Journaling has become one of the ‘obvious’ things everyone should do to enhance their life. It seemingly had only one way to go about it but doing trial and error led to the right way for me.
Towards the end of last year, I felt like every journaling session was a chore. Something that once occurred in a state of flow and ease became extremely difficult. I constantly searched my mind, waiting for it to give me some material. I forced myself to produce against my will and it reeked of in-authenticity.
But it eventually became disingenuous so I took steps to change that. These are the steps I took.
Taking A Break From Consistency
Earlier when I was trying to develop the habit I included it in my monthly habit tracker. It helped build the habit but there was an obvious downside.
At the end of the day, I felt unaccomplished if I hadn’t written an entry for the day. Sometimes I would skip it but other times I would look for something to write and I think that made it a little bit disingenuous.
After some time, I removed journaling from my habit tracker. Although the habit tracker had effectively helped to build the habit it now sucked the joy out of it. I decided to journal only intentionally and when I wanted to. That consisted of a break but I eventually went back to it. Although it’s not as regular as I’d like it to be right now but I know it’ll get there.
I don’t know about y’all but the buzz word in my industry is consistency. It’s spoken about so much that you’ll feel some type of way if you don’t apply it in every sphere of your life no matter how little. But I’ve found that there’s beauty in doing some things a little sporadically or as the Spirit leads.
- These two quotes sum up my exact thoughts on the matter:
- “Consistency is contrary to nature, contrary to life. The only completely consistent people are the dead.” ― Aldous Huxley
- “Consistency is the hallmark of the unimaginative.” ― Oscar Wilde
Finding The Desire Again: expelling discipline
Rigid routine, scheduling and discipline can snuff out the joy of anything quickly so we need to be careful where and what we apply intense discipline too. Replacing desire with discipline might be the best strategy for some things.
After I removed journaling from my habit tracker, I tried to go back to how I started and basically just went with the flow. I didn’t write like it was a chore but only wrote when I felt like it. As a writer, it was a good idea not to give myself to another form of rigid writing but to let it flow spontaneously and serendipitously.
Another way I redeveloped my desire for journaling is by embracing simplicity. All the prompts and playlists complicate things. I promise you can just grab your journal and write when you want to. One thing, I’m learning this year is the beauty in ease and simplicity. It doesn’t have to be complicated for it to be sophisticated or even effective.
Although, there’s still that slight disappointment when haven’t journaled for a couple of days. I’ve learned to trust the process and my desire. I’ll let my desire catch to my will for productivity.
In my experience, there is only one motivation, and that is desire. No reasons or principle contain it or stand against it. — Jane Smiley
Finding New Ways To Do It
Becoming bored or uninterested in something does not always mean you don’t like it anymore. It can mean you need a new way to approach it to fall back in love with it. When it comes to journaling, I feel the lack of creativity and imagination comes from the way it’s originally taught. Its format is a lot similar to school; answering questions to prompts. Don’t get me wrong prompts can be very stimulating but it’s not sustainable.
What is sustainable is figuring out what works for you. There are no rules, it’s all up to you. Improvement is when you figure it out.
Personally, using prompts have always been a little too forced for me. There’s only been one set of prompts I’ve really liked. Otherwise, it makes it seem like a chore or homework. One thing I’ve tried most recently is adding a pop of colour while journaling. Doodling. Trying to draw some of my thoughts and emotions has made journaling something to look forward to. A great example of who does this incredibly well is Austin Kleon. You can check out these two videos if this is something you’re interested in.
Another unique way I’ve come across is the Plus Minus Next Journaling by Anne-Laure Le Cunff. It’s introspective journaling for lazy people. It’s the easiest way to review your week and plan for the next one.
I’m always interested in looking forward the future. carving out new ways of looking at things. – Herbie Hancock
Write at Your Pace, How and What You Want
There’s no correct way to journal, there’s no correct time to journal and there’s no correct interval to follow.
One thing I’m consistently worried about is forgetting something if I don’t write it immediately. But life can’t afford that all the time. Let go of the anxiety that you’ll forget it and trust your brain. When you start, everything will just pour like it always does.
You may not think you have a good memory, but you remember what’s important to you.-Rick Warren