What do Albert Einstein, Barack Obama, Jennifer Anniston, and tons of other successful people all have in common?
We have all jotted down notes, ideas, and lists from time to time about the things we want to do. We all recognize the power of writing things down if for no other reason than to not forget the onions at the grocery store, but journaling or keeping a diary is a whole other dimension.
When a higher sense of purpose is introduced, journaling will change your life in ways you could never imagine. We will bet that most people you either look up to or consider successful, are journaling in some form or another. From notable people in history to everyday folks looking to feel better and calmer, this timeless practice has helped many sift through the chaos of life to uncover the golden nuggets of wisdom and insights waiting to be discovered within them.
“In my life, writing has been an important exercise to clarify what I believe, what I see, what I care about, what my deepest values are.” - Barack Obama
If it's someone else’s rules, we won’t care and we won’t buy-in.
There are many ways to journal, but there is something to be said for making it our own. All things in life must eventually be of our creation if we are to do it in a meaningful way. Making it ours makes it special to us. When we create something from us and by us, we are much more likely to respect, appreciate, and love it above all else. This is why all parents think their baby is the cutest.
Here's the secret to all transformational practices and why rules such as diets eventually all fail: Until it’s yours, it won’t stick. Before a seed lays its roots in the ground, it first has to go through an internal process. And only then when it is ready can it begin to grow into its full potential. We can't skip the process of making it our own because transformation happens when the roots begin to grow. After enough time passes, then you can enjoy the fruit from that seed planted long ago.
Nobody knows you, better than you and they never will. Things may start as someone else’s rules, but eventually, they have to come back home and become your rules.
Before we get into how to make journaling something you will want to do and enjoy, it will help to understand why this practice will benefit you.
“People who keep journals have life twice.”- Jessamyn West
How often do you talk to yourself throughout the day?
Research has shown that it varies for everyone. Some talk to themselves a lot, some a little, and some not much at all.
On average we have about 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day. That’s about 50 per minute or almost 1 per second. That’s a lot, but what’s more interesting is that research shows many of these thoughts are the same. We tend to play re-runs in our minds over and over. TV programming surely has something to do with this human phenomenon we would bet.
Ruminating over and over on the same subjects keeps our feet stuck in the mud instead of letting go and moving on. Part of this is due to comfort. Our brains are addicted to being able to know what’s coming. Even stressful or scary thoughts can become comforting to us if we become accustomed to practicing them... It's weird but true.
This is also why we like listening to the same songs, have the same conversations, and go to the same places over and over. Our brains use our past experiences to calculate what’s coming and how things will go. This is a survival mechanism and understanding this will help shift us into thriving. <