Growth through journaling

Growing up, I often thought of journaling as something we should do for our posterity’s sake. So they would have a record of what life was like for us, how we handled trials and what type of things we looked forward to and found enjoyable. I do think this is an added benefit of journaling, a huge blessing that comes from it, but I no longer hold this as the most significant purpose of journaling.

Brad Wilcox has said, “A personal journal is an ideal environment in which to ‘become’…it is a perfect place for you to think, feel, discover, expand, remember, and dream.” You see, a journal is where we can grow. We can reflect on our day, dream of what lays ahead and plan for how to get there. We can reflect on things we are grateful for, contemplate areas of our life that could use some modifying and sort through all the feels we have been bottling up all day (or week).

There are many different types of journals we can have as well. Some may like to keep all their thoughts, dreams, hopes, gratitude and fears in one place while others may choose to have different journals for different purposes. Travel. Gratitude. Planning. Personal. I’m sure you could think of more!

When we are very intentional with our journaling we can create a space where we can truly tap into our spirits, draw closer to our Savior, and grow stronger into who we are meant to be. We can also create a book full of stories, lessons and memories that will help posterity to follow learn from our joys, mistakes, trials and strengths.

Below is some ideas for journals you can start and ideals of what to include in them. You could just write in your book(s) or you may choose to also tape in ticket stubs, pictures, leaves, etc. Have fun with them. Turn them into a mixture of journaling and scrapbooking! I also have on here an “all about me” paper that I think is great to write down in a journal once a year. It helps give you time to reflect on where you are, where you have come from and where you want to be heading but its also lets your posterity see how much you may, or may not, have changed from year to year. It’s also fun to look back on. It’s the adult version of the birthday questions. 🙂

(print friendly version if you’d like!)

Who should keep a journal? EVERYONE! You don’t have to write in it daily. Maybe you take time each Sunday to write about the week, maybe once a month, maybe it’s only once every few months or only right after something big has happened in life…however often it is, it’s better than not at all! Strive for improvement, not perfection.

I personally have chosen to have 1 journal each year and I keep everything in it. Personal notes, spiritual experiences I have had, I journal trips, take notes at church and during my personal scripture study, I tape in pictures of big moments, tape in movie stubs of a movie that I loved so much I saw more than once (this is rare but yes, The Greatest Showman ticket stub is in my journal from that year), I write about things I am struggling with, lessons learned and the goals I am working on.

I also keep a journal for each of our children. I tape in awards, write about accomplishments at school, home and in their various activities, note who their friends are, what they like to play, what their favorites are, why we are proud of them, struggles they are having and I put their answers to their birthday questions all in their journals. When they turn 8 they begin their own journals but I still keep on with mine as well and when they leave the house for college/marriage/work I will give them the journals I have kept so they can see their childhood through my eyes.

We do have a family journal as well and it’s kind of like a calendar/journal. When something big happens (move into a new house, start a new job, have a baby, go to Disneyland etc) we turn the journal to the date and record very simply what happened and include the year. So, as the years have gone by we can see, “Hey we went to Disneyland today and 3 years ago on the same day is when Tyson started his job at Infusionsoft!” It’s fun to see and yet takes so little time.

The most important thing that will come from journaling is seeing an improvement in your attitude on life. Those who regularly take time to reflect on their life will be taking much larger strides to becoming their best version of them and much swifter than someone who is just going through the motions of life. Make an intentional choice to slow down, reflect, meditate, record and grow!