How To Write A Journal For Personal Development
One of the best things
you can do to work on your personal development is to start writing in a journal.
Of the many crazy things I've started doing over the years, I'm truly glad this is one thing I stuck with...
That's a picture of my journal that I started in March 2007. Since then, I've filled this little black book with some incredibly valuable information. This journal only cost me about $7, but if I had to pay for the information that's in it now, I would pay a whole heck of a lot more! In fact, my journal is so valuable to me, it would be the third thing I would grab if my house ever caught on fire, behind my wife and my laptop!
What makes my journal so darn valuable to me?...
What I Keep In My Journal
My journal is broken up into basically three different sections. The first (and largest) section is where I keep all of my personal development book notes.
Throughout whatever book I'm reading, I'll find a good point that the author mentioned or a truly "ah-ha" moment. Whenever I do, I write that line into my journal. If it's really good, I'll write the entire paragraph.
Whenever I'm finished with a book, I will usually have anywhere from one to six pages of important stuff written down, depending on how good the book was. With Think
And Grow Rich, I had six pages of great stuff. With Simpleology (my least favorite personal development book ever), I wrote down the book title and the date I started reading and that was it!
What I find by making these book notes is that I don't have to go back later and re-read books. If I want a summary of all of the great points mentioned, I'll just read what I wrote down in my journal. This is a huge time saver!
I also occasionally go through and read my entire journal. After all, this is a collection of all of the books I've read. Every time I go through it I'm amazed by how many great ideas I'd forgotten about.
I think one day I may get to the point where I'll spend more time reading my journal(s) than I will reading new books.
In addition to book notes, I also have a few other sections in my journal...
Since I carry my journal with me almost everywhere I go, I never know when a great idea might hit me. Whether it be for a new page to write, a product that might be worth creating, or any other idea that I might find useful. Whenever a great idea comes along, I want to write it down immediately. Otherwise, I'll likely forget it and never do anything about it.
That's why I have a section in my journal for ideas. It's basically a huge list that keeps growing as new things pop up into my head. If I follow through on an idea, I will mark a line through it. Otherwise, I'll leave it there for a time when I'm looking for my next most important tasks.
Finally, a third section in my journal is for my lifetime goals. I've covered the details of lifetime goals in my article How To Make A List That Will Change Your Life.
Basically, it's a huge list of everything that I want to accomplish in my lifetime. It's been said that the simple act of writing everything you want to accomplish in your life down on paper has a dramatic impact on whether or not you accomplish those things in your lifetime.
I've already knocked off a few items on my list. My advice to you is to create this list right now. It's a lot of fun thinking about all sorts of great things you want to accomplish, places you want to go, people you want to meet.
The one and only rule when making this life, the sky is the limit! Don't think, "Oh, I'll never be able to accomplish that." If you really want it, write it down. Period.
The Unknown Value Of A Journal
I mentioned earlier how important my journal is to me. But what is it exactly that makes it so valuable? And why should you really consider starting a journal of your own?
For me, my journal is a reflection of how far I've come. I think back to the time before my first journal was started and I'm amazed at how little I knew. I've learned so much since then that I feel like I'm a completely different person.
Also, no matter how inspired you get at the time of reading a great book, "father time" has a way of having us forget. By keeping a journal of all of the great ideas, you'll be able to re-remember what you learned, without having to go through every book you've read over and over again.
Finally, I should mention that my journals are private. If I see someone peeking, I tackle them.
My long term intentions for my journals are to give them to my future grandchildren. After all, the best thing you can give anybody is love and knowledge. I want my grandchildren to be blessed in that they can pick up right where I left off and learn everything that I did in my lifetime.
Just reading a couple hundred pages of my journal is like learning two years of study in a matter of hours.
A journal is the best way possible to reflect and share what you've learned. Whether it be for yourself or loved ones. It's something I know I'll be really grateful that I did when my time comes to exit this Earth.
Make Your Journal Your Own
There are an abundance of questions you may have about starting your journal. These questions often prevent many people from ever getting started. Examples of questions are...
- Should the pages have lines or be blank?
- Should the pages be numbered?
- How many pages should the journal have?
- How should I broke up the sections? What if I don't want to have sections?
- Should I use different colored ink for different things?
The list can go on and on. With each question, I have the same answer...
It's entirely up to you!
My journal is about 400 pages, lined, numbered, and sections are broken into sections by paperclips. I use black pen on all of the pages. But that's just me.
Nothing is preventing you from cutting out pictures or writing in pink pen or making it as sloppy as possible. Whatever you want to do, go ahead and do it!
Don't fear the cost of a journal. If your intention is to keep your journal for a lifetime, it doesn't make sense to buy a really cheap one that isn't going to last a year. If a really quality journal costs $30, then pay $30!
I Challenge You
The hardest thing we humans have trouble with is getting started. So here is my challenge to you...
Within the next 24 hours, purchase a journal. Every big retailer has them, so find the best one that you're willing to pay for.
Next, on the first page in your journal, write a short 1-2 paragraphs of why you bought the journal and what you plan on doing with it.
Finally, grab a personal development book and get writing! Capture all of those great ideas that you find when you are reading. Keep reading book after book and capture the great ideas along the way.
You absolutely won't believe how much you will get done in a matter of 6-12 months. Your whole life will begin to change. You'll be growing momentum in ways that will take you to places you never imagined.
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