Unlike a few people I have seen try this challenge of journaling every day for a month, I had never tried writing in a diary or anything before. Journaling was a totally new experience for me and the process of writing morning pages every day was quite strange.
I found it quite easy in the first week to sit down every morning and write three pages of stream-of-consciousness. This is what’s called ‘morning pages’ and I found that the best way to use my journal.
In the second week I found myself forgetting to write in my journal so I either wrote my morning pages later in the day or I completely forgot! I only missed one day in the second week. I think it was because I had not made it a habit yet, so it was easy to forget. My morning routine did not include ten-twenty minutes for journaling, so I endeavoured to make time for it.
This lead me to looking up habit trackers. I created a simple, minimalist habit tracker which I kept open on my desk every day so I would notice that I had or hadn’t done something that day. This helped me to keep track of my journaling in the third and fourth weeks of the challenge.
I would say that journaling is definitely something I had to force myself to do sometimes. I was not always in the mood for reflection or any kind of writing, however once I started it almost always felt like a relief. Even if I felt fine, my mental health in a good place and my day-to-day life manageable, it felt like I was taking a weight off my shoulders. It felt similar to talking to a therapist for an hour about random stuff that isn’t necessarily bothering you, but you still walk out feeling better for some reason.
Having said that, in the fourth week of journaling, I missed two days of morning pages because I either forgot or I couldn’t bring myself to sit and write. I’ve been busy with uni work – there are deadlines around the corner and sometimes I just needed to get on with that work. I know now, however, that writing morning pages actually helps focus my mind, so if I sit and write in my journal for twenty minutes in the morning, my work is often better off for it. It’s not a long time, and if I am ever worried about the time, I can always start writing twenty minutes before I usually would. Making time for the things that matter is important – that’s certainly the most important lesson I am taking away from this experience.
Will I continue to journal now that the challenge is over? Well, technically the challenge was completed almost a week ago and I have been journaling every day since then, so I hope I will carry on as I am. I have found it to be strangely positive for both my productivity and my mental health. I would recommend it to anyone at all.
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