Challenge #3: Write down in your journal WHY journaling is important to you.
Journaling, like any habit, will not last long unless you can create the intrinsic motivation to follow through and actually do it.
Think about all the people who make a New Year’s resolution to join the gym and get in shape. For the first couple weeks, the gym is packed with people who are excited about their new “habit.” They are motivated to make positive life changes and they honestly intend to give whatever level of effort is required in order to achieve their fitness goals.
But around week 3, a funny thing happens – people stop showing up.
Were all those people who decided the extra hour of sleep was more important than getting in their run before work fakers? Did they have change of heart regarding the benefits of exercise? Did they suffer some career-ending injury?
I would wager that if you asked most of the people who stopped going to gym if they still intended to achieve their fitness goals, they’d say “yes.” But the reason they don’t follow through is because they’ve lost sight of their why.
When it comes to journaling, there are many good reasons why you should journal:
- It helps you “re-center” and keep focused on what’s important. The simple process of actually writing down what you did well (and didn’t do well) helps you identify which tasks and projects are worthwhile for you to pursue and which ones are not worthy of your time. Journaling is a unique opportunity to align your day-to-day tasks with your longer-term vision and goals.
- It helps you keep track of what you’re doing. Journaling tells you in a very real, everyday way what you’ve done, and what you haven’t, and what you’re working on.
- It provides a written record of your progress. Journaling makes it very easy to see the progress you’re making.
- It provides a recorded memory of what has happened to you. By writing things down, you have a record of what has happened to you, daily. This is especially great if you have a leaky brain (bad memory) and tend to forget things.
- It calls you out on self-delusion. Nothing points out faster that you’re stalling progress or continuously putting something off than a set of consecutive journal entries that read “I didn’t get around to it”. It, along with time tracking, also answers the all-important question of if you’re spending time on the things that matter.
- It makes your weekly and monthly reviews that much easier to write. Journaling allows you to know exactly what you did (or didn’t), and when.
Whichever of these reasons strikes you, attach yourself to it. Without a why, your rituals and habits won’t stick. Your why for journaling can be anything, but you do need a reason and you need to keep it fresh – otherwise you’ll end up like one of those people with good intentions who just can’t seem to follow-through and accomplish their goals.
Ask yourself “why do I want to journal?” Find your “why” and write it down. Write it in your journal if you have a physical journal or create a new note in your digital journal.
Update: Challenge #4 is now available.