Posted on Jul 22, 2011 | 34 comments

 

 101 Reasons to Write a Journal is now an eBook! Click here to check it out

 

101 Reasons Kindle Why Even Get Into Journaling?

This is one of those “I couldn’t find it anywhere so I wrote it myself” posts. I have been looking for a good, long list of reasons to journal for a while, and few get past 10. In fact, I think what you are about to read may be the longest “reasons to write a journal” list ever. At least ever that I can find.

I know this site usually focuses on methods of journaling and making it easier, but I am also (clearly) a strong proponent of the sport and try and convert any one I can every chance I get. I just truly believe that there are fewer activities that can make a life more fulfilling than keeping a diary or journal. And if you don’t read all of this, that’s okay (in fact, bravo if you do!), that isn’t what it is written for. Just find the things you need to give yourself that extra boost of motivation.

For organization purposes (and also so you can just get to the ones you care about) I have separated these reasons into different groups. The groups or reasons themselves are in no particular order, though I have tried to clump some similar ones. I tried my best to avoid redundancy and beating dead horses (ie Because your mom said to. Because your dad said to. Because your teacher said to. Because Oprah said to…)  The last group is actually more of a list of different types of journals, but it fits in pretty well anyways.

Feel free to share this list with whoever else you are trying to convert to the art of journaling (you can find Email, Twitter and other sharing options at the bottom of this post).

So, here it goes. You should write a journal to:

Self Improvement

1. Find inner peace   Find your inner Tibet within the inner pages of your journal.

2.    Relieve stress   It is better to let it all out in written words then a fist slammed through a wall. Really.

3.    Set, track and accomplish goals   “A goal not written is only a wish.”

4.    Increase your chance of success with goals   Studies show that you are more likely to accomplish a goal if you write it down.

5.    Develop a well-defined bucket list   Yup, we all have things we want to accomplish in life. Why not write them down somewhere where you will remember them?

6.    Find out who you really are   Like, not who everyone else thinks, but who YOU think.

7.    Find out what you really like   How often do we pretend to like things, for whatever reason. Why?

8.    Discover weaknesses  I don’t have any, but if I did, my journal would be a great place to discover them.

9.    Plan how to overcome weaknesses   Plan it. Track it. It will happen.

10.   Discover talents and learn how to improve them   Some talents are obvious, yet others take a little more time and discovery.

11.   Measure progress and changes through different stages of life   Sometimes I wonder if the only reason I keep a journal is to remind myself of how stupid I was in my younger years.

12.   Better appreciate what you have gone through   Through the desensitization process of time, we often forget how traumatic certain experiences where in our lives. If we write them down, we can appreciate the lessons learned.

13.   Remind yourself why you acted a certain way   Why did you dress like a lumberjack in the 90′s? Because everyone else did silly!

14.   Discover how to rely on happiness from within   How often do we base our happiness and fulfillment on things we can’t control? With time and effort we can overcome this. I think Ghandi did, but I’m not 100% confident he used a journal to do it. Sorry.

15.   Develop gratitude for the smallest things   Some people write entire journals just to point out things they are grateful for. I don’t, but I do try and add them here and there among the mindless babble I frequently engage in.

16.   Build self mastery   I think if everyone could control their selves, there would be less problems in this world. Yeah, I think I’m pretty safe saying that.

17.   Grow personal empowerment   We are more in control of our surroundings than we  let ourselves believe.

18.   Build confidence   We have conquered self-mastery, grown personal empowerment and the result? We are now confident!

19.   Learn how to laugh at yourself   It’s really easier than you think.

20.  Learn to dwell on the good stuff   We could fill our journals with 101 reasons why the world is a terrible place, or we could just add a few nice things that happened. Either/or.

21.   Learn to trust yourself   Remember that time you said you were going to lose weight? When you didn’t, you trusted yourself less. When you do what you say you will, track it and you will believe in yourself more everyday.

22.  Improve health   Stress causes health issues. Journal and diary keeping relieve stress. I think a geometry theorem proves that therefore, journaling improves health.

23.  Cultivate open-mindness   It is true that we are all raised with some pretty rigid ideologies in our heads. That’s okay, but being open-minded about other’s beliefs is super duper important and makes for less awkward work lunches.

24.  Learn how to learn from other’s mistakes instead of your own  “A wise man learns by the mistakes of others, a fool by his own.”

25.   Find a unique sense of accomplishment   Every time I flip through one of my old journals I feel a sense of pride that I actually finished something.

26.   Learn how you want to be treated and how to reciprocate that to others   Do you like it when other people respect you? How else do you like to be treated? Write them down and then do them to someone else.

27.   Become more organized   I try and sort things out in my mind a lot. It doesn’t really work out to much. Writing it down, however, is much easier.

28.   Learn how to care less about that which is not important   As I go back and read old journal entries, it amazes me how much I get caught up on little things in my life that mean absolutely NOTHING now.

Creativity

29.    Become a better doodler   Who hasn’t doodled in their journal? Why not?

30.    Make up new words  The one place other than Twitter or the presidency where you can make up words and get away with it is your journal or diary. Proven fact.

31.    Master hidden messages   Write in code. Write backwards. Spell out your secret love with the first letters of every sentence. Who cares?!

32.    Write letters to yourself   I love this! It is almost as enjoyable to write them as it is to read them. Try a specific time frame like a year or a decade.

33.    Learn how to break down barriers, step out of the box   We make rules for ourselves. Bend ‘em a little!

34.    Discover different ways to express yourself   Do you like poetry or Haikus? How about writing in Shakespearian? How about writing without the letter ‘e’?

35.    Create a home for your favorite pictures   What better place is there to put that awful picture of you in your favorite Christmas sweater than below the entry about the awful Christmas party? Modern journals make this much, much easier.

36.    Help you understand that most limits are self-created and intangible   Those rules we follow? We made most of them and most of them don’t even exist. Find out which ones.

Family

37.    Become a better parent, spouse, sibling…   Write one thing you want to do to make a family member’s life better. Rinse, wash and repeat. Note the change in your life.

38.    Unravel romantic confusion   Hehe. For some people (or some stages of life), this is the DEFINITION of a diary.

39.    Fall in love, all over again   For those of you who have the perfect marriage without any problems, skip this one. For the rest of us, why not take a peek back in time and remember all of those reasons we were head over heels for the Mr. or Mrs.?

40.    Record important dates   Birthdays, graduations, baptisms, anniversaries, broken legs… we shouldn’t forget when these things happened.

41.    Leave something behind   I know I’m not going to leave much money behind for my kids (sorry kids). I will, however, leave a journal or two. Some people would argue that a personal journal would be worth more than money <gasp!>.

42.    Help future generations know who you really are, from your own words   Our friends, acquaintances, the general public and the tabloids all know us a little differently. Why not let our posterity know who we ACTUALLY are?

43.    Preserve history   If generations before us had not kept journals, we would have a pretty limited view on the majority of history as we know it. Write what the price of gas is today, just so that you know you can give a good laugh to a grandkid down the road.

44.    Remember important stories   I think this is fairly self-explanatory. Just don’t forget to do it!

45.    Not forget where you came from   The roots of a tree are the foundation of what it is. If I ever forget who I am when I make it big with my journaling website, I will refer to my journals to ground myself.

46.   Record the lives of your children   My mom did this. I can’t tell you how much they mean to me today.

47.   Tell stories to your children and grandchildren   I’m talking about like “Grandkid, I sent my first text message today.” They’ll get a kick out of it in 50 years when the new thing is mind messaging.

48.    Set the example so your children will journal   I’ve mentioned this before, but I have many fond memories of my parents spending a quiet moment hand writing in their journals. I wonder how many bad things they were saying about me…

49.    Your mom told you to   I have a couple of journals to show for this reason.

Writing

50.    Capture ideas before they are gone   Don’t let your great plot ideas slip away! Write them down, quick!

51.    Build grammar, spelling and vocabulary   The best place to learn how to sing is in the shower.

52.    Learn how to start, tell and end a story   Do this every day for simple stories and you will be astonished how much easier it is when you write a big (fictional) one.

53.    Find your sense of humor   Unfortunately, I never found mine.

54.    Increase your writing speed   If you are a writing writer, then write your journal that way. If you are a typing writer, write your journal that way. If you are a touchscreen writer, you need to figure some things out.

55.    Practice writing, every day   You may or may not have heard about a book called Outliers. It explains that, to be the absolute best at something, we need to spend at least 10,000 hours doing that thing. I haven’t spent that much time on many things, but if you count all of my journals, I almost might be a professional writer!

56.    Develop plot building   …and then, I carefully walked around the corner. The scraping noise was incessant! What could be making that noise? Oh, the cat, of course.

 57.    Increase your writing confidence   I would have never believed that I could have written an entire novel if I hadn’t roughed up a few journals first.

58.    Help you know whether or not you even like writing   If you like to write, journaling will be a joy. If not, you might give it up and go back to basket weaving. There is only one way to find out.

59.   Destroy writers block  Like, obliterate, mangle and pummel. Only brick crumbs will be left after you do a free write or two.

60.   Discover what kind of writing you don’t like   Are you a fan of first person or third person? Do you like lots of adjectives and explanations, or do you like plot more? I have found out a lot of what I do and don’t like through journaling.

61.    Identify your writer strengths and weaknesses   I am strong with plot and character development but weak on descriptiveness. Guess how I figured it out? Guess how I am going to get better?

62.    Build your writing portfolio, even if only for yourself  When I decided I wanted to write a book, I would get discouraged sometimes and wonder “Who am I to write a novel?” I would get up and get a drink and trip over a stack of journals and hit my head. When I came to, for some reason I would remember that I had already written several.

Problem Solving

63.    Vent!  Because your husband, your dog and your steering wheel only pretend like they care.

64.    Try to see both sides of an argument   There ARE two sides to every argument, even if only one makes sense.

65.    Foresee issues before they occur   History repeats it’s self. Figure it out and you will already know what is coming next.

66.    Clear your mind   Write about something else in your journal other than the problem you are facing. As soon as you have a clear head, solutions will be much clearer.

67.    Unload secrets   If you want to remain trustworthy, you shouldn’t divulge secrets you promised to keep. The law says that personal journals are exempt from this rule.

68.    Improve relations by describing what you appreciate about people   Can’t stand to look at or think about someone? Write something nice about them. How do you feel now?

69.    Make your therapist happy   Yup doc, I wrote in my journal, just like you asked. Do I get a discount now?

70.    Have a confidant when no one else will listen   Ever felt lonely? Journals are always there to listen. Especially if you carry it around in your pocket like I do (as long as I remember to charge it at night).

71.    Prepare for confrontation   If you have to face someone you have had issues with before, write about how they may react to different things.

Spirituality

72.    Draw closer to your God   An old farmer and his wife were riding along in their old pickup one day. The woman said “You know, we don’t sit as close together like we used to, all cuddled up next to each other.” The farmer waited a minute or two and then answered, “I haven’t moved”.

73.    Tune your spiritual and moral compass   A wise man once said “Righteousness isn’t where you are at, it is where you are headed.”

74.    Be obedient to religious leaders   Many faiths encourage keeping a faithful journal. Why not oblige?

75.    Find out what you really BELIEVE in   With so many ways to believe and so many religions, how do we know what is right? Keep track of your feelings and discoveries if you find yourself along this path.

76.    Record prayers   They feel like they mean a little more if you do.

77.    Keep track of favorite scriptures   Use them to enhance a point or story.

78.    Connect with God on Holy Days   If there are certain times when you try and focus on God, use a journal to keep close to him.

79.    Confess and reconcile   Did a no-no? The journal is always there to listen.

80.    Learn to tune out the noise of the world   There is a lot of crap and distraction out there. Tune it all out in a few hundred words. Works every time.

81.    Record inspirations   Feel inspired to do something or act a certain way? Don’t let it slip from your mind.

82.    Record religious missions/pilgrimages/travels   I went on a religious mission. Never have I been more faithful with my journal than at that point in my life. Now I cherish the records I have of those memories.

Daily Life

83.    More interesting days   If you know you are going to have to write about SOMETHING in your journal that night, sometimes you will do more interesting things just for good journal material. I know I have.

84.    Remember events before you forget them   Where did I spend last New Years? Oh, I hope I wrote it down!

85.    Learn how to notice the little things   The first conversation you had with your new co-worker, a gift you were given for no apparent reason. If you don’t write these things down, you won’t remember them past next week.

86.    Have a guaranteed moment of reflection   Life is busy. Like CRAZY busy. We may not stop and let it all in very often, but a few minutes with your journal gives you that opportunity pretty much every day.

87.    Separate fact from fiction   Sometimes we get so caught up in something we don’t know which way is up and which is down. Sort it all out and separate the facts from those things that you just imagined or someone made up.

88.    Record good quotes   There are good quotes outside of this epic post, I promise. Some of them are even from regular, ordinary people you talk to every day. Write them down!

89.    Entertain yourself with last year’s entries   Bored? See what you were doing at this point a year ago. How about two years? Ten years? You will find something entertaining, I promise.

90.    Prevent wasting time   I know that sitcoms are noble causes and everything, but I am tempted to argue that keeping a diary is better use of your time. That’s just me though.

91.    Creates proof for legal issues   If you ever get caught in a legal battle you can actually use your journal to remember specific events and dates.  I’m not a lawyer, but I’m sure this information could prove stuff. I think. I would hope.

Logging

92.    Daily diary for work  I have actually had to keep one of these. Partly for reason 91 and partly so that I could show what I accomplished each day.

93.    Calorie journal   Food diary, intake journal, there are a hundred names for the same thing. Track what you eat and you will eat less. Fact.

94.    Workout diary   Track what you have done for your workout. If it worked, you will know exactly how to do it again. And again.

95.    Illness diary   I actually have a brother that is perfectly normal but just rarely feels energetic or fully well. It has gotten to the point where he tracks the days he feels good and the days he doesn’t to hopefully find some correlation as to what causes him to feel this way.

96.    Travel/vacation log   These are rather popular though I haven’t tried one yet. You can write it with words, but I would add some pictures along the way as well.

97.    Hobby journal   Passionate about something? You can keep better track of it with a journal.

98.    Baby journal   My wife kept one of these during her pregnancy with our son. Tender are the words she shared as she felt life growing inside of her.

99.    Team journals   If you are part of a team for work or anything else, you can track your growth with a combined journal that each has access too.

100.    Dream diaries   Another idea that is growing in popularity. Keep it close to you at night so that you can quickly record your dreams in the morning before you forget them. One might even come true!

101.   Million dollar idea log   I’m always coming up with get-rich schemes and my next big idea. Not that I have done much with them. The best million dollar idea I have had is to market a million dollar idea journal. Nope, just Googled it. Someone else beat me to it, again.

So, what is 102? Tweet #reason102 and let us know or comment below. Also check out the full 101 Reasons to Write a Journal book!

  • Pamcgoldrick

    This is such a great list to keep for days when I need some ideas!

    • http://www.easyjournaling.com Sam

      Thanks Pam!

    • lee

      I’m 52 retired & last time I wrote a journal was when I went to Texas. Thought the net would give me a good place to find ideas…..this is the 1st site i came too>JACKPOT!!! Just what I needed very creative Pam.Great job!!  LEBIII
      @843fb237b0a66af77ce5229df33e3f44:disqus 

      • http://www.easyjournaling.com Sam

        Awesome comment! Thanks for the words of encouragement :)

      • Sam

        I’m so glad you found this Lee!

  • Ladybug220

    Teachs you to be still after all the day to day busyness and listen.

  • Dolly Garland

    This is an amazing list :-)) Well done! And thanks for putting in this much effort. 

    http://journal-addict.blogspot.com

  • http://www.danapittman.com Dana Pittman

    Thanks! I’m learning to embrace journaling and your list encourages me.

  • Brenda_xD

    I’m 19, and I’ve kept dairys since I was little. It’s been off and on. And I find myself not writing anything anymore. I guess because I would think “who cares” but reading this just made me realize that no one HAS to care. It’s just something for you —me.

    • Guest

      Brenda,

      You are so right. Journaling is opposite the current trend of social media that says “look at me!” With journaling you instead find peace and comfort in your own words and realize that happiness and fulfillment is best when it comes from within. :)

  • sidann1020

    Nice, well thought out information.  Reminded me why I should be journaling when I don’t want to relive…anything.

  • Sirnamath

    This is awesome! I wonder how powerful this be if it was taught along with alphabets and numbers,
    during our kindergarten days…. 

  • No

    Damn, Ive searched too many sites on diary writing, and nothing was useful until I found this article… this is exactly what I wanted to understand what to include in a diary and why!
    excellent!!

    • http://www.easyjournaling.com Sam

      You win best comment of the day award! Glad EJ could help :)

  • Benittlove

    I love this

  • Kat

    I’m fourteen, and throughout my life, I’ve gone through difficult times. My parents divorce and my cousins death were two of the big ones. I have kept journals since I was eight, and they’ve gotten me through a lot. At times I feel likeno one cares, but in reality, the only thing that truly matters is whether or not I care.

    • http://www.easyjournaling.com Sam

      Glad you found us Kat. People care. Keep up your journaling and someday you will learn that you learned to love yourself and it allowed you to love others regardless of what happens in your life.

  • Keshia

    I have been bottling up a lot of emotions since I was in my early teens. I’m now 23 and feel like I’m running out of storage space for those thoughts and emotions and scared that I may explode on someone I love. I’ve thought a about writing but never really knew what exactly to put in a journal. I always thought that there was a “right” way to do it. Because of this article, I have a better sense of what I can actually do, so thanks. Now, unfortunately, I have to stop trying to analyze my thoughts before writing and just do it. Any advice on how I could overcome that?

    • http://thoughtsofandrew.tumblr.com Andrew

      How to stop analyzing your thoughts before writing and just do it? The best advice I would give is to just do it. Be aware of the fact that you are trying to “sanitize” your thoughts (or whatever your situation might be), and directly make the effort to work around that tendency. Try writing about how you can’t write without over-analyzing your thoughts before writing them. Thinking about how you think is a one good way to help one think more clearly..

      I once couldn’t come up with anything to write about for my blog, and was really feeling frustrated about it, so I wrote about how frustrating it is to not be able to think of something to blog about. It turned out quite well.

  • Juliet

    Fabulous post – and many congratulations on your book Sam. Here’s my idea for #Reason 102 – transform our relationship with time. By writing objectively about the stuff we have to do we can get to distinguish between the time tasks really take to do, and the amount of perceived time we add to them through our own anxiety. We can also flip between past, present and future, making our time in life a resource for our own clarity and creativity. And journaling helps us get to the truth quicker, which always delivers the impression that we have got more time!

  • Nick

    In writing a daily journal for almost 8 years now, it sometimes gets confusing as to the purpose. As I writer, I’ve found writing that crap, you can find some golden stuff in the last line of the sixth page, you just had to write the other five to get to it. These tips are helpful in reminding me what the use of this practice is.

  • Kathy

    I’ve been doing Ira Progoff’s Intensive Journal Workshop since 2003 and have been journaling off and on since about 1970. I like your very simple and motivating list to keep us moving forward and to help inspire others to get in the same groove.

  • Athena

    I recently found my mother’s journaling amongst books I had thrown in a box when moving, and soon after she passed away. I had no idea she kept a journal. A true autobiography, preservation of family history and lifesaver for genealogy, but most of all a heartwarming story of her life. Thanks, Mom!

    • http://www.easyjournaling.com Sam

      Awesome story Athena. Now it is up to you (and the rest of us) to do the same for our kids and grandkids!

  • Sunrise

    Never written a journal in my life before, well, except for the time that I attended to the American Language Institute of UCLB where the teacher asked us to write an English journal everyday. That was a decade ago. Now I would like to pick up that habit again by using my iphone and gladly I found this website!Thank you!! (Not only do I get to put down my thoughts and feelings but also I have to use English to do so are the reasons I want to start an English journal.)

  • mel

    how do i start journalling? where do i begin?

  • Amanda Dickson

    I started journaling in 2003 and I was very consistent (almost daily) for about a year and a half. After that I was hit or miss (several days a month) for another two years, and then life caught up to me and I stopped. A year or so ago I started journaling again, but I have only been able to write a few times a year. It seems no matter how hard I try, life is just too busy!
    I always have the best intentions, but by the time I remember I’m always too tired and I think, “I’ll just do it tomorrow” and next thing I know I’ve said that for 6 months or more and still haven’t written a thing! I just don’t have time first thing in the morning.
    When/how do you find the time to write in your journal? Do you have any suggestions for me?

    • http://www.easyjournaling.com Sam

      Start small… like really small. Even a sentence here or there to start out with.

      In fact, if you have an iPhone, try Everyday Timeline. If you ever post a Facebook status update or use Twitter or other social media it will automatically make a post and post it in your journal. You can also add your own posts, of course.

      Good luck Amanda and let us know how it goes!

      • Amanda Dickson

        Thanks Sam! I appreciate the advice and support. I currently use LDSJournal.com and I have the updated version. I thought if I paid for the updated version I would be more committed in order to get my money’s worth. Apparently that didn’t happen.

        I started LDSJournal in December of last year, and to date I only have 10 entries made up of 9,830 words, 12 footnotes, 12 photos, and in the “About Me” section I have only answered 8 questions. I’m not proud of those stats! Please allow me to relate an incredible experience that I had yesterday that has made all the difference in my view and approach to journaling.

        Every Sunday, my husband and I, along with our sons, have dinner with my in-laws. My husband is 9 years older than I am and his parents are as old as my grandparents. His dad will be 87 this year. Yesterday after dinner, my father-in-law and I got into a discussion about journaling (I know he keeps a journal) and he told me that he stopped writing in his because he grew tired of it. He has kept a journal on his computer EVERY single day for the last 12 YEARS!! He told me that all four of his children and all of his grandchildren know that he keeps a journal and that not one of them has ever asked to read it.

        I explained that in my opinion, most people consider journals very private and they are usually not read until or unless someone passes away. He knows I love to read and I could see in his eyes that he wanted someone to read his journals. I told him I would be honored to read them. Before we left he told me that if I wanted to read his journals I was more than welcome. Of course I said I would love to. He went to his office and came out with what must have been at least a 4″ binder. Each page was typed top to bottom and SINGLE spaced. I couldn’t believe my eyes! This was just one of the many journals he had written over the course of 12 years.

        Later that night I couldn’t sleep, so at about 12:30 a.m. I picked up his journal and started to read. He began with his earliest childhood memory and continued from there. Many of the stories I had heard before as told on the many Sunday’s we’d had dinner together, but it was very different when reading it in his unique writing style. There were many details that he had left out when relating the stories during our family dinners. I had originally thought his journal might make me sleepy, but instead I found it was just the opposite. At 3:30 this morning, having read all the way through page 25, I found that I was not only awake, but I was far from sleepy. I had to use every ounce of willpower I had to put down the journal so I could get some sleep. I was simply amazed! I vowed right then to never miss another day of writing in my journal!!

        I will forever be grateful to my father-in-law, who is more like a father to me, for teaching me the value of keeping a journal. I can’t begin to express how honored I am to be the first person in our family to be reading his personal journal. I don’t believe in coincidences, and yet this occurred at the very same time I was struggling to renew my attempt to keep my own personal journal. How amazing is that?

        • http://www.easyjournaling.com Sam

          Best comment ever Amanda! I’ll bet the entire Easy Journaling community would love to hear this story if you are willing to share the whole thing. Let me know if you are interested in writing a guest post about it sam@easyjournaling.com

          • Cathy G.

            Hi Amanda, thanks for sharing your experience. You’ve convinced me to set up an account with LDSJournal. I’ll try to keep it more updated than my blogger account. :)

            Hi Sam, I was able to obtain a copy of your book “101 Reasons to Write a Journal” from Amazon through Kindle Buffet. Even though I’m still on the first few pages, you have inspired me to continue blogging. It’s similar to journaling, right? :) Thanks! :)

  • Krissandra Humphrey

    I’ve tried to write a diary for as long as I can remember, ever since I read those “Dear Canada” “diary” novels. Unfortunately, I never felt like I had something interesting to say. Maybe this time…

  • bigbear

    I’ve kept a journal/set of notebooks for 31 years now, starting off in adolescence in little A5 books and moving onto PC’s in the nineties. I can identify with at least 50 – 60 of your reasons to write a journal, and I can say that after all these years, they have been a part of my life that really has had a positive affect and seriously, they have helped me find myself time and time again and reaffirmed so much about not only myself but all of us! for anyone thinking of starting of writing, then do it for the love of writing and expression and it’ll take care itself of the details! enjoy. well done Sam