Keeping a journal is something people have done since ancient times – and for good reasons. Journals serve a variety of purposes, from simply recording our thoughts and feelings, to being a personal outlet when we need one. They also offer a reminder of where we’ve been and what we’ve achieved, and can function as mission statements for where we want to go. While some people associate hard copy journals with troubled teenagers, they couldn’t be more wrong: journals are excellent tools for anyone who’s mindful of themselves, and of their life.
What to record
There are absolutely no rules when it comes to keeping a journal – and that’s the beauty of them. They don’t have to be meticulously organised or presented, and they certainly don’t have to be perfectly written - they just have to be a space in which you can freely express yourself. What you include in your journal is entirely up to you, but some of the following suggestions can make your journal the most beneficial one.
1. Meaningful moments in your life: The good, the bad, and the ugly. A record of these moments can prove insightful in the future when you’re able to look back on them objectively, and they can also be cathartic to write at the time. Putting events on paper can really help ‘declutter’ your mind, because it helps you see things with more clarity and simplicity than you might otherwise do when they’re swirling around in your head.
2. Goals and achievements: Outlining your goals and logging your process is good practice for anyone looking to achieve something. And looking back at your achievements can also provide a self-esteem boost when you’re not feeling at your most confidence.
3. Things to be grateful for: Whether it’s your good health, your work or the most important people in your life, a page dedicated to all the positives can help reel you back to a good place when you’re feeling weighed down by the negatives.
4. Quotes: We’ve all got favourite quotes that either inspire us or help us get by in life. Dedicate plenty of space for the ones you live by – and be sure to leave room for new ones too.
5. Inspiration: Whether you love art, gardening, or even want to create a mood board so you can visualise your goals, a few scrapbook-style pages of inspiration will keep your journal a positive place. Pouring over the things that make you tick first thing can really kick start your day.
6. Dreams: Dreams can be insightful, revealing, inspiring, or even just funny. Keep your journal beside your bed at night so you can immediately record your dreams while you can still recall them.
7. Thoughts on the world around you: The world changes all the time, and the events that take place all around you can shape your perspective more than you realise. Logging life as you see it can provide a fascinating insight when you read your journal back in 10, or even 30 years’ time.
8. Practical things: From exercise and diet plans, to a ‘books to read’ list, you can make your journal into a bespoke handbook for any area of your life.
Why go for a hard copy journal over a digital one?
Hard copy journals are much more personal and poignant, because they’re written by your own, unique hand – and to many, the Queen included (who keeps a regular journal), that makes a big difference. What’s more, because they’re physical objects that you’ve poured so much of yourself into, you’re much more likely to treasure them; where as a digital counterpart is easily deleted, lost, or forgotten about entirely.
This week, TCA Coaching Academy Author Series, Part 4 continues with Ro Gorell's short article, where the author reveals her journey to writing her own book 'Group Coaching’.