NOTE: From time to time, I turn to you (yes, all of you) when I have no idea about what to write on this blog. Feel free to drop an email or DM me on Instagram if you have any ideas/questions for the blog! This post is to answer a question from @gendutsantiago
Q: How to be consistent with journaling?
A: I think the first step would be to answer these 2 questions:
- Why do you think you need to journal?
- Why do you think you need to be consistent with it?
I actually keep several ‘journals’ and I journal in them for different reasons.
MY JOURNALS & WHAT I USE THEM FOR
I have a private journal that serves as a diary, to write down my deepest thoughts and feelings whenever I feel the need to unload those things from my chest (or my brain).
I also have a decorated journal which I adorned with stickers, stamps, and collages–the one I shared online via my Instagram or YouTube channel. I work on this journal whenever I feel the need to wind down by doing something creative with my hands.
I have my messy ‘work journal‘ that mimics the functionality of a bullet journal, and I have it next to me whenever I am working. It’s my go-to journal to track the progress, to-dos, payments, and other stuff related to the clients I’m working with or the personal projects I’m working on. It also serves as a medium for me to think ‘on-paper’ about other work-related stuff, like generating ideas for communications training, drawing an outline of a proposal (or a new book), recording meeting results, or planning my moves for the next 3 months.
A journal I updated on a daily basis is my daily highlight journal.
It simply records what I do on a particular day: waking up (at what time), how do I feel upon waking up, where do I go, what am I working on, who do I meet, what do I buy (if any), what do I have for lunch and dinner, what book I am reading, what time I go to sleep. Just mundane things that I summarize in 1-2 word(s)/line(s): Wake up late. Coffee. Silent time. Re-read The Four Agreements. Shower. Editing works. Reorganize my drawer.
Sure, sometimes there are big things: like being proposed, signing a new project, or traveling to someplace nice; but on most days, just simple things.
I have been writing in this journal since the middle of last year, and I am enjoying it so much! As I am working on this journal, I can review how my day goes (do I like it? do I need to do something else tomorrow?) and as I am flipping back through my previous days, I can see how each day is actually unique.
I guess we tend to compress our weeks, months, or years into a few ‘big’ moments, life-changing experiences, or amazing encounters. But recording my days on a daily basis helps me to cherish and remember each day as its own. The practice also allows me to be mindful of how my day unfolds.
MY THOUGHTS ON ‘BEING CONSISTENT’
I think if we understand why we do certain things and can see the value they bring into our lives, we’ll find more reasons (and motivations) to be consistent.
Sure, we can force ourselves to be consistent and be disciplined about keeping up with our practice (like journaling, for instance), but what’s the point of doing so if we don’t gain any benefit from that practice? However, if we can feel the benefit of any practice, we have all the reasons to be consistent with it, because we can feel its positive impact on our lives.
With that being said, I also need to let you know that I think, ‘being consistent’ is not equal to ‘doing things on a daily basis’.
Sometimes I missed updating my daily highlight journal when I’m traveling or on a road trip, but I immediately record those 2 or 3 days I have skipped when I have the time. Thus I can always catch up. I work on my other journals only when I feel the need or the urge to do so. Sometimes I fill them up every day for a month, and some other times I do not touch them for a week, a month, 2 months.
But it doesn’t matter, because I know I’ll come back to them when I need them.
THE PRACTICE OF JOURNALING FEEDS MY SOUL
It helps me to let things go (and let some things in), to detach myself from my noisy and chaotic monkey mind, to reflect on my life, to remember the things I thought I have forgotten, to discover something new about myself, to record my fleeting thoughts and feelings (and mood swings), to spark my creativity, to have fun.
Thus, I am still coming back to my journaling practice whenever I feel the calling to do it.
Do you think this counts as ‘being consistent’?