So, you’ve heard all these great things about why journaling is a useful, productive habit that helps you practice mindfulness – and now you want to start writing yourself! Well that’s great. We all know that committing and doing it are two different things. I know from personal experience that beginnings are always hard; getting started and building momentum can sometimes be the most difficult part of the journey.
There are all sorts of reasons one may delay getting started. Maybe you haven’t found the time, or you don’t have a comfortable space to write in. It’s quite possible that you’re nervous about writing in a journal, scared to put yourself out there or concerned about being so vulnerable (trust me, I’ve been there and dealt with that). It also could simply be that you just don’t know where to begin.
Either way, if you truly want to take a stab at journaling you have to start somewhere. Here are 5 questions to help you get the ball rolling. Take some time to reflect (I often find it helpful to go for a walk while I contemplate things) on these questions and write your answers in your new journal. Keep in mind, there are no right or wrong answers here! So write away to your hearts content.
- Why do you want to start journaling? – Take some time to reflect on why you’ve decided to start keeping a journal. Was there something or someone in particular that inspired you?
- What fears, apprehensions or concerns do you have about journaling? – I’m not going to pretend these negative feelings don’t exist and neither should you. Bring them to the forefront, acknowledge them and move on. After all, what’s the worse that could happen? If fear is holding you back from writing in your journal lets just nip that in the butt now. As FDR once said, “There’s nothing to fear, but fear itself!” This is your chance to make a choice for yourself – either you face fear and move-on or you let it take ahold of you…which person do you want to be. Journaling about your fears is a great way to conquer them.
- What’s on your mind? – Sometimes there’s something that’s forcing itself to be front and center in your psyche: a persistent concern, a bothersome conversation, an intriguing opportunity, or an exciting new development. Write down these thoughts; I like to call it brain dumping. This is a good place to start if you’re feeling blocked or stuck and want to move on.
- What do you want to accomplish? – Write down your dreams, your goals, your intentions, your desires. What are you striving towards? Be open, honest and raw; it’s ok to dream big here. Be as descriptive as you feel compelled to be.
- How will you resolve any issues, fears, concerns, apprehensions, etc. and move forward? – This has been a very empowering component of journaling for me. Anytime I am processing thru a situation I conclude my writing by coming to a resolution. If there’s a problem I acknowledge what’s within my control, decide what I’ll do about it, and set my intentions to let go of that which is out of my control. When I’m faced with an opportunity I determine what my next steps will be so that I may make the most of it.
You need not answer all these questions at once. In fact, you might find it useful to answer just one at a time. Also, keep in mind that these questions can be contemplated again and again. Remember this isn’t a test, just because you answered a question once doesn’t mean you’re done considering it ever again. One of the benefits of journaling is that it helps you be more mindful when you have a habit of self-reflection.