Never Trust Your Memory: Benefits of Keeping A Journal & How To Get Started

I was listening to one of my favorite motivational audios from one of my mentors, Mr. Jim Rohn, when I couldn’t help but notice his emphasis on keeping a journal. At first I didn’t think much of it. But after months of contemplation, I headed out to the store and picked up my very first journal. It was one of the best decisions I ever made. Not just financially but mentally as well. Here are some of the awesome benefits of keeping a journal and how you can start your own.

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The Beginning: Benefits of Keeping A Journal

I had just gotten home from the store with my brand new journal. Eager to get started, I sat down at my desk, turned the knob to my desk lamp, flipped open the journal and with the stroke of the pen I wrote absolutely nothing. I was pulling a blank. I had no idea what to write. Was this how journaling was supposed to work? Like some sort of chore? Something didn’t seem right so I closed the book.

A few days later, I had had one of the most amazing nights of my life up in San Francisco, California and upon getting home, I decided to give the journaling another shot. Except instead of the proverbial writers block, words started kissing the paper from the ball of the pen with effortless motion. I was pouring out my experience that I had just had. With every stroke of the pen it was as if I was reliving the same emotions and feelings I had just gone through. Within 5 minutes, two pages were full and I had successfully written my first entry.

What had happened?

I learned a very valuable lesson: journal entries are to be felt, not to be forced. Till this day I can’t force myself to write something down that I’m not feeling. Now feeling doesn’t mean that you’re going to only write when you’re experiences are amazing, it can also mean that you’re going through a rough time. Maybe you’ve excelled at something and also want to jot it down.

Perhaps you’re in an interesting position of some sort and need to get your thoughts down on paper to clear your head. Whatever the case, your journaling is going to come through your hands easier when you’re in a state of feeling some sort of emotion. For me personally, it’s about the quality of my entry rather than the quantity. I would rather keep a journal of 100 entries over the course of 2 years than 700 entries of random thought.

A Fool Trusts His Memory

Jim Rohn once said, “Be a collector of good ideas, but don’t trust your memory. The best collecting place for all of the ideas and information that comes your way is your journal.”

He was absolutely right. Some of the greatest ideas I’ve ever had, I’ve forgotten. It wasn’t until late that I’ve actually begun to jot down my ideas in my journal. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve made and one of the best decisions you’ll ever make when you decide to start your journal.

Here are a few other benefits of keeping a journal.

Mental Maintenance – Your soul is the driver of your vehicle that you know as your body. Everyday in life, you’re putting fuel in your body in the forms of foods, liquids, etc. What you put into your body is what you’ll get out of it. The same concept applies to your mind. Whatever information you fuel your mind with is what you will get out of it. Now, like any vehicle, your going to want to give your brain mental maintenance to see how you’re doing. The best way to do this is to write it down. Ask yourself how you’re doing, how life is going, what areas you need to improve in, and what actions you’re going to take to make the necessary changes to improve the quality of your life.

Progress Reports – Remember how teachers would send home progress reports to your parents to notify them how you were dong in school? News flash: you’re an adult now and no one is going to keep you accountable other than yourself. A healthy way to do this is by writing down honest (No B.S.) progress reports. Only you know how well (or poor) you’re doing. Being honest is refreshing because it gets you out of that routine that everything is going as planned when deep down you know it isn’t.

To Do Lists – I’ve never been a huge fan of to do lists but I am a fan of soccer. Whenever I watch a match and the camera focuses on the coaches of both teams, I’ve noticed that the most successful coaches are always taking notes. They’re not only taking notes during games but they’re then taking those notes and transferring them into their training sessions to see where the team needs areas of improvement and what to work on. Your life is a sport. Create to do lists that are action based and that will produce results. I usually like to make my to do lists full of income producing activities. See what works best for you and run with it.

Share Your Emotions – Sometimes we all need someone to talk to but for a lot of us, we don’t have a certain someone to confide in. Until you do find that person, why not confide in yourself? Sharing your emotions through your own writing will definitely bring you back in touch with your true self. You already know a lot of the answers that you’re seeking, why not rediscover them through your writing?

Be Thankful – Keeping a journal of gratitude based entries is very health for the mind, body, and soul. Remember, it’s not about having the most things in life, it’s about making the most of the little things that life has to offer. Be thankful for your bed, for the friends you have, for that new promotion you got, for that sale you made, or just for your pets loving you unconditionally. Always be thankful. Take not of what you’re thankful for and see the world around you begin to change because you’ve decided to make this one small mental shift.

How To Start Your Own Journal

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I personally picked up my journal from Office Depot. But if I had to do it over again, I would have went to Barnes and Noble. They have a great selection of leather and non-leather journals. Make sure that whatever journal you select fits your unique style. This is personal. And if you can, invest a solid amount of cash into your journal. This is where your million dollar ideas will be placed, give them a valuable place to reside in the form of a valuable journal.

Next, invest in a pen that holds meaning to you. Every knight has his sword, make sure your pen reflects the caliber of your thoughts. It will make you feel great knowing that you have a journal and pen that are valuable. You’ll take pride of ownership and will want to stay consistent with quality entires.

Add the date, time, year, and location of every single one of your entires before you start writing. This way when you look back at each entry, you can reminisce on where and when you wrote each piece. It will bring back certain memories which will be great for reflection purposes and imagining how things used to be.

Finally, have fun! Enjoy the process of writing and be creative. Doodle images, add quotes, cut out images and glue them in. Your journal is going to be a reflection of who you are and who you are becoming.

The Ultimate Benefit You’ll Receive

You’ll have formed the single greatest habit of every successful person: the habit of creating a personal journal. You’ll feel a part of a certain class of people who have achieved greatness during their lifetimes in their select field of expertise.

It’ll make you feel as if you are no different than ‘they’ are. And the reality is that you are no different. You are exactly the same and are creating the lasting habits of success to aid you on your journey of life.

You’ll feel liberated in times of stress, excited by a new idea, driven by a sense of purpose, and will feel a sense of calm in a world of noise and opinions. You will get out of it exactly what you put in. That in itself, is the greatest benefit. What will your story be?

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