I’ve been journaling for years now, and it has been a very powerful habit that helped me to become a happier, more grateful human being, stay focused on my goals and get a calm, clear mind. I never would’ve thought I would enjoy journaling so much. In fact, I never knew it was ‘acceptable’ for guys to keep a journal until I started my journey in the self-development world about 5 years ago.
Nowadays, I’d say that you are quite a badass when you keep a journal, simply because it’s such a simple practice that has proven valuable benefits for your happiness, productivity and life in general. Therefore, in this article, I’ll specifically focus on 5 of the most powerful benefits that journaling provides when you do it as part of your morning routine.
Benefit 1: Start The Day On A Positive & Grateful Note
By journaling in the morning, you make sure you start the day on a positive and grateful note. Especially when you follow a simple gratitude practice like writing down three things that you are grateful for, you’ll notice that you’ll start the day a lot happier. Personally, I like to write down one thing that I’m grateful for about my own being (characteristics, looks and actions), one thing that I’m grateful for that someone else did and one thing that I can be grateful for that is as small and ordinary as possible.
Not only does this exercise work incredibly well in the moment, but it also trains you to actively look for (and remember) moments, people and experiences during the day that you can be grateful for. Over time, this practice will turn you into a happier, more positive person, as you become more focused on the positive things in life instead of only the negative.
“Without gratitude and appreciation for what you already have, you’ll never know true fulfillment.” — Tony Robbins
I’ve seen the powerful effect of having a gratitude journaling practice in the life of someone very close to me — my own mother. She used to be anxious, negative minded and she tended to lean towards depression. All of that literally changed over the course of a few weeks after adopting this daily routine, as she says so herself.
Benefit 2: Be Aligned With Your Intentions
Most people have goals for the future, or at least they have dreams for it. They envision what cool things they want to achieve in the future and how amazing their life is going to look like. Unfortunately, however, most people will never be able to turn those dreams into reality. The reason why is because they don’t live with intention. Their daily actions are not aligned with their higher goals and ambitions. Fortunately, journaling is one way to prevent this.
By including a goal-setting and -reviewing component in your journaling practice, you make sure that every single day you are aligned with your intentions. For example, by simply re-writing your bigger goals every single day, they’ll be present at the forefront of your mind again. This way, you stay focused on your goals and you activate your subconscious mind to look for new ideas, people and actions that will help you get closer towards the achievement of your goals.
Most people simply set goals and then completely forget about it a few weeks later. That’s because they visually don’t confront themselves with their goals anymore. You need to visually remind yourself of your goals by writing them down and reading them every single day. Not only will this lead to a highly motivated start of your day, but you’ll also make sure you start to act in alignment with your intentions.
Benefit 3: Improve Your Focus & Productivity
Besides re-writing your bigger goals in your journal, I also recommend including a daily goal-setting component in your practice. Each day, write down 1–3 goals that you want to achieve for that day.
What goal(s), if achieved, would help you get significantly closer towards achieving your bigger goals?
What goal(s), if achieved, would make you consider this day as a highly successful day?
Doing this practice makes sure that you don’t just wander around during the day. Instead, you create a focused plan of attack for your day that will make you a lot more productive compared to not setting these daily goals. Creating the clarity about what you’re going to achieve today is going to be a game-changer if you don’t already do this.
By doing this every single day over the past year, I’ve experienced that daily goal-setting is one of the keys to high productivity. Over the course of a few weeks and months, you’ll be amazed at how much you can get done when you consistently act in alignment with your bigger goals every single day.
That’s why I recommend you use a journal like The Self Journal (like I do), which helps you to stay on track with your goals and keeps your focused on your priorities – all while making sure you stay happy and grateful in the process too 🙂
Benefit 4: Get Out The Mental Clutter
By writing down my most dominant thoughts every single day, I find that a sense of peace and calm restores in my mind. Combine this with a 10-minute meditation practice in your morning and I guarantee that your mornings (and days) will transform from stressed to peaceful — and from negative to positive.
It kind of feels like therapy when I write down those thoughts that occupy my mind and take away my focus on what’s truly important. When I somehow let go of my journal practice for a few days, I immediately notice how much mental clutter forms in my mind.
When it comes to writing down your thoughts, some people like to write down every single word that comes up while others write more or less in keywords what’s on their mind. There’s no right or wrong here. Try it for yourself and see what works best.
Benefit 5: Free Up Your Mindspace For What’s Truly Important
Your mind shouldn’t be a storage place for ideas, but a generator for ideas. The more ideas you store in your head, the more cluttered it’ll become and the less working memory you have available to generate new ideas. Therefore, always store your ideas onto paper and write them down in your journal. Once you write them down, you can let go of them in your mind. This frees up valuable mind space that can now be used to generate new ideas, solve difficult problems and focus deeply on your most challenging and important tasks.
It’s amazing how much more focus I have when the mental clutter is gone and my ideas are captured onto paper instead of in my head.
Now Do It
Now that you know about these 5 powerful benefits of journaling as part of your morning routine, it’s time to take action! For your very next morning, write down three things that you’re grateful for, re-write your bigger goals, write down one to three goals that you want to achieve today and write down your thoughts and ideas. Try it for yourself and let me know how you’ve experienced it!
By the way, if you don’t have a journal yet, it doesn’t matter. For now, do your journaling practice on a blank piece of paper until you’ve bought a journal. If you are looking for the most comprehensive journal, I’d recommend you check out The Self Journal – which has templates for anything related to gratitude, goal-setting, capturing ideas and reviewing your day.
To Your Personal Growth,
Founder Personal Growth Lab