I came across an old journal of mine recently when I was looking for something else. Two hours later I was still reading it. It was fascinating what caught my attention when I was heading to Darwin via Alice Springs back in 1989. While I was lost in its pages Little Missy landed in and asked me what I was laughing at so I hopped her up on my knee and read her a story. “Once upon a time when your Mummy was a young girl she didn’t know how to play a didgeridoo until…”
One hour later the homework wasn’t done, the dinner wasn’t made and the washing hadn’t been taken in from the line but my daughter and I had travelled to Australia and back. It got me thinking how important it is to write things down. Back in 1989 it never occurred to me that I would be reading my travel log to my children. I only wanted to keep a record of my experiences while travelling but now I am so glad I did. Little Missy is looking forward to the next entry.
There are a myriad of benefits to keeping a daily journal besides remembering what you had for breakfast five years ago. As time clocks up the years, the pixels of our memories fade out and a hazy recollection of events sets in. By the time our grand children are looking to know who, what and why, only the faintest outlines of the big things will be remembered. But the stuff that’s really interesting is often the little, seemingly mundane details of life.
Here are five good reasons to journal.
1. An opportunity to review your life experiences Simply writing about your experiences can help you focus on what’s really going on in your life and in your head, so that you can come up with a solution to your problems.
2. A way of getting thoughts and feelings off your chest Keeping a diary is like having a do-it-yourself therapist. You can get feelings off your chest. Do not over think. Simply write down what is on your mind, no matter how small, unimportant, rambling or stupid it may seem.
3. A gift to your future self and your family Keeping a journal today means you can look back in five years, ten years or in old age at what you were thinking about, dreaming of, hoping for. It is a great way of creating a memento of your life that may be enjoyed by you in future years and your future generations too.
4. Your Journal Holds You Accountable Keep a record of facts and figures in your journal, especially those that relate to an important life change. Weight loss, a exercise regime, giving up smoking. Whatever the nature of your change, your journal can help you to achieve it and keep you motivated.
5. Your Journal Can keep You Positive Some days are more trying than others. If you don’t feel like writing just write a line or two on what you are thankful for or on the positive aspects of your day or week.
That’s it. All you need to do now is pick your medium: analog or digital, your favourite time of day and write whatever comes into your head. No editing, no crossing out, just write. Winston Churchill did it. Charles Darwin did it. Bridget Jones did it. Cheryl Cole does it and I have no idea whether Simon Cowell does or not—quite frankly I’m not interested—hand me Churchill’s any day or one of my own, they are much more interesting. Why not pick up one of yours and if you have never kept a journal perhaps you’ll start today. Future generations will love it!