All problems reside in your mind. No sooner do you write them down on paper than most of them dissolve. – Sirshree
Much has been written about the benefits of writing a journal and why one should write a journal. A lot of people maintain a diary, and we can of course draw inspiration from the musings of famous writers about keeping a diary.
I never really kept a journal or wrote in a diary. I always feel that one should write when the feeling comes upon them – and carrying around a physical diary and a pen seemed onerous. I realized that if I were to do so, it would have to be electronic – and always available – so I could access it and jot my thoughts. To me – this necessitated this being a very electronic activity. One that I could accomplish predominantly using my mobile phone (an iPhone) and occasionally using my laptop. So I looked up journaling apps and the one that really caught my fancy was DayOne.
A couple of months ago, the DayOne app went free as part of the iTunes free app of the week program and I jumped on that opportunity to download the app.
Since then I have been using the app. Sporadically at best, but nonetheless something that I did from time to time. I have only recently started getting more regular about it. One of the things that has helped me get regular at it has been the Lift app – which helps form habits. I use Lift to help me develop habits – from exercising to meditation to – now – journaling.
I started by simply using the tool to quickly jot down the activities or events for the day. Occasionally I took a picture that I could embed in my journal. But nothing deep – nothing that documented my thoughts or feelings about anything.
Recently however, I am using the tool a bit differently. I am using it to document my thoughts – shallow or deep – and my feelings about things. Since I keep my journal private, I am allowing myself the liberty of documenting strengths, weaknesses, gratitude, frustrations and fears. To embrace vulnerability. As I write my thoughts – and especially my fears and frustrations – I try to be reflective of what I should be doing, or could be doing to address them. How I could be a better person. If nothing else, it brings these thoughts to the fore and documents them for future reference. And hopefully, by documenting my fears and frustrations, I will have taken the first step towards actually overcoming them. By writing about my hopes and appreciation, I will have put in motion an amplifying effect that allows me to achieve more, feel more, become better.
Since the DayOne app lets me, I do assign tags to each entry – and where possible I attach pictures. I find that it helps keep the journal interesting. And I think it would be a blast to revisit the journal a few years from now and see those things that I was thinking of or doing in a visual timeline. The app also logs my location – and this is useful since I can write about my travels, and have the tool take care of the physical location tags. The app is also great because it also tags what music I am listening to when I am writing in my journal (something I only found out recently), the current weather and temperature as well as any activity I may be undertaking at the time (hiking, walking, etc). The beauty of it is that it logs a lot of this information for me – so I don’t have to. And I think it will create a log that is the richer for it.
I am now using Life Journal – a beautiful and intuitive journaling / electronic diary application for Windows that can also act as a desktop PC front end for Day One.
I hope to make this into a lifelong habit – and will write more as my habit matures, and the things that I journal about change over time. I would love to hear if you journal, what you write about – and how has it helped you.