How to overcome journaling resistance
Journaling is an ancient practice that is currently experiencing a modern-day renaissance. Google searches for the term 'journaling' reached an all-time high in December. Despite the growing popularity of journaling, some people still have resistance to putting pen to paper. We agree with Socrates, the unexamined life isn't worth living. The best way to examine one's life, he believed, was by asking oneself questions.
Our question to you is, why aren't you journaling? Here are a few of the objections we've heard to journaling in the past:
- "I don't have time to journal": While it's true that journaling does take some time and effort daily, it doesn't have to be a huge commitment. Even just a few minutes a day can be enough to reap the benefits of journaling. According to a study by Deloitte in 2020, the average time spent on smartphones in the UK was 3 hours and 15 minutes per day. Is all that time essential and productive? Journaling can be done at any time and anywhere, all you need is a pen, paper and some thoughts to put down.
- "I don't know what to write about": We understand that the blank canvas can be intimidating, especially when you've not reflected in this way before. However, journaling doesn't have to be about writing deep, philosophical musings. You can write about anything that's on your mind, whether it's your thoughts and feelings, your goals and aspirations, or your daily activities. There are plenty of prompts out there that will encourage you to ask the questions that will have a positive impact on you.
- "I'm not a good writer": Some people may feel like they're not good writers and that their journaling will be pointless as a result. However, journaling is for your own benefit and doesn't have to be perfect. You don't need to worry about grammar, spelling, or structure – just write whatever comes to mind. Can you think of something you did every day where you didn't improve over time?
- "I'm worried about privacy": Finally, some people may be concerned about the privacy of their journaling. This can create resistance to write your true thoughts and feelings on paper. If you're worried about your journal falling into the wrong hands, you can always keep it locked up or stored in a secure location, take it with you in your bag. Our personal approach is one of trust, if you have people you share your personal space with, let them know you’re journaling and that you want them to respect your privacy. It does help that our handwriting is almost illegible.
Overall, while there may be objections to journaling, the benefits can be significant. Journaling has been known to improve mental health, help with problem-solving and decision making, and increase self-awareness. To make journaling a daily habit, you can set aside a specific time each day to journal, or habit stack it into existing daily routines, place your daily supplements on top of it for example. Give it a try for a few weeks and see if you notice a difference.
Some simple prompts to get you started: In the morning ask yourself ‘Why am I smiling? Write down anything that comes to mind. In the evening, write down your highlight of the day. More generic questions for longer form reflection include:
- What am I trying to achieve with X?
- Does the amount of attention I'm giving X match its true importance?
- Does X fill me with energy or drain me?