Yep, it’s that time of the year again—when you decide you have to get your life together and start doing something great. And while it has become somewhat of a cliché (New Year’s resolutions always becoming more like a first-week-of-January resolutions), it is always good to start making some good changes, no matter what time of the year it is. Journaling has been part of my life for years, but I was never very consistent until my first year of college. And since then, I’ve never looked back.
But why is journaling important?
I know there are many scientific reasons supporting journaling, and there are even health benefits to writing things down, but I just want to mention the reasons why it has become such an important part of my life.
1. I’ll never forget what I’ve done.
Especially in college, there is so much going on every single day. Of course, I’ll remember a lot when I look back—my closest friends, that class I hated going to, how bad the food was in the cafeteria—but will I also remember that one time we sat around the lunch table for hours with our friends Victor and Xavier and made anti-jokes? Will I remember crying in my girl Cate’s room at 3 am after a rough day with 60 note cards to get done by the next morning? Will I remember that catch phrase Dr. Williams always said in Greek? Those are the things that I want to remember. The little everyday things. That’s what makes college what it is.
2. It helps me process.
I’ll write down things I’m struggling with, problems I’m trying to solve, things I’ve been thinking a lot about. Writing really helps me process everything that happened during the day, and I can go to bed feeling less stressed. Also, writing out my thoughts and feelings sorts through the jumble in my head, and makes me give a name to whatever is going on. It’s very therapeutic.
3. It improves my writing and communication skills.
This is a no-brainer. The more you write, the better you will be, and, as a writer, that’s definitely something I want. Writing so much always makes me more aware of grammar rules I’m not sure about, causing me to look them up (I’m a nerd, I know…). And, as I mentioned in the last point, writing everything down forces me to organize my thoughts into logical sentences. I learn to be more concise and to-the-point.
4. It becomes a routine that puts me in the right mindset.
I always journal right before I go to bed; it has become a routine. I’ll get in my pajamas, turn off the overhead light,turn on my string lights, climb into bed, and start writing about my day. It prepares me for sleep, and I get all my problems and things I’ve stressed about onto paper (or computer or whatever). I’m clearing my mind, and getting ready to not think for a while. It’s my favorite daily routine.
5. It’s amazing to read back.
This is my favorite part. I’m very sentimental, so I love to look back at where I was and how far I’ve come. Sometimes I’ll pull out my old journals and spend way too much time reading them. I laugh a lot when I do; I love to remember funny little things that happened with friends and family. And when I read about the hard times, I can be grateful for getting through that and marvel at where I am now. Either way, it’s exciting to see my life written out. I won’t forget all the memories that shaped me into who I am now.
Journaling isn’t easy. It definitely takes time. It takes motivation. There are plenty of nights when I get in late and just want to sleep. Sometimes I have to “make up” a day. But the results are so beautiful, I don’t want to give it up just because I don’t feel like writing.
I hope this encouraged you to consider journaling in 2017. I promise you, it’s worth it. For my next post, I’ll write about the different types of journaling I’ve tried and my experiences with them. I hope you have a happy new year!
What do you think? Have you kept a journal before? What have you learned from journaling? I’d love to hear your thoughts!