Every now and then I reach out members of my network and ask how their reflective journaling is going and if they had any significant learnings they would like to share or if there might be anything I can help them with.
It amazes me how many people respond for myriad reasons of why they are not using the journal I gave them and then I ask them why which I record.
So like most other conundrums that occupy my thinking I start looking at the trove of journals completed to see if I have recorded any responses to the question I’m pondering and in this case I have been.
Here are the top 5 reasons I’ve collected:
1- The journal is way too nice to actually write in.
2- They really don’t know where or how to start.
3- They just can’t find the time.
4- If they start they just can’t seem to get into a rhythm and it lasts about the same amount of time as a Duraflame log.
5- They have a digital note taking system that works for them and they really don’t need another system.
I totally get how important #5 is on digital systems but I ask how often they go back and relook and reflect at their digital notes and the typical response is not too often.
One of the big values in journaling is going back to look at what you recorded and search for trends, new thinking or any other connection points that help you better understand or solve a problem.
I’m often asked for any advice I can share on getting started and I recommend one very simple exercise:
For the next 30 days start your morning off by writing 5 things you are grateful for. Then after the 30 days go back and reread what you wrote and then classify each gratefulness to one of 3 categories: Head- what you were thinking, Hand- what you were doing or Heart – what inspired you or how you might have inspired someone else.
I have found that people who try this exercise really enjoy how it makes them feel and then they continue doing it and slowly start adding in other dimensions that they find to be relevant to them.
Plus Laurie Santo who teaches The Psychological Science of Happiness at Yale said that if you keep a gratitude journal in only 2 weeks you will improve your well being. Check her out on YouTube!
It’s a classic exercise of starting small, creating personal value and then continuing if it serves you well.
Hope this provides some momentum to start!
ps- The reason I created the 70 page Reflection Point book in the Kit was to provide a comprehensive guidebook on how to journal and get the most out of the Four Loops of Learning which are Record, Reflect, Act & Share.