Now earlier I wrote about how journaling can help but now I want to talk about a specific type or writing. It’s starting a journal for the sake of reflection and personal growth. Sounds a bit “new agey” I know. So let’s avoid the cliches and get down to business.
Many of us make simple decisions every day that don’t take much thought or effort, most of the time. Such as what socks we wear, where we get gas, or which road to take to work. But some decisions are much harder and take more time.
Our choices can affect is with “rewards” and “consequences”. I used quotations because life is a lot more complex then just good events and bad events but for simplicity I’m using those terms. But choices aren’t the only things that affect us. Our habits, our lifestyle and our thoughts are more inward that outward.
We have to start with what’s going on inside if we want to make any outward changes. Most of us aren’t going to lose 30 pounds in one day and most of us aren’t going to like eating healthy in one day. Those types of decision changes have to come from inward motivation and discipline.
So what does that have to do with journaling? That motivation has to come from somewhere. And no one is going to make any changes if they don’t see a problem. And frankly everyone could be better, nicer, more fit, and more mentally strong. Journaling is for you. You track your goals, your habits and the changes you want to make. And it’s an easy way to track your progress. For instance in 2017 I was terrible at taking helpful and needful risks but I’ve improved since then. I’ve asked for a raise and received one because I took a risk that the me 2 years ago would never have taken.
So where do you start? First pick up a journal. If your plain Jane then grab a simple lined notebook or open up word prccesor and type. If you like to be creative maybe a bullet journal is more your thing.
You can start by writing a letter( that you don’t send) to some that hurt you or someone you wronged. Or just writing a letter to anyone, your future self/ your past self, your parents, someone who died.
Time your entries. Just a quick way to write thoughts and feelings without over thinking.
Prompts, you can find some on Pinterest and I’ll write some down at the end of this post. These are just open ended questions meant for self reflection and analysis.
You could write about dreams you had at night.
Also if you have a counseling you. Would start a journal about your sessions. How comfortable you are, things your therapist suggested. How your sessions went and any questions you’d like to ask.
Here are a few question prompts that might be useful to you.
- What thoughts keep you up at night?
- What’s some of the first things you think about in the morning?
- When stressed what do you tend to do?
- Do these strategies work?
- Are these strategies healthy?
- Name 5 things that make you happy(anything whether big or small)
- List at least 3 things that you’re proud of yourself for
- List only 3 things you would like to improve about yourself(physical or not)
- What would be helpful to hear someone tell you right now?
- Where do you feel most safe? Most yourself?
- Describe a future self you’d be proud of.
- How different are you and your future self
- How does that difference make you feel? What thoughts does it invoke?
I’m an aspiring cognitive therapist that currently works as a child care provider.