses all of our brain power for greater clarity of thought and keeps us from getting in our own way of achieving goals.
- Journaling helps prioritize. Nobody has time to write about everything that happens and the feelings that result. So when we do sit down to write, we naturally write about the most important things. This helps us to keep our priorities top of mind and reminds us not to let busy-work hijack our days. Journaling about your resolutions, and progress towards them, will keep your priorities straight.
- Journaling heals emotional pain. We all experience disappointment, and even emotional trauma, at some point in our lives. Journaling focuses the mind on the specific event and how we feel about it. As we write, we are working through the healing process at our own pace. Generally speaking, people can only write about their emotional pain so many times before feeling moved to take action. When we are free from pain we have much more energy to focus on goals.
- Journaling promotes gratitude. In addition to writing about what plagues us, we also write about what brings us joy, about our blessings, about what we have to be thankful for. Putting our gratitude in writing is tremendously affirming, and gives new weight and meaning to life.
- Journaling reveals our higher purpose. As we work through the events causing us emotional stress and become cognizant of all that we have to be thankful for, we attain a level of psychological health that allows us to contemplate what it’s all for! Journaling often leads you on a spiritual journey where you discover what feeds your soul, drives your passion, forms your values, and guides your choices.
So why don’t more adults keep a regular journal? As with many things that are good for us, we simply don’t make the time. The good news is this: you don’t need a lot of time to benefit from journaling! In fact, many experts recommend shorter, more frequent journaling of 15-20 minutes several times per week. If you think you don’t have enough time to journal, think again. The clarity that emerges from regular journaling actually creates more time by keeping us focused on what’s important and shortening our decision-making processes.
Positive Psychology offers these tips and prompts to get you started.
Happy journaling! Nothing will do more to be sure you have a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.