Author Topic: Journaling  (Read 1805 times)


  • Magnum Stache
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  • Location: Minnesota
« on: January 07, 2014, 12:00:20 PM »

Does anyone here journal on a regular basis? I would like to get in the habit of doing so, as I know that there are a ton of benefits to doing so. Does anyone have any tips for making this a habit?

One thing I am trying is having another friend start journaling at the same time, and hopefully we can keep each other accountable until it begins a habit.

I've heard a rule of thumb of 21 days to form a habit, anyone know how true this is?

Dr. Doom

  • Bristles
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Re: Journaling
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2014, 03:45:30 PM »

Hi MgoSam,

Yep, I've been journaling for about 15 minutes most days for the past 20 years.

Things that have helped me create and keep the habit:

  • Setting a scheduled time to do it.  For me it was morning.  When I first started, I had to wake up a bit early to fit it in.  Once you're in the habit, you may be able to be a little looser with scheduling.  Scheduling is a key component in forming any habit.
  • Not being super critical of what I'm writing.  I think of it as running water through the hose, if that makes any sense.
  • Setting a time limit.  Mine is min 10 min, max 30 minutes.   And I don't edit myself.  This is journaling, not writing the next great american novel or even blogging.  It doesn't have to be super-fun, but it shouldn't be torture, either.
  • Reviewing some of what I've written maybe once every couple of weeks.   Not everything, just scanning entries.  This helps you to validate that what you're doing is useful, which will motivate you to keep it up.  You can also look for common themes which might indicate problems you have to address in your life.   Example: If the first thing you write every day is "I hate my job" then you need to start looking for a new one.   You also might catch an idle thought you had that you never took action on, but was a really good idea. 
  • Having an idea about what you want to get out of it.  Do you just want to list out things that you want to do that day?  Or complain about things that bother you?  Examine parts of your life that maybe you aren't happy with and could be improved?    I'm a list-maker myself.  I ask myself how I'm doing -- is anything in particular bugging the hell out of me that maybe I need to work on?  And then I will try to determine what I need to do that day.  This adds a sense of purpose to my day, and reinforces the value I get out of the time spent journaling -- a good feedback loop.
  • I've also taken to storing my files on dropbox so I can edit them from an alternate computer if I really want to.  You could probably use google docs instead but I don't trust Big G's privacy controls.  Having the files accessible might help you to get a session in on days when your schedule is out of whack for whatever reason.

The friend idea (accountability etc) is a good one, too.

Good luck -- I think that keeping a journal can be an extraordinary tool to focus your own thoughts, create and improve routines and other habits, discard useless emotional baggage, and create a life that goes where you want it to go.