Hello and welcome to Motivation and Mindset Mondays! Today, we’ll give you a simple guide to keeping a journal. Keeping a journal is a wonderful activity for your personal growth. It forces you to reflect on your life regularly. It becomes more obvious where your challenges lie when you have to put your experiences down on paper.
It can also serve as a great way to record your life and see how you’ve grown over the years. You might be surprised three years from now when you look back on today. And if you want to write a book about your life, you have a great record to refer to!
It can be tough to get started: what do you write about? Should you use a notebook, word processor or something fancy like a leather-bound journal?
These tips can help you get started:
1. Choose your medium.
It really doesn’t matter where you record your life; all have their advantages and disadvantages. Just choose something that works for you.
- Notebooks do tend to be a better choice. Many of us spend all day typing away on our computers. Journaling in a notebook gives you a chance to manually write something. It seems more sacred to write with our own hand. Computers can also be distracting; you might sit down to do your journaling and end up surfing the Internet.
2. Keep it short.
Of course, you can write as much as you want. But if you keep it short, you’ll be a lot more likely to do it regularly. Even just a few bullet points can be enough to capture the essence of what happened in your day.
3. Set a schedule.
If you use a notebook, keep it by your bed or the coffee pot; that way you won’t miss it. Set a reminder on your computer. It makes more sense to do it at the end of the day as you reflect on your day, but any time is better than never. Choose a time and stick to it.
4. Never miss more than one day.
Things come up, and it’s easy to miss a day here and there. If you miss more than one day in a row, you might wind up missing five days before you know it. Be consistent. It can be difficult to go back and fill in the blanks at a later date.
- If you do forget and skip a couple of days, rely on your records. You can look back at your calendar or planner and your emails to jog your memory about how the days were spent.
5. Track your progress toward your goals.
List the things that are most relevant to you at the time. For example, if you’re trying to lose weight, mention related victories, missteps, and your weight fluctuations. If you’re trying to earn an extra $1,000 this month, keep a running tally of your progress.
6. Keep your journal private and secure.
If you believe that someone else might see it, you might be hesitant to be completely open when writing in it. This is one area that computers really shine; with a decent password, it would take the CIA to get into your journal. A simple locked drawer can work well, too.
Before you know it, you’ll have a shelf full of your journal entries. Consider that writing just half of a page each day would be over 3,000 pages in 10 years!
Journaling is an excellent way to record your life and track your progress. Think about how interesting it would be to read your current entries 10 or even 50 years from now. You might even want to give your journals to your children someday. Begin your journal today. A life worth living is a life worth recording!
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I really wanted to talk about this topic today because I wanted to share some lifestyle-based strategies to improve your overall mindset and mental health, which in turn improves your life. You must do the internal work to improve your overall health. You can do this by learning what motivates you and working each day on improving your mindset. Your thoughts control your feelings, which controls your behavior. You can cultivate certain behaviors and practices that will not only enrich your life, but that you can pass on to your family, friends, and community, so that you can leave a legacy of health to your loved ones.
If you are familiar with my approach, I use lifestyle medicine as the first line of treatment, before medications, to treat lifestyle-related chronic diseases. Lifestyle-related chronic diseases include diabetes, hypertension, obesity, some cancers, just to name a few. Lifestyle modifications, such as stress reduction and mindfulness exercises, can help you feel better about yourself and your life. In certain cases, these approaches may even outperform pharmaceutical therapy. But I always tell my patients that conventional medications may be appropriate at this time to prevent catastrophic illness, but over time, you can work to make the necessary lifestyle changes to possibly reduce and/or eliminate medications. Please remember to always consult your physician for your particular needs and circumstances prior to making any decisions whatsoever.
Tools For Motivation And Mindset
Although you don’t need a cushion to meditate, you may want to consider using one at some point. You could meditate in a chair, or simply sit on the floor if you want. You can also use pillows or cushions from your furnishings to try out. Cushion, chair, bench, floor – it’s all good. Eventually, though, if you’re not sitting upright on a chair, you’ll probably do well to buy a dedicated meditation cushion. The cushion will support your sitting posture and help you create an appealing mindfulness corner that will encourage you to practice every day. I recommend this meditation cushion and mat bundle.
If you struggle with stress, depression, or anxiety, keeping a journal can be a great idea. Even if you don’t have these conditions, journaling can enhance your life in many ways. Having difficulty processing your thoughts and emotions? Journaling can help clear that mental clutter and move towards a positive mindset. Research suggests that keeping a journal can have positive impacts on both mental and physical health. So, to start you on your journey, I recommend this self care journal.
Remember, living a healthy lifestyle including eating a whole foods plant-based diet, regular physical activity, meditation and mindfulness, as well as healthy and supportive relationships are the best ways to support mental health. Please talk with your doctor about any complementary health approaches, including supplements, you use. Let me know what you think in the comment section below.
PS. I am always asked what tools and resources I recommend to help you reach YOUR health goals. Here is the ever-growing, always updated list for you.
PPS. If you or someone you know is experiencing severe stress, anxiety, depression and/or other mental health issues, please contact SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service) or TTY: 1-800-487-4889. This is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations. Callers can also order free publications and other information.
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