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Today’s show, is about, Why should you start a journal.
Journaling is one of the most powerful things you can do in daily life. Especially if you want to use it as a tool for increasing your confidence and self-esteem.
Today, I’ll go through the two main reasons people are cautious about starting a journal. And I’ll highlight some ways you can stop, or at least mitigate these concerns.
I’ll introduce to you the 60 second journal and give you a selection of journal prompt, to make the process of journaling easier and more enjoyable.
You can read the post associated with this podcast episode by CLICKING HERE.
There’s another article from a few months ago, that gives you some additional tips. You can FIND THAT HERE.
If you have any questions, or comments, please leave them in the comments section below.
Podcast music: Is ‘Sweet Life’ by Twisterium.
Music Link: https://www.twisterium.com
Hello, and welcome to Episode 12 of the Everyday Confidence podcast, from theskillfulmind.com. I’m your host, Steve George and today we’re gonna be asking the question, why should I be keeping a journal?
Hello again and welcome back to the show. As I’ve just said, we’re going to be talking today about why you should be keeping a journal.
Now if you’ve read the blog at all, you’ll know that I love the thought of keeping a journal. It’s such a powerful thing to do. Even just the process of regularly writing down your thoughts and what’s going on in your head. Getting them out of your head and down onto paper, or electronically.
So why is it then, keeping a journal is such a powerful thing to do? Well really, there are several different reasons. There are many scientific studies, that have shown that your conscious mind, can probably only hold around seven chunks of information at a time. So all of your conscious thought patterns break down to about seven different chunks of information. And recent studies have suggested, that it may even be as low as four!
So, you’ve probably got four to seven pieces of information floating around in your mind at any one time. If any of those chunks of information are worthless. Or they’re negative thoughts, or they’re things like worrying about what you shouldn’t be doing and what you can’t do. And what you might not be able to do. Or how you did it wrong the first time. Then, all that space has been taken up by things that are making it difficult for you to be a powerful person and build your confidence.
As well as that, journaling itself can be a very calming thing to do. Even if it’s just a case of looking for something that gives you some simple ‘goodness’, writing a journal every day helps you do that.
The first thing, as I just mentioned it leaves room for useful thoughts. You can get rid of all the negative thoughts going through your mind and replace those, with some useful things.
It helps you to focus on the thoughts that you do have. so that you can use them more productively. And, generally speaking, it reduces your stress.
Probably one of the biggest things for a lot of people, is if you’re having a bit of a bad day. Or you’ve just come from a situation that’s been a little bit stressful. Then you can use your journal, to do all of your complaining and not have to worry that somebody is going to be upset with you about it.
As well as the general things, if you’re using it to build, or to help you build self confidence. Growing your self esteem those sorts of things, then journaling really does have some superpowers. I mean, just to give you an idea: Some of the things that it can do….
You can track your progress towards any confidence goals that you’ve already set. You can write about your innermost thoughts and desires and nobody’s going to tell you that you’re wrong. And nobody’s going to complain.
It allows you to learn more about yourself. I mean, obviously, this comes down to the sort of questions that you ask in your journal. The questions that you ask yourself, but we’ll cover some of that later on.
You can write down all of your tasks and projects and things like that, in the journal. And the journal will help to keep you accountable. If you can look back on those things, in three days or weeks time. Even a months time, whatever it is, then that journal helps to keep you accountable and remind you of the things you promised yourself you’re gonna do.
It’s also somewhere safe, where you can write about your fears. I mean, nobody likes telling people what they’re afraid of. But, using your journal, you can make a note of all those things. It’ll maybe make it just a little bit easier to face.
Also, you can look back over time and see how much you’ve grown. Again, those sorts of things we’ll cover a little bit later in the podcast today.
And of course, it saves you paying for a therapist. You can use your journal to write all the things, that you would say to another person if you were paying them to do it. But it’s completely free of charge.
So what are some of the issues?
Well, when I speak to people about starting a journal. Most of the push-back I get is usually because of one, or two different things.
Either, firstly, they don’t have the time, or second, they don’t know what to write about.
So, what I’m going to quickly do today, is just go through a few of those for you, to give you some ideas. The first of the two issues obviously is time. Now many people, think that to be able to keep a journal, you have to make time to write in it every single day. Once a day, maybe 30 minutes in the evening, whatever it might be. Write everything out for that day, and then move on.
And that’s a great thing to do. Another huge benefit for keeping a journal though, is you can use it minute by minute, hour by hour during the day. You don’t have to carry a journal around with you. Just a simple notebook, or even a piece of paper and a pencil in your pocket. Then, whenever you come up against a situation that you want to remember. Something that might help you analyze when something’s gone right. Or something’s gone wrong. Just make a note of it on the paper, or on the pad. And then, keep that information until you complete your journal in the evening.
So, it’s true that the most benefit will be gained if you can sit down once a day every day and write everything out. But as I just said, make notes during the day and then that time in the evening becomes much simpler to complete. Try to do it every day. After all, you have negative thoughts every day so it just makes sense that you make a note of those things every day. And also, you’ll have small successes every day. So, get them down on paper, and then you won’t forget. Remember, four to seven pieces of information are the only things that can keep themselves in your mind at any one time. So make a note of them and write them in the journal later on.
A few years ago, so many people were saying that they couldn’t find the time. That I asked them to start completing what I called a ’60 second’ journal. It’s simple to do.
All you have to do, is sit down once a day and simply answer four questions. Those four questions are…
1. What did I do well today?
2. What did I struggle with today?
3. Is there anything I can do, to improve things, next time? And the final question,..
4. What am I grateful for today.
The only rule with those four questions, is that you spend no more than 60 seconds on each answer. So effectively, you’ve got four minutes. And I think anybody can spare four minutes in a day.
So, set yourself a timer, 60 seconds per question, and just make a quick note.
The benefit, is if you set yourself a time limit, then your brain immediately identifies the most important point.
The problem comes, when you ruminate on the answer. You’re not sure which is the most important. Or you try too hard to remember which one seems most important to you. Then the time slips by and you end up wasting a lot of time thinking. So you’ve got less time writing.
If you’ve got more time than four minutes you can expand on those answers. You could write explanations on how you deal with the situations that came up. O,r even what you gained from any experiences you had. You could share how any problems from the day made you feel. Or you could even brainstorm ways of preventing those same problems, happening in the future.
So really, lack of time shouldn’t be a factor. Everybody alive has got the same amount of time every day. So maybe, the issues that you’re having stem from procrastination? Which we talked about in the last episode.
Okay, so the second problem is “What should I write about”? And that’s where journaling prompts come in. So, I’ll give you a few to get started. Obviously, if you do need more, you can always ask Professor Google. There are hundreds of sites on the Internet at the moment, that will give you 1000s of different journal prompts to give you an idea.
So, I’ll go through a few of them with you now. Things like…
What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?
When do you feel the strongest or the most confident?
Can you name one compliment that you struggle to accept? (this was a big one for me in the past)
Think about a person you admire. (now that person could be a family member or a friend celebrity doesn’t really matter but pick a person that you admire.) and what qualities about them do you share?
Next is, What would you say is your best physical feature, and why? (a lot of people struggle with body image problems. And this is a good one for that).
Name one activity that always makes you feel good. (Now that activity could be a professional activity, it could be something that you do in your personal life like a hobby, but just one activity that makes you feel good).
Next is what’s your greatest talent, or skill? (don’t get too overwhelmed by that question. I mean for some of you, it could be that your greatest talent is that you’re a senior brain surgeon. Or, you’re a rocket scientist. But for many people their greatest talent might be something like, they’re able to listen to people without making judgments. Or they feel they’re their best friend. O,r they feel, nobody washes-up as well as they do. Whatever it might be for you. Make a note of that).
Next, What’s holding you back from pursuing your dreams? (Now that might be a physical problem, it might be a mental problem. But whatever it is but what’s holding you back from going after your dreams.)
Next, What would it take, to overcome that obstacle, or those obstacles? (So how would you deal with that. How could you deal with that.)
How do you sabotage your self confidence?
What is it you do, that holds you back?
Write about the last time you overcame a fear. (We’ve all got fears. Everybody has fears of one sort or another. So write a little bit about the last time you overcame that fear. Maybe that’s something you can build on, to help you out in the future.)
Next is, What would success look like to you? (So, what experience could you have, that you would classify as being successful? And then,
What is it about failure that scares you? (We all fear failure for different reasons. So just try and get that down on paper.)
And as I said, you can always ask Professor Google if you need any more ideas.
Just a few other tips to finish off with. The first tip, would be just to decide to try it. That’s the biggest hurdle for a lot of people. So just give it a try.
It’s something that I’ve done every day for years. And although it doesn’t always seem like anything good comes out of it, it’s amazing how much does. Especially when you look back on it. For me, it’s more about the looking back and seeing how far I’ve come and what I’ve achieved.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve never written in a journal before. Or, if you’ve got no idea what to write about. Even if you don’t think you’ll have time to do it everyday. If you don’t think you’ve got time, start with a 60 second journal and just build from there.
Everything is simpler, if you can make it a habit. So try to set a specific time every day for journaling. Even if it’s only for the five minutes, for your 60 second journal.
They say it takes approximately 21 days of regular repeated action for something simple to become a habit for you. So, even if you try it for three weeks and see what happens. The only thing with trying it for three weeks, is if you do miss a day then you have to start again.
But even if you’re still not sure it’s going to be right for you. Just give it a try for a short period, what have you got to lose?
Okay, that’s it for today. Like I say, even if it’s only for four minutes a day, start a journal and see how powerful it can be for you.
Thanks for listening. As usual, the show notes can be found over on the podcast page which is theskillfulmind.com/podcast/12. I hope you have a great week. and until next time. Bye for now.
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