If you already struggle with the idea of setting time apart from your busy schedule to write in a diary, the idea of having to write every day may put you off before you’ve even started and we certainly don’t want that! The benefits of keeping a journal massively outweigh all of the excuses you can come up within your head…
When you first get a journal, the misconception is that you MUST WRITE EVERY DAY and don’t get me wrong…some people do.
I myself made a new year’s resolution when I got my first diary to write every day, as a way to learn the practice of setting that time apart from the day for myself and it’s a good discipline to get into, but it’s not always necessary. Maybe start of committing yourself to once every 3 days or once every week, to begin with, just to get into the swing of things.
Avoid the writing guilt!
When you get into the writing cycle (especially committing to every day) you can tire of the process very quickly, you may even put the diary down and never pick it back up again! If you get yourself into the mindset of “having to write” it becomes a chore! You do not want writing in your diary to become like brushing your teeth!
You may start to develop the feeling of guilt if you miss a day, week or month and since the whole purpose is to rid yourself of negative feelings and emotions, you certainly don’t want your journal to be producing those feelings.
Take your time
You need to learn to treat your diary like a person, like someone you would turn to in the time of need. It’s there to listen to you. You don’t go and see a friend every single day to tell them everything you have done, and you don’t need to do that with your journal.
It’s a tool to be optimised in your time of need. There is absolutely nothing wrong with just using your diary when you are having a particularly bad time of it, yes it might make your reading back less amusing but in the meantime, you begin to think of your journal is something you want to do, rather than need to do.
Now, this might just be me but I thought it was worth mentioning. When I created The Discovery Journal, I did so to try and eradicate page OCD. There might well be an actual definition for page OCD but basically, it’s the feeling that you need to complete a page. In a conventional notebook, you are greeted with a nice clean page of lined paper but as your day goes on and the more you write those pages fill up, unfortunately, they don’t always fill up in the exact way you want them and you run out of things to write! I’ve been known for filling the pages by just saying “well I need to fill this page”.
Don’t be like me. Only use the space you need, encouraging OCD behaviours is not the way to go! But luckily, I solved that problem when I created my own Journal, narrowing down each entry to only 2 pages of boxes that can be filled up one by one!