Have you ever kept a journal? Do you keep one now?
Most of the women I've chatted with say they've journaled on and off through their lives- more off than on - dependent on how busy they are or what's happening in their lives. I'd guess this is a pretty common thing. We all keep so busy most of the time and things like taking time to ourselves are the first things to go.
Even if journaling is something you can't sustain every day of your life (I certainly can't), look at it as a primary tool during times of growth or change in your life. Even if you're busy. Even if you're not sure what you have to say. If you're changing jobs or careers, in a new relationship or newly out of a relationship, moving to a new city, working hard to lose weight, or if you're feeling stuck and trying to figure out what your next steps in life might be, journaling will allow you to hear your own voice more clearly. Or if you're not going through a change but are open to some self-exploration and possible creating a change, journaling is one way to do it.
Try this little exercise: sit down at a blank page with no agenda at all and just start writing. You might start out with things like, "today I have to grocery shop unless I want to eat granola cereal with no milk for the rest of the week. I need to get to yoga class... Oh I hope that check comes in the mail on time..." but once that noise is our of the way you'll likely segue into things like, "I wish my boyfriend would talk to me about what's bothering him...I miss seeing my friend who hasn't had time for me lately... I'm really enjoying this project at work and wondering if that could take over a bigger part of my duties..." Write for 10 minutes.
You'll start to hear yourself.
In Julia Cameron's study The Artist's Way, one of the tasks through her twelve-week program is to write three pages of anything every day. You're not allowed to look back at your pages until the end of the course, at which point you've had some distance from those words and feelings and you've evolved some (or a lot) through what you've learned in the course. Suddenly you see yourself in a new way. She calls these "morning pages."
I'm going to challenge you to something similar. Here are the requirements:
1. Set your own start date, and you're going to do this for 30 days.
2. Set the time of day that you're going to write but you must commit to it as if it were an important meeting that you would be horrified to have to reschedule. Morning is great because your thoughts are fresh and then you're finished with the task for the day, but you choose.
3. Write for at least 10 minutes. More? Sure! But at least 10.
4. If you want some thought joggers, I'll post a question every day starting today for 30 days on my twitter account with the hashtag #journaljogger. If you're not on twitter, you can still follow along with the 30 questions by bookmarkting this link.
5. If and when you want to read your pages back, wait at least until halfway through the 30 days to read the first half, and then the end to read the second half. Give yourself some distance before looking back. Halfway through might give you an idea of how much you've already accomplished and make the following 15 days even stronger. Or you can choose not to read them at all.
6. Be honest with yourself. Write like no one is reading because they shouldn't be. This is a safe space. Don't talk about how happy you are in a relationship or at work or in life if you maybe aren't so happy with certain things. Of course, you can celebrate the good stuff in these pages too. Just be sincere.
Ok, that's it. I'll start by posting the first #journaljogger today but join in anytime. This project will take you into the new year, and possibly even inspire some great things for you in 2014!
Is journaling a part of your routine? Will you be joining the challenge? Tell us in the comments below!