The Daily Collection #2

How to Build a Daily Habit of Journaling and then a Multiple Times Per Day Habit of Journaling

The rule of thumb is always this: The more you put into journaling, the more you'll get out of it. You cannot expect to be changed by journaling, and enjoy it thoroughly, by doing little. This is the way it is with the good things of this life. Nothing in this life comes easily, and if it does, question the quality of whatever it is. The quality of journaling depends solely on the time and work invested.

If you are not journaling every day, and several times a day, then that means you need to train and work up to being able to do so, like a person does not get up from the couch and run a marathon after never running before (or running very little). So what does this look like? 

Begin with looking at your calendar/planner and determine a time each day to start to journal. If possible, make it the same time each day. Then, ask yourself how much time you can afford to journal each day. After all, journaling is not a habit for you yet.  Let's be honest, if you have not journaled before, it might be tough to find half an hour to journal one day a week, never mind seven days. I would say to begin with fifteen minutes once a day. 

Grab your calendar or planner and go about adding journaling to each of your days using the following plan. We will block out time for journaling for the next year. Then, every month, add journaling to another month in your calendar or planner so you always have journaling listed there in your schedule for at least one year (and no less). The key to starting and forming a habit is to keep the habit. And the only way you'll keep the habit is to have it already in your calendar/planner/schedule so you will continue to journal. 

This planning will take at least an hour to do if you have a digital calendar/planner. If you are doing it on paper, this will take two to three hours to do. 

Start with your calendar (which I will call your planner or schedule from now on) with Week 1 and work from there. Here's the plan on how to build the daily habit of journaling, and turn that into journaling multiple times per day:

WEEK 1 PLAN:

I said a few paragraphs ago to begin with 15 minutes per day. So, let's start there. 

If you can do more, then do more and add the same amount of time to your original daily time amount as you work through each week of the plan in your calendar. 

Ideally, block out 15 minutes at the same time per day, even if that means waking up 15 minutes earlier. Or... If you cannot block the same time every day because your calendar is too full, just journal sometime each day for 15 minutes until you can add the 15 minute slot to your daily schedule at the same time each day for the rest of your life (or until you need to adjust the time for whatever reason). Block out 15 minutes every day for one week.

That being said, if you end up journaling longer and more often, then by all means do so. The more you journal, the better. Just make sure to journal every single day for that week and keep a tally and figure out your average at the end of that week. 

Now, add the plan for Week 2 to your planner now.

WEEK 2 PLAN:

It's assumed that you can now journal at the same time each day (even if you have to wake up earlier each morning). Now, for this week, add 5 minutes to each day, so journal 20 minutes per day this week, all seven days. Block this off in your calendar. Then, keep your calendar ready and read and do the following:

WEEK 3 PLAN:

Now, for this week, add 5 minutes to each day, so journal 25 minutes per day this week, all seven days. Block this off in your calendar. Then, keep your calendar ready and read and do the following:

WEEKS 4 TO 8 PLANS:

Now, for weeks 4 to 8, add 5 minutes to each day, so journal 30 minutes per day this week, all seven days, for Weeks 4 to 8. Block this off in your calendar. 

WEEKS 9 TO 12 PLANS:

Now, for the next month, continue to block off that 30 minute slot at the same time every day. (You can actually block this off for the next year or if you do digital journaling, you can mark it off for the rest of your life with a couple of mouse clicks or taps on a cell or tablet.)

And add another 10 minute slot to another time during your day, but make it at the same time. So, for instance, if you already journal 700 to 730 a.m., then journal 10 minutes after dinner. 

WEEKS 13 TO 16 PLANS:

Now, for the next month, continue to block off that 30 minute slot at the same time every day. (You can actually block this off for the next year or if you do digital journaling, you can mark it off for the rest of your life with a couple of mouse clicks or taps on a cell or tablet.)

And add another 5 minutes to your 10 minute block, for a total of 15 minutes. 

WEEKS 17 TO 20 PLANS:

Now, for the next month, continue to block off that 30 minute slot at the same time every day. (You can actually block this off for the next year or if you do digital journaling, you can mark it off for the rest of your life with a couple of mouse clicks or taps on a cell or tablet.)

And add another 5 minutes to your 15 minute block, for a total of 20 minutes. 

WEEKS 21 TO 24 PLANS:

Now, for the next month, continue to block off that 30 minute slot at the same time every day. (You can actually block this off for the next year or if you do digital journaling, you can mark it off for the rest of your life with a couple of mouse clicks or taps on a cell or tablet.)

And add another 5 minutes to your 20 minute block, for a total of 25 minutes. 

WEEKS 25 TO 52 PLANS:

Now, for the next month, continue to block off that 30 minute slot at the same time every day. (You can actually block this off for the next year or if you do digital journaling, you can mark it off for the rest of your life with a couple of mouse clicks or taps on a cell or tablet.)

And add another 5 minutes to your 25 minute block, for a total of 30 minutes. 

IF YOU WANT

If you want to journal more each day, do so. But I highly recommend doing no less than an hour per day, if you want to get the most our of your journaling and live the best life possible: one of depth, meaning, and purpose.

ALWAYS KEEP YOUR JOURNALING BLOCKED OUT ON YOUR PLANNER FOR AT LEAST ONE YEAR

It's really easy to get out of a habit, unless you make it a priority. Therefore, every month, add another month of journaling to your calendar. 

ANOTHER JOURNALING TIP

The rest of your day and night, each day and night, sneak additional times to journal. Sneak in journaling, even if it is just one-minute, and do this several times a day. Some times to sneak in journaling are: When someone puts you on hold while on the phone. As you wait in the waiting room before a doctor, dentist, or hair appointment. As you work out (I do mine voice to text if I am using my arms). As you wait between parts of meal cooking (for instance, if you are waiting for water to boil, meat to brown, for something to boil, etc.). As you sit in a cafĂ© or restaurant. In your car for a couple of minutes before you head into work and a couple before you head home. Any time you can think of, sneak in a minute or more of journaling.   

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There Really is One Rule with Journaling: The More You Put Into It, the More You'll Get Out of It

I misstated in Daily Collection #1 about there being no rules. There really is one, apart from there being no rules. 

The most important thing you need to know about journaling is this fast, hard, uncompromising rule:

The more you put into journaling, the more you will get out of it. 

The more pages you fill, the more you will get out of journaling. 

This is why I journal off and on all day long some days, and take times where I have a half-day journaling retreat, or take a full-day journaling retreat. And that journaling retreat is wherever I am because my journal is a refuge and is a place to get away from the world for a while, even if I am in the middle of a busy restaurant or cafe. 

But, I always, always, always journal every single day. Because I know this rule: The more you put into it, the more you get out of it.

If you want to get the most out of your journaling, and live the best life possible (one of deep and great meaning and purpose), then you will journal every day at the very least (at least 360 days a year), and preferably several times a day. If anyone tells you otherwise, ask them how meaningful their life is and how purposeful it is. Ask them if the storms of life blow all around, do they stand strong and still feel peace even while the storm is storming. Ask them if they fully appreciate everyone and everything in their life. And if they say yes to all of this, does their life reflect this (do they live this) from what you can tell? And if so, ask them to teach you everything they know about journaling. However, I bet they would say that they get a lot out of journaling, but would do more of it if they could. 

If you want to live the best life possible, and appreciate everyone and everything you have now, you will make journaling a priority in your life because you have learned through reading this section that the more you want to get out of journaling, the more you should put into it. You will live the truth that the more you put into journaling, the more you'll get out of it. 

(And, yes, to answer the question you might have. I can honestly say that over the last 38+ years, I have moved in this direction and am mostly calm and full of peaceful whenever a challenge arises or a storm blows into my life. Those who know me well can testify to this. This is another reason why I want to share this blog with you is because I have reached a point in my life where I can be content, and even appreciative, in most every moment of most every day. That's not to say I do not lose my head from time to time and forget all the lessons learned, but the moment I remember, I start applying them. But these slip-ups are few and far between.)
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Count Your Blessings: A Journaling Prompt

Take some time and journal about all the blessings you have in your life.

Make a list and take a few minutes to journal about why you are thankful for each item on the list. 

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Check Your 2Do Lists (Your Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Etc.)

In your journal, keep your main 2Do List.

What items are there you need to do?

What items do you need to add?

What items do you need to carry over and add to the next 2Do List?

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