The Greatest Gift You Can Give Yourself
How’s your memory? Can you recall the thoughts, emotions, reactions of family or friends, or even subtle prayers from earlier today? How about yesterday, or last week? What about the warm feeling of your toes thawing after playing outside in a cold winter day five years ago? Unless you have a memory like Brad Williams, there’s a good chance you won’t recall the minute details of life as you lived it.
Memory Versus Journaling
When Todd, my father-in-law, asked me to write a post for the Little Things Matter blog I asked myself this question. “What is the one lesson from my life that would contribute the most to the LTM community”. My answer to that question was simple, “give them the best gift possible”. Since we’re not all blessed with the ability to capture the details of life like Brad Williams, one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is journaling. Keeping a journal has benefits that far surpass the time that you take to write down what’s happening.
Jim Rohn, one of the greatest teachers of personal development, said, “If you’re serious about becoming a wealthy, powerful, sophisticated, healthy, influential, cultured and unique individual, keep a journal. Don’t trust your memory. When you listen to something valuable, write it down. When you come across something important, write it down.” There’s a reason he associates becoming who you want to become with the simple, yet powerful method of writing down the things that impact your life.
Most successful people will tell you that achieving success is accomplished by several small steps taken in a direction that lead you to who you want to become. Two clear examples of this are the publisher of Success Magazine, Darren Hardy, who recently published his book “The Compound Effect,” and this blog Little Things Matter. To me, there is no better way to gauge the direction you are going than by keeping a journal and referring back to it from time to time.
Journaling Builds Confidence
If you have been completely honest with yourself throughout your journey, you will get to read about the sweaty palms when you went into a meeting, the doubts you had about taking the new job, and all the other trials you overcame. When you can read about the things that used to intimidate you but now they don’t, it will build a belief in yourself and help you keep moving in the direction you’re headed.
You’ll also read about the emotions you felt when you landed that new client, how you felt when you lost the 10 pounds you always wanted to loose, the times you beat your father-in-law in tennis, as well as the rest of the accomplishments you’ve had. The goals that have been achieved become fuel to keep you going when you’re down, and they challenge you to push yourself even harder.
When you spend time reviewing both the trials and accomplishments you’ll begin to look at future obstacles differently. You’ll say things like “I was successful at creating my own business, I know that I can take on this new challenge!”
More Advantages of Journaling
There are several benefits of keeping a journal. Here are just a few:
It gives you an outlet to be 100% honest with yourself.
It’s easier to remember where your journal is than to remember all the details of life.
You can revisit past experiences, including the emotions and thoughts you had at the time.
It can become a source of inspiration when you’re down.
You can read, in your own words, the growth you are going through with each challenge.
You will improve your writing skills.
It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give your children and grandchildren.
I challenge you to make journaling a part of your daily habits. I’m not saying you have to write a book each morning; I don’t think any of us have the time for that. But if you will take 10-15 minutes each day to write down the significant events and emotions in your life, you will look back in six months and be amazed at all the little things you had forgotten.
“It is a little more challenging to be a student of your own life, your own future, your own destiny. Take the time to keep notes and to keep a journal. You’ll be so glad you did.” Jim Rohn