Did you know that many successful people often keep a diary? (businessman Richard Branson, artist Leonardo da Vinci, many famous writers) Did you know that writing a diary is a scientifically proved way to becoming happier? (Article about it here)
So, do you keep a diary? It might be that your diary is not full of business ideas as the one of Mr. Branson. Maybe it is not a piece of art like the one of Mr. da Vinci. And it might not be worth publishing as a piece of literature like diaries of writers. Should you bother even starting one?
Definitely YES. Because just reflecting your thoughts on a piece of paper is beneficial to you. (Psychologists like to say: “Oh, we were doing this and that and then we were reflecting”. Me with curiosity: “What is that r-word?”. “Reflecting!”). But if simple “Hello, Diary, today I did this and that, also I have thought about sex 10 times and about chocolate cookies 120 times” is not enough for you, try the 7 ways how to enhance your diary experience. How to make it a tool for some quiet and positive transformations of your life.
If you wonder if I have one – yes I have, and I tried all the 7 techniques described in this list. So be sure, that what I speak is not a mere theory, but also tested by at least one thoughtful person.
1) Keep yourself motivated for a challenge
A life change is often about throwing yourself a challenge and doing everything to achieve it. This is a great topic to write about every day. With a diary, you will notice quickly if you are failing, if you are behind a schedule if you are losing motivation.
Trying to lose weight? To go jogging every morning? To quit smoking? To reduce facebook? To write a novel? Write what motivates you to do it. What will happen if you will not do it? Who can help you? Who is doing well in this field?
2) Record your personal experiment
A life change is so much about doing personal experiments and trying to find what is the thing you like, what is your passion or purpose. But if you are doing an experiment you must record the results, and it is best if you do it regularly. A diary is a perfect place for it, and the experiment itself is a perfect topic for the diary. Record how are you doing, what are the results today, how can you change what are you doing?
If you just try the vegan food for a week without recording anything you will not know do you feel better because of the food or because of the sunshine? If you do not record how do you feel about trying to smile more to people you will not know is it beneficial to you or not?
3) Let go your thoughts
Many of us suffer from overthinking. My article about overcoming overthinking is one of the most popular on this website and I believe it will be for a long time. Diary is one of the techniques to deal with overthinking. Whenever you have excessive thoughts distracting you from things that are important – write down those thoughts. What was the most disturbing thought that tortured you today? No matter how silly is it or how disturbing – put it on paper. Once you’ve done, several things might happen:
- you might see that the thought is gone.
- you might see that you just feel better after writing it.
- you might come up with a solution.
Release everything – thoughts, emotions, fears – write about them. Better to express hate, anger, grief on a sheet of paper that by breaking things around. Writing about fear helped me to deal with it.
Write about things you don’t want to think about.
4) Keep your ideas
Moving forward in life and achieving great results is often about implementing great ideas. But how can you implement them if you forget them? Do not lose any single idea! You can use your diary for recording them.
Didn’t I just say that writing down a thought makes you forget it? Yes. But writing down an idea in a place you can review lets you keep it forever. Also writing down the idea makes some space in your mind to come up with new ones. Now I have 449 ideas for articles to write and memes to draw. Do you think it is possible to remember them all?
5) Facilitate the decision-making
Decision making is a crucial skill if you want to become the master of your own life (or a leader in any other field) Diary can enhance decision-making process too. It is very simple, there are many available decision-making techniques like SWOT, CARVER, cost-benefit analysis and so on. But to use them – it is not enough just to think, you must write down the ideas in an organized way. It is much easier to begin arranging your ideas in an organized way if you have a ready place for it – a diary.
And one more thing – it is much easier to follow a written decision.
I made some spreadsheets to facilitate your decision making – one that helps to prioritize choices, one that helps to evaluate which option is more meaningful, and one which lets you to solve a problem in a well structured and organized way. All of them are backed by science and experience. All of them started as a decision-making sessions in my diary. All of them helped a lot.
6) Keep yourself on track
This one is quite similar to keeping track of experiments and challenges. But there are more permanent things than a month of vegetarian food, or a week of jogging every morning. You know who you want to be, you know what you want to do. Write about it every day:
- What are good things in my life?
- What are bad?
- What good things did I do today?
- And what was bad?
- What am I grateful for?
- And finally – how can I make tomorrow a better day? For myself and for others?
But if you still not sure what you want to be and what you want to do – try these questions.
7) Celebrate life
I never thought about this method seriously until I stumbled upon an article in Live Your Legend about weekly planning. “Celebrate Last Week” – they say.
Write down everything from the past week that you’re proud of.
– Scott Dinsmore
You will never be able to do everything that you want because of underestimated time, because of distractions and interruptions. That may make you feel somewhat disappointed. But to keep yourself in a good morale, you can write the best things that happened to you last week. Then you will see, that you ARE actually moving forward.
I also write three best things that happened to me every week in my diary.
Bonus: 8) Write a letter you will never send
Umm, didn’t I tell it will be only 7 topics? This one is a great topic, but I have not tried it myself yet, so, I am leaving it for you.
Try writing a letter you are not going to send. To whom? To ones, you might want to talk to, but for some reason will not.
- For your parents
- The ones who hurt you
- The ones you are scared of
- The ones you loved
- Your future self
- Your past self
- The universe or even god.
What to write there?
- How do you feel?
- What did they do to you?
- How this affected you?
- What do you want from them?
And the best part is that you never need to send those letters.
Diary can change your life. Start keeping it. Seriously. Now you have the topics to write.
Good luck in your writing!
Diary is one of the 5 essential practices to regain control of your life. If you want to know about other four – you can read the full article.