The Surprising Payoff of Keeping A Journal


There’s an old saying – “If life is worth living, it’s worth recording,” and it’s a mantra for people who achieve great success. But why? What’s the point? What is the benefit of keeping a record of your daily activities and observations?

The first and most obvious answer, of course, is that our memories are rarely as good as we would like them to be, and a journal can often help us recall past events more clearly. The second and more important reason for keeping a journal, however, has to do with our internal processing of information. Think about what happens as you sit down to write. Think about the process you go through.

First, you reflect on the subject, and try to organize it in a logical sequence. You decide on the main points you want to include. You choose the adjectives and adverbs to make sure that the descriptions are appropriate. You think about every sentence before you actually put it down on paper (or keyboard). Then you write, re-read, re-write, tweak and refine until it’s close to what you were. This isn’t necessarily a formal process we go through – it’s just the way most people approach writing.

The very process of writing a journal helps us organize our thoughts and reflect on events. It gets us beyond our first impressions and forces us to think about the ‘whats’ and ‘whys’ of the world. It helps us articulate things, and gets us examining our own emotional responses to events. And, ultimately, the more time we spend thinking about anything, the better we understand it, and the clearer our world becomes.

There are many different ways to keep a journal. You can use a good old-fashioned diary, write things in your calendar each day, or keep a Blog. Even just Tweeting about your day can make a difference. Pick one that works for you and commit to it. You’ll be glad you did.

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