Back on Track

railway tracks

Journaling is a practice. Just like any other practice or routine, it’s easy to fall off track. It’s much harder to get back on track. This past weekend I went to see my son at college. There wasn’t a lot of downtime and so I didn’t post for three days. I didn’t even journal for myself until late Sunday night. I felt badly, but instead of making myself feel guilty and not enjoy time with my son, I let it go.

Keeping a journal shouldn’t be a chore. When we overcomplicate the process or create expectations that are impossible to fulfill, we set ourselves up for disappointment. I love journaling because I feel better during and after I write. It simplifies what my priorities are and helps me connect the dots of my chaotic life. It confirms when I’m on my path and when I have ventured off. So imagine how I feel when I have not only ventured off my path and jumped track at the same time!

If you have fallen off the journaling track or haven’t even started, here are some tips to get you moving in the right direction:

  1. Schedule journal writing into your calendar. Decide how often you want to journal: once a week, every other day, or every day. It’s a guideline, you can journal as often as you like. You can choose a particular time each day. Perhaps in the morning so you can write down your dreams or set your intention for the day. Or in the evening if you like to write about your day and what you accomplished.
  2. Write for at least 10 minutes. You are building your journaling muscle just like when you are building your exercise training or practicing a language. It takes 21 days to form a habit and the longer you do it the stronger those muscles and techniques become.
  3. Jazz up your journal. Personalize it. Make it fancy or keep it simple, but make it yours so that you are excited to open it.
  4. Get a special pen or different color pens to separate topics.
  5. Bullet ideas of what you want to journal about. If you have broader topics that you are interested in discovering more about or digging into, it’s helpful to jot them down. Sometimes we can’t think of what to write about, so have this as a backup.
    1. Reviews of books that you have read.
    2. Your journey toward running a full marathon.
    3. Goals and dreams for the coming year.
    4. Favorite family recipes.
    5. Family stories
    6. Movies you want to watch.
  6. Have fun with it! You choose to write in your journal. It’s a pathway to healing and your road to a legacy of memories.

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