Of all of the challenges and experiments I’ve taken on over the years, there’s one habit I’ve picked up that I cannot function without—journaling. I write just about every day. It’s private and unfiltered, and through it, I work through problems, brainstorm ideas, and search for answers. I complain, gush, vent, analyze dreams, and ponder topics for upcoming challenges. My grammar is horrible. I frequently change topics or abandon thoughts mid-sentence. But that’s the beauty of journaling: There are no rules.
Journaling can be an extremely powerful (and therapeutic) tool for improving self-awareness. Through your words, you learn to:
- become honest with yourself
- ask better questions
- notice patterns and details or remember conversations that you might otherwise have forgotten
- sort through things that don’t make sense
- make plans—from long-term goals to tomorrow’s to-do list
- find things to be grateful for
- work through anxiety, worry, fear, and negativity
- start focusing on solutions
The blank page might seem intimidating, but it is a worthwhile experiment, especially if you’re feeling stuck, conflicted, or overwhelmed.
Every day, write or type in a private journal for at least 15 minutes (aim for at least 1 full page or 250 words). Write about whatever you’d like, without editing, thinking, or judging. Think of it as chance to get thoughts out of your head and ideas flowing.
If you prefer a more structured writing challenge, consider the following prompts:
- Write about your day. What did you do? Where did you go? Who did you talk to?
- Write a letter to your future self.
- Write a letter to someone you love and are grateful for.
- Write a letter to someone who you want to improve your relationship with.
- Write down your goals for the next week, month, quarter, and year.
- Write down your eulogy. What would you want said about your life and how you lived it?
- Work through a problem you’re facing or decision that you’re weighing.
- What would you do with your life if money were no object? How would you spend your time?
- Create your bucket list.
- Create a list of all of the things, big, medium, or small, that you are grateful for. Write until you can’t think of a single thing left to be grateful for.
- What is your favorite quote or song lyric and what does it mean to you?
- Write about your earliest memory in as much detail as you can remember.
- Write a long apology.
- Write about things that make you smile.
- Try pure, stream-of-consciousness writing. Write whatever pops into your head!
750words.com; an online private journal (free for 30 days)