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Journal Writing: 5 Smart Reasons Why YOU Should Start doing it TODAY

Journal Writing: 5 Smart Reasons Why YOU Should Start doing it TODAY

Here’s the truth: your effectiveness at life is not what it could be. You’re missing out. Each day passes by and you have nothing to prove that it even happened. Did you do achieve something? Go on a date? Have an emotional breakthrough? Who knows? But what you do know is that you don’t want to make the same mistakes that you’ve made in the past. But you do make them… know why? Because you aren’t getting to the hidden lessons that life teaches you, and you can only get them through journal writing.

Stop missing out

Our lives are full of hidden gems of knowledge and insight, and the most recent events in our lives contain the most useful gems of all. Do you know why? It’s simple, those hidden lessons are the most up to date, meaning they have the largest impact on what we’re doing right now.

But the question is, how do you get those lessons? There’s a simple way to do it, and it doesn’t involve time machines.

Journal writing is the answer

What can best provide us with a means to understand our past, present, and future? What can document our struggles, wins, relationships, and lives; clear our minds and serve as a canvas to which we can spill our thoughts into. What can do all of this and more? The answer is journal writing.

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Does that sound good to you? Improved mental clarity, the ability to see our lives in the big picture, as well as serving as a piece of evidence cataloguing every success we’ve ever had; we are provided all of the above and more by doing some journal writing.

Why do you think they work?

Let me ask you a question: how can journal writing help you improve your life? Will it help you clarify your thoughts when you’re upset? Will it help you better assess whether or not you’re working towards your goals? Maybe it will help you determine whether or not you’re on the proper career path? I don’t know, you tell me…

Now, do you have your answer? Good, because you’re answer is correct. Do you know how I know this? Because there is no wrong answer. No matter what you’ve decided, a journal can help you with it. That’s how flexible and useful a tool a journal is: it can help shed light on achieving any possible goal out there.

Here’s 5 smart reasons why you should do journal writing:

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1. Journals help you have a better connection with your values, emotions, and goals

By journal writing about what you believe in, why you believe it, how you feel, and what your goals are, you better understand your relationships to those things. This is because you must sort through the mental clutter and provide details on why you do what you do and feel what you feel.

Consider this; perhaps you’ve spent the last year or so working at a job you don’t like. It would be easy to just suck it up and keep working with your head down, going on as if it’s supposed to be normal to not like your job. Nobody else is complaining so why should you, right? But a little journal writing will set things straight for you. You don’t like your job. You feel like its robbing you of happiness and satisfaction, and a future there doesn’t look any better. The other workers? Maybe they don’t know, maybe they don’t care. But you do, you both know and care enough to do something about it, and the only reason you’re capable of fixing this problem is because your journal writing allowed you to finally be honest with yourself about it.

2. Journals Improve mental clarity/help solve problems/improve overall focus

If there’s one thing journal writing is good for, it’s clearing the mental clutter. How does it work? Simply, whenever you have a problem and write about it in a journal, you transfer the problem from your head to the paper. This empties the mind, allowing allocation of precious resources to problem-solving rather than problem-storing.

For example, lets say you’ve been juggling several tasks at work. You’ve got data entry, testing, e-mails, problems with the boss, and so on—enough to overwhelm you—but as you start journal writing, things become clearer and easier to understand. Data entry can actually wait till Thursday; Bill kindly offered earlier to do my testing; E-mails I can do now; the boss is just upset because Becky called in sick, etc. You become better able to focus and reason your tasks out, and this is an indispensable and useful skill to have.

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3. Journals improve insight and understanding

As a positive consequence of improving your mental clarity, you become more open to insights you may have missed before. As you write your notes out, you’re essentially having a dialogue with yourself. This draws out insights that you would’ve missed otherwise; it’s almost as if two people are working together to better understand each other. This kind of insight is only available to the person who has taken the time to connect with and understand themselves in the form of writing.

Once you’ve gotten a few entries written down, new insights can be gleaned from reading over them. What themes do you see in your life? Do you keep switching goals halfway through? Are you constantly dating the same type of people who aren’t good for you? Have you slowly but surely pushed people out of your life for fear of being hurt? All of these questions can be answered by simply looking for the answers, but you can only look for them if you’ve captured them in writing. These questions are going to be tough to answer without a journal of your actions and experiences.

4. Journals track your overall development

Life happens, and it can happen fast. Sometimes we don’t take the time to stop and look around at what’s happening to us at each moment. We don’t get to see the step-by-step progress that we’re making in our own lives. So what happens? One day it’s the future, and you have no idea how you’ve gotten there.

Journal writing allows us to see how we’ve changed over time, so you can see where you did things right, and you can see where you took a misstep and fell. The great thing about journals is that you’ll know where that misstep was, and you can make sure it doesn’t happen again—all because you made sure to log it, allowing you to learn from your mistakes.

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5. Journals facilitate personal growth

The best thing about journal writing is that no matter what we end up writing about, it’s hard to not grow from it. We can’t just look at a past entry in which we acted shamefully and say “that was dumb, anyway” No, we say “I will never make a dumb choice like that again!” That’s the truth!

It’s impossible not to grow when it comes to journal writing. That’s what makes a journal such a powerful tool, whether it’s about achieving goals, becoming a better person, or just general personal-development. No matter what you use it for, you’ll eventually see yourself growing as a person.

Now it’s your turn

How can journaling best be of use to you? To vent your emotions? To help achieve your goals? To help clear your mind? What do you think makes journaling such a useful life skill?

Know the answer? Then it’s about time you reap the benefits of journal writing and start putting pen to paper.

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Ericson Ay Mires

Ericson is a writer who shares about work and productivity tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on May 17, 2019

This Is What Happens When You Move Out Of the Comfort Zone

This Is What Happens When You Move Out Of the Comfort Zone

The pursuit of worthwhile goals is a part of what makes life enjoyable. Being able to set a goal, then see yourself progress towards achieving that goal is an amazing feeling.

But do you know the biggest obstacle for most people trying to achieve their goals, the silent dream killer that stops people before they ever even get started? That obstacle is the comfort zone, and getting stuck there is bound to derail any efforts you make towards achieving the goals you’ve set for yourself.

If you want to achieve those goals, you’ll have to break free from your comfort zone. Let’s take a look at how your life will change once you build up the courage to leave your comfort zone.

What Is the Comfort Zone?

The comfort zone is defined as “a behavioural state within which a person operates in an anxiety-neutral condition, using a limited set of behaviours to deliver a steady level of performance.”

What stands out to me the most about that definition is the last part: “using a limited set of behaviours to deliver a steady level of performance.” How many successful people do you know who deliver a steady level of performance?

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The goal in life is to continually challenge yourself, and continually improve yourself. And in order to do that, you have move out of your comfort zone. But once you do, your life will start to change in ways you could never have imagined. I know because it’s happening right now in my own life.

Here’s what I’ve learned.

1. You will be scared

Leaving your comfort zone isn’t easy. In fact, in can be downright terrifying at times, and that’s okay. It’s perfectly normal to feel a little trepidation when you’re embarking on a journey that forces you to try new things.

So don’t freak out or get overwhelmed when you feel yourself getting a little scared. It’s perfectly normal and all part of the process. What’s important is that you don’t let that fear hold you back. You must continue to take action in the face of fear.

That’s what separates winners from losers.

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2. You will fail

Stepping out of your comfort zone means you’re moving into uncharted territory. You’re trying things that you’ve never tried before, and learning things you’ve never learned before.

That steep learning curve means you’re not going to get everything right the first time, and you will eventually fail when you move out of your comfort zone. But as long as the failures aren’t catastrophic, it can actually be a good thing to fail because …

3. You will learn

Failure is the best teacher. I’ve learned more from each one of my failures than I have from each one of my successes. When you fail small, and fail often, you rapidly increase the rate at which you learn new insights and skills. And that new knowledge, if applied correctly, will eventually lead to your success.

4. You will see yourself in a different way

Once you move out of your comfort zone, you immediately prove to yourself that you’re capable of achieving more than you thought was possible. And that will change the way you see yourself.

Moving forward, you’ll have more confidence in yourself whenever you step out of your comfort zone, and that increased confidence will make it more likely that you continue to step outside your comfort zone. And each time you do, you’ll prove to yourself again and again what you’re really capable of.

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5. Your peers will see you in a different way

Whether we want to admit or not, people judge other people. And right now, people view you in a certain way, and they have a certain idea of what you’re capable of. That’s because they’ve become accustomed to seeing you operate in your comfort zone.

But once you move out of your comfort zone, you’ll prove to other people, as well, that you’re capable of much more than you’ve shown in the past.

The increased confidence other people place in you will bring about more opportunities than ever before.

6. Your comfort zone will expand

The good thing about the comfort zone is that it’s flexible and malleable. With each action you take outside of your comfort zone, it expands. And once you master that new skill or action, it eventually becomes part of your comfort zone.

This is great news for you because it means that you can constantly increase and improve upon the behaviors that you’re comfortable with. And the more tools and skills you have at your disposal, the easier it will be to achieve your goals.

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7. You will increase your concentration and focus

When you’re living inside of your comfort zone, the bulk of your actions are habitual: automatic, subconscious, and requiring limited focus.

But once you move out of your comfort zone, you no longer rely on those habitual responses. You’re forced to concentrate and focus on the new action in a way you never do in your comfort zone.

8. You will develop new skills

Moving out of your comfort zone requires that you develop new skills. One of the many benefits you’ll experience is that you’ll be stepping away from the “limited set of behaviors” and start to develop your ability and expertise in new areas.

Living inside of your comfort zone only requires a limited skill set, and those skills won’t contribute much to your success. Once you can confidently step outside of your comfort zone and learn a new skill, there’s no limit to how much you can achieve.

9. You will achieve more than before

With everything that happens once you move out of your comfort zone, you’re naturally going to achieve more than ever before.

Your increased concentration and focus will help you develop new skills. Those new skills will change the way you see yourself, encouraging you to step even further out of your comfort zone.

Featured photo credit: Josef Grunig via farm3.staticflickr.com

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