Keeping a journal could have a dramatic impact on your life. Many famous authors claim that nurturing this habit became an integral part of their success. Are you a writer looking to upgrade your skills?
Even if you’re not a writer, journals are excellent vehicles for developing self-awareness and responsible decision-making, which are both abilities related to social and emotional learning, or SEL. Developing social and emotional competencies is important, because these help us to navigate everyday situations in the most healthy and productive ways.
Now, if you’re curious about SEL, I’ve included a link to help you understand why it’s important in the resources section of this article. But first, here are two ways keeping a journal could dramatically improve your life.
Keeping a journal to include gratitude in your routine
Being thankful isn’t only for the holidays anymore. Scientists have conducted studies that relate gratitude to wellbeing. In one study, researchers found that participants who applied gratitude to their life tended to practice more self-care than other participants in the study who were not engaging in expressing gratitude.
More studies point to the benefits to people’s mental health, even reporting positive changes to the brain.
Do these findings make you want to set aside the time to write about what you’re grateful for today? You should try it!
However, rather than keeping a journal about how thankful you are for material things, try focusing your writing on the people or circumstances you appreciated in the previous 24 hours.
Oprah Winfrey is a great proponent of this practice because it makes you “more receptive to the goodness that comes to your life,” as she says in the video from her site I included above. She has also used her journals as a way to track changes in herself throughout the years.
Track your career progress by keeping a journal at work
Many professionals struggle with explaining what it is they do at work and how they stand out from other people in their fields. Now, on a day-to-day basis, this lack of professional self-awareness isn’t really something we need to worry about. However, when it comes time to begin a new job search, this is valuable information that can mean the difference between landing the interview or never hearing back from the recruiter.
Journaling your results from work will not only help you improve your writing skills. You’ll also have all the documentation necessary to craft your next winning resume or for when you hire a professional resume writer to do so for you!
When journaling at work (or at home about work), try responding to questions like: What did I do to help a colleague today? or How did I contribute to my team or clients today? The idea is to begin documenting specific ways in which you are adding value at work. These will become a part of the stories you can use to show potential employers why you’re their ideal candidate.
Resources to help you launch your journaling habit
There are countless resources online that can help you jumpstart your journaling habit.
- Pinterest is a great resource to find 30-day gratitude challenges or prompts for your gratitude journal.
- Career coach Andrew LaCivita has a great video where he talks about how you can use a journal to change your life and career by mindfully thinking through everything you do on an average day.
- You can learn more about why SEL is important for adults and how to keep a journal to better understand yourself from the Grow Kinder Podcast.
Thanks for reading! I encourage you to choose one of the journaling strategies I shared with you in this article. Then, see how you feel after putting it into practice it for a few weeks.
Please come back to let me know how it went for you in the comments!