I spent some time last week making a few DIY journals, and it made me think a bit about why I always have a stack of them filling my shelf. After looking through a few in the pile, I decided yes, they're definitely worth the effort. Here are a few reasons why.
My journals are scattered, missing large sections of my life, and pretty messy in general. I'm not keeping the meticulous records that I always thought I should, but my personal history there, full of thoughts, struggles, challenges and accomplishments. They tell a story of what I was thinking about when I had my first kid, of the utter fear and overwhelming joy that had me sobbing in the hallway. I talk about climbing mountains, struggling with my identity, and what I want to do with my life. I find notes and sketches for some of my favorite project. It's important to me.
Writing is a great way to organize thoughts. Putting thoughts down on paper naturally lays out a clearer picture. If I have a lot of things on my plate, or if I'm trying to work out a plan, it's helpful to get it out of my head and set it to paper. I can also circle back and look at when I have the time.
Looking back at achievements is healthy. You can tell a lot about where someone is going by where they've been. I'm not saying you should live in the past, but keeping a record of your goals and dreams helps remind that you're lot further than you might think. Remembering your past victories is a huge part of what will drive you on to greater things.
It helps plan for the future. Speaking of greater things, it's said that a goal is a dream with a deadline. Writing down your goals puts a deadline on it, and pushes you to make it happen. My journal is full of goals, and a huge chunk of them have checkmarks next to them.
It keeps you accountable. Staring at a list of things you want to do gives gravity to your dreams. A list requires an answer, it inspires a response. Putting that pen to paper is a small but important step along the way.
It leaves a legacy. I hope that someday my kids or even grandkids can look back at my dusty stack of journals and get to see the man behind my accomplishments. I write them for me, but I also write them for people I haven't even met yet. Because, I believe everyone has a story to tell, but who will hear it if you're not taking notes?
So, here is my link to make your own journal today, or just pick up a few from your local bookstore. Either way, take the time to put your story to paper. A few years from now, you're going to thank me.