My notes on daily journaling/morning pages

journaling

This year, I’ve started to write in my journal every morning, or what some folks call doing their “morning pages.”

I’ve read for years about the benefits of this practice, and as an (amateur) historian, I have observed countless subjects of history that kept a journal or diary, which was ultimately the basis for their own history/biography. (Maybe people today “write” about their life by posting to social media. Well, I prefer the old school method)…

But unlike John Adams, no one will give a damn about my journal. And that’s actually quite the beauty of it.

Here forthwith are some of my (ever-evolving) notes about the how-tos and the benefits of a daily discipline to writing in a journal / doing your morning pages:

– Journaling is a way to jot down the things you are grateful for. Of course, the true value of this exercise is to go back and review these when you are feeling low, for it does remind you of the good stuff in your life!

– Although I don’t really use journaling for this purpose, it is a good place to track things you are measuring, such as your weight…

– We all wake up each morning with things that are bothering us, such as frustration about a hard project you are procrastinating on, or tension in a personal or business relationship. Journaling is best when you start the day and write about those troubles in your journal, letting the frustrations pour out of you into your journal. The result? The process clears your mind from your worries, freeing up your mind to focus on to the deep work you need to do that day.

– Stream of consciousness is important here. Just let it flow. There are no rules and no one is likely to ever read one word of it…

– For me, I really have no interest in going back to review my journal. So, everything changed for me with regards to journaling when I got permission that I don’t have to go back and read. In other words, journaling becomes a daily process to clear my mind of troubling and confusing thoughts. That alone is the value to me. I don’t need to go back and review. The daily discipline of writing is the true power. Very rarely do I go back and read any past writing…

– Now, that said, you are perfectly allowed to go back and review past entries if you determine there is value in that for you. Can be good to go back and see the progression of how you worked through a problem, sure. And certainly good to review everything you’ve been grateful for.

– For years, I used social media to complain about, well, virtually everything. I’ll admit it felt good to vent frustrations, along with a secret desire that the target of my frustrations would see my rant. But as I matured, I realized how banal and childish this practice was. So, I stopped. And frankly, I’ve stopped paying attention to ANYONE who complains all of the time. It may seem obvious, but journaling is a wonderful place to air your grievances, for I learned that simply getting them off your chest is the true power, and journaling is a great discipline for this practice.

There are no rules here. What I’ve listed above works for ME. You mileage will vary. And with time and practice, you’ll discover news ways to leverage your daily discipline of journaling. In fact, you might expect me to occasionally update this post as my practice evolves over time.

– With that in mind, I’m personally NOT in favor of those pre-made journals that guide you on things to write and think about. Nothing wrong with this idea really, in that guided journaling is like guided meditation, if it gets you into some sort of practice, that’s a great thing! But I like the blank page, which gives me the freedom to do whatever I want with it.

– I’ve heard that some people journal by tapping into their iPhone. Well, if you ask me, this process has to be a handwritten one. Just makes what you write more impactful, even if to yourself. For me, this is also a slow-things-down, “grounding myself” process. And using my iPhone? Um, no. Again, no rules, but…