1. It is a unique new hobby
Usually when I jump into a new hobby I am all-in. Jump in balls first. You kind of have to do that with a journal, because it forces you to look at yourself objectively. Next, try making a hobby a habit, do it for 21 days straight.
2. A way of thinking about what you are grateful for
One of the most basic journal entry prompts is to write down some things that you are grateful for. After a couple days it gets tough. You need to dig deep. I’ll give it a try. Some things I am grateful for that aren’t friends, family, health, etc.
-I am grateful for the app Evernote (seriously) because it makes it easier to journal.
-I am grateful for clean water.
-I am grateful for the ability to reach out to people that I miss, instantly.
3. Document your life
Don’t have a journal yet? I bet you do. We live in the best time for having a journal. On a very basic level, all social media is a journal that you have been building since you first signed up each account. With apps like Evernote, you can keep a conventional journal with writing but also with pictures. You can literally write the book of your life, with pictures to reference.
4. It can teach you to write
Since a journal is a personal manifesto or diary, it tends to be written in the writer’s own voice. I just started writing and wouldn’t dare call myself a writer. But keeping a journal has improved my writing. I think it’s because it taught me to write in my own voice. In other words, to write like I talk.
5. A tool to improve your memory
Actually, it’s better than memory. It’s the CLOUD. It’s ink. It’s FOR-EH-VER.
6. Remember that great idea you had? Yep, because you put it in your journal.
How many great business started as an idea on a cocktail napkin? It’s like that. Anything that can be something, write it down. James Altucher writes down ten ideas every single day. They can be about anything. It just keeps his ‘Idea Machine’ working.
7. It is meditative
It feels great to just get things off your mind sometimes. Just start writing down any thought that enters your mind. Don’t fight it. Just let your mind do its thing and do your best to record it.
8. It can help you face your fears
I started a journal to help with my anxiety. At first I was afraid to write about my fears. I only wrote about happy shit. As you get stronger and more confident you will find that you are able to open up. Which is strong. I fear death. And I fear that my writing will suck. I want you to like this. There you go. Suck it, fears!
9. Bucket list
Or any list. Books to read, places to visit, people you’ve sexed, etc.
10. Use your voice for good
Earlier I wrote a little about writing in your voice. Whether you decide to keep your journal private or to share it, this is your chance to use that voice. Basically, you’re Batman. You stay in the shadows until Gotham needs you. Then… WHACK! POW! KABOOM!
11. Let it out
Pissed at someone? Here is what to do. Punch them in the face. Kidding! Write a note/letter to that person. Let it all out. Like, really let them have it. Then fold it in half, rip it up and throw it away. Sounds silly but it works.
12. It can make you a better speaker
This is a little grim but I had to do the eulogy at my Grandma’s funeral. I believe that my speech was pretty good because of my writing. I wrote an essay and edited it like I would a journal or article. In turn, that made me confident in what I was going to say. Hopefully I will get to test this theory again under different and happier circumstances. Love and miss you, Gram.
13. It’s always accessible
I love the Google commercial where the family creates a Gmail account for their baby. They document his life and upload it all to that account. How cool of a gift will that be when the kid is old enough to appreciate it? My point is that if you think of something or have a memory that you want to document, email it to yourself. Not fancy enough? You can use Evernote or buy one of these cool pocket journals from wordnotebooks.com. They are functional and they look cool too. Million dollar ideas not included.
Obviously this is a basic function of a journal but maybe somehow slightly overlooked. Write about your day and how things made you feel. Cuss, gossip, boast or mourn. Whatever you feel. It’s yours.
15. Alone time
I am super anxious and a bit of a loner. When I need to get away I take a trip into my journal. I just start writing about my day, what’s bothering me or just a bunch of randomness. I always feel better when I’m done.
16. Measure Growth
For those new to keeping a journal, I would recommend finding a 21 or 30 day habit forming program with prompts. I did this one. It’s cool because you can see how much you have grown in that short time. I have only been doing it since May and it blows my mind how much my life has changed in only nine months. Seriously, it’s crazy. I can only imagine what it will look like years from now. Pretty, pretty awesome.