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Keeping a Journal

Doreene Clement

Writing. . . expressing can heal us. It can focus, support and enhance our lives and well-being. Whether we laugh or we cry, whether through sorrow or joy, we can understand more about ourselves, and each other, through keeping a journal.

Doreene Clement, author, "The 5 Year Journal"

Some Benefits of Keeping a Journal

  • Reduces stress - Journaling is a proven method to reduce stress, because the expression and clarity through journaling your experiences removes tension from that experience. With less tension, you can be more focused, and it becomes easier to see and then focus on what is really important to you, for you, and your career.
  • Sets goals and resolution - One very effective way to start using your journaling in your work life is to write what your goals and resolutions are. These can be for yourself, for your co-workers/employees, or even for your company. The key to goals and resolutions is that they go hand in hand. A goal is what you want to accomplish. A resolution is how you are going to accomplish your goal. As you write be sure to include specific thoughts and ideas for both. You can create your goals and resolutions on a daily, weekly, monthly, or even on a yearly basis.

    • Goals - A goal is what you want to accomplish. You can use your journal to set both long and short-term goals. Be very specific - I want to be Vice-President of Sales by 2004. I want to make 25% more money by the end of this year.
    • Resolutions - A resolution is your resolve of how you are going to reach your goal. Again be very specific - To become Vice President of Sales by 2004 I will do the following. . . Then list these items. To make more money by the end of this year I will. . . Again make a specific list of tasks and to do's that are practical things you can do to accomplish your goal.

  • Understand habits and patterns - We are creatures of habit. We create patterns and routines in ways of acting, and also in our thinking. Journaling our desires, thoughts, ideas, dreams, goals, and what is most important to us now, we can better see and track our habits and patterns. This process often reveals where we are stuck, and why.
  • Process and explore - As you write, it is a process of exploration into who you are, and what you are thinking. It is an examination of what it is that you carry with you, in your mind, everyday.
  • Can improve well-being, and makes time for you - Through keeping a journal, with all the benefits that you can receive, there are studies proving that journaling improves well-being. With journaling you stop and think about what you are experiencing or needing.
  • Solve problems, revealing solutions - You can use your journaling as a problem solving tool. As you write about a problem, your concerns, and even your fears, solutions can become more evident, because you. . .
  • . . . See what you are thinking - As you write down what you are thinking you are making solid on the paper your thoughts, and you can see what you are thinking. With that it can be easier to assess if what you are thinking is serving want you want to accomplish.
  • Creates a personal reminder - You can use your journal to remind yourself and even the people you work with of not only deadlines and timeframes, but you can outline specific targets in your journaling. Your journal becomes a planning and organizing tool as you use it to set specific goals for yourself, individuals, and for your company.

    More benefits. . .

  • Organizes your thinking
  • Helps you focus
  • Can improve your well-being
  • Makes time for you
  • Becomes a treasured keepsake

On a piece of paper, write your answers to the question, "Which 3 words best describe how you are feeling right now?"

When you are done writing, you have just journaled.

Writing about whatever is important to you right then and there is journaling. Tracking what you have planted in your garden is journaling. Writing about the family holidays together, or coffee with a friend is journaling. There is no set amount of words or pages that constitutes a journal.

There can be a set theme or topic in your journal, but there does not have to be. I have written about soup, the weather, myself, my friends, and my dreams for the future, in my journal. A journal, which is the same as a diary, is a place where you choose to store what is important to you.

When to Start Journaling

Any day of any year is a good time to start your journal. The day you feel you want to start recording your experiences and thoughts is the perfect day to start - Whether on January 1, November 3, or today. There is no set time of year to begin a journal or to start to journal again.

Some people like the idea of starting their journal on January 1. They write their goals and ideas starting at the beginning of the year. Others like the idea of starting the very day it occurs to them that they want to write about their lives in a journal. Whatever you choose, it is the right way for you, and that is all that matters.

What to Journal In

There are a lot of choices of where to record all those thoughts, feelings, ideas, dreams, and desires. What you will write in and what you will write with again is up to you. Try several choices, several types of books, and several types of pens or pencils. Find the tools that fit you. You can also record your journal on tape, video, or the computer. Writing a letter can be another form of journaling your experiences.

What to Write About

I know of a woman who wants to be a comedian. In her journal she writes a joke a day. Another person had been stuck for several years writing her novel. She started to journal about writing her novel and gained the focus she needed. She finished her novel within a few months. Another person tracks every penny he spends in his journal.

The beauty of keeping a journal is that it is your book. You get to choose not only when to write, but what to write.

How Much I Write in My Journal

Journaling is about what you want to express that day so, you can write as much or as little as you want; a word, a thought or two, pages, you choose.

Remembering to Journal

Place your journal where you will see it every day. I do not mind taking vitamins, but if I do not see them I do forget to take them. Place your journal on your nite stand or where you have coffee in the morning. I keep mine on my desk, where I will see it everyday.

Part of keeping a journal, for me, is skipping a day, or maybe four. I usually write every day, but some days I do not. I forget to write or I do not get to it, or I have nothing to say that day. Skipping a day is a part of keeping a journal.

Keeping Your Journal Safe

You may want to have a special secret place for your journal so no one else can read it. You can keep it in a locked box, or tuck it away. You can also ask the people around you not to read your journal. It is private and only concerns you.

As you journal about specific events or people you can also use code words for those experiences. It is important that you feel safe writing about your thoughts so, think about how you can create that for yourself in your own environment.

With the passage of time, we gain a different perspective. Time is a healer. What was once hard, or unbearable, can now make more sense, giving us a clearer picture. Recording and tracking our lives, by keeping a journal, can actually bring relief, clarity, joy, and laughter.

Copyright © 2001 - Doreene Clement. All right reserved. Reprinted with permission.

An Amazing Discovery!

I've discovered The 5 Year Journal by Doreene Clement - This book offers a positive format for growth and healing through journaling. Use it to capture and summarize your daily experiences, thoughts, and feelings. Complete with quotations to encourage and inspire, plus a valuable workbook section.

I believe "The 5 Year Journal" is the very best and most complete daily journal you can own! A beautiful hard cover book in which to record your most private emotions, thoughts, feelings and sensitivities, and keep in your very own secret place. This extraordinary book will help you learn journaling in a very personal way. I highly recommended it. - Larry James

  If you would like to talk one-on-one with Larry James about relationship issues related to this article, you are invited to arrange for a private coaching session by telephone. Go to Personal Relationship Coaching for specific details.

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Relationship books by Larry James:

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Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship

LoveNotes for Lovers:
Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing

Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers (Career Assurance Press).

Author Larry James is a professional speaker. He presents "Relationship Enrichment LoveShops" nationally for singles and couples. More About Larry James

Larry James • • P.O. Box 12695 • Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695

480 998-9411 • Fax 480 998-2173 • 800 725-9223

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