130. This is the # of consecutive days I have been writing in my journal. I know this because every night I write the number on top of the page and circle it. It serves as a great reminder of my consistency and how far I have come. There is a reason why I committed to this habit in 2021. Journaling has many benefits. I am going to share 5 with you that I have found.
One is that allows for reflection. “We do not learn from experience... we learn from reflecting on experience.” ― John Dewey. I love having the time at the end of the day to think about what went well and perhaps what didn't go the way I wanted. I do a simple bullet-journaling technique that is quick and easy. It doesn't have to be fancy to give you an opportunity to reflect. It's carving out the time to muse over the day. I like to bias it toward the positive and what I did to contribute to the day's outcomes so I'm not ruminating on the negative before I fall asleep. The goal is to identify specifically what I did that contributed to the outcomes I am proud of.
It builds great self-awareness that you can revisit in the future. This context is valuable if you want to grow. If things aren't going well you can flip back into your journal and identify what you were doing when things were going well. When you had those epic days, what were you specifically doing to cause them. What actions were you taking that contributed to your success? How does it compare to the actions you are taking now? You can look at what changed in your situation to identify what you may need to change in terms of your approach to get the outcomes you desire
Self-efficacy is the belief that you have the ability to bring about change in your life. You know that what you do matters. Documenting what went well and what you specifically did to cause it, demonstrates the impact of your actions. Now you have it written out on the page. Day after day after day you have documented the skills you have used to get the results you want. You can see the cause and effect relationship in the present and tap into that to have future success.
Documenting your daily events contributes to raising emotional intelligence. Journaling your day is a great way to step outside and view your situation from the perspective of an observer. Distancing yourself from the immediate raw emotion can provide a different context that may give you some new insights. It is tough to think clearly when you are in the moment and full of deep feelings. Writing out what happened is a great way to release your emotions on the page, acknowledge their existence, and validate their worth.
Sitting down at the end of the day gives you time think about what you want to work on the next day. What outcomes do you want? Are they similar or different from the current day? Project your learning from the present into the future during your journaling. Perhaps you have something you want to improve tomorrow. Identify what actions you want to focus on to level up your performance. Identify the actions that worked for you today and plan to make it happen tomorrow.
As with any habit, make sure you are making it easy, fun, obvious, and rewarding. If you want to do this consistently every day to reap the benefit, make sure it is realistic. I take 2 - 5 minutes. Some days I write a lot more than others. It is a simple bullet journal, nothing fancy. If you want to learn and grow from your experiences, don't pass through them nonchalantly without time for reflection each day.