There are so many different tools we can immerse ourselves in when it comes to personal development and self-awareness. There’s one, though, that will catapult you forward in this journey. And that is journaling.
Journaling is such a powerful — but often overlooked — practice that generates so many different realizations. There are lots of different ways to practice journaling, but the simple act of writing down thoughts, ideas, feelings, or even a mere description of our days, allows us to bring out a lot of what we’re used to ignoring.
And that’s one of the most significant benefits of journaling: self-awareness. When we allow ourselves this space and practice, we start becoming aware of so many repeating thoughts, emotions and patterns that we hold within.
This is where actual change begins. When we gain self-awareness and are able to identify what needs to be shifted, we can then determine what are the next steps into bettering ourselves.
Here are a couple of ways to approach journaling:
Stream of Consciousness
This format of journaling is an invitation for you to write without any judgments or agendas. Just write. Freely, endlessly. Without stopping, without expectations. If you find yourself blocked, literally write: “I’m blocked right now and don’t know what to write”.
This is such a beautiful practice because it often surprises you. When you think there’s nothing left to stream through you, that’s when you have the most astounding discoveries and, sometimes, even magical pieces of writing.
Remember to have a lot of self-compassion — especially on your first couple of times (although self-compassion is a nice thing to have every single day). Observe if you’re getting frustrated or beating yourself up over this practice. If you are, then write about that and enquire even deeper into why is it that you’re feeling this way. Be curious and see where it leads you.
Here, you’ll initiate your journaling practice with a prompt. It might be a question, an open-ended statement, a word, or even a photo or feeling. Journal prompts are amazing to help you focus and hone in on a specific idea.
They can vary a lot in themes and formats, and they can easily be found widespread throughout different blogs, articles, and social media. You could also invest in a journal prompts book if you’re keen on strengthening your practice.
Some ideas to help you get started:
“What I want more of in my life”
“What I want less of in my life”
“I’m my happiest when _____”
“How can I celebrate myself today?”
“What am I grateful for this week?”
In all honesty, journaling might take some time to be incorporated into our fast-paced routines. Because it’s such a slow and present practice, it differs quite a lot from what we’re used to be doing.
However, that’s just one more reason to start. Do it with a lot of self-compassion, and make it a consistent practice — whatever that looks like for you. After some time, re-read your pages and observe the inner shifts that have come forth because you decided to become a better version of yourself (and, while you’re at it, journal out a “thank you note” for your past self).