I Changed My Daily Journaling Template - Here's Why
Happy June! Or in my humble (and purely fact-based opinion) the best month of the year! I bet you can guess why...
While June is my birth month - yes, you read that correctly, birth MONTH, I claim the whole month for celebrations starting June 1st - it's also a very transformative month in the calendar year. While it's not halfway through the year - that's actually July 1st, I just realized that myself this weekend - it has always represented a fresh start in a sense. Whether it's Memorial Day Weekend which officially kicks off the Summer Vibes, or it's the triple digit weather running rampant in various parts of our country, June is truly a special month.
Being that this month officially kicks off my celebration of induction into the next year of my life, I thought what better time to invite some newness into my routine. Me??? Changing up the routine?! Shocking I know - more on that later.
Nevertheless, I noticed that I've been feeling bogged down by my journaling routine more than energized by it. Do you ever have that feeling? Where you've been doing something a certain way for so long that you're afraid to change it but when you allow yourself to take a step back from whatever that thing is, you realize that perhaps it's no longer serving you in the way it once was?
Before you get too deep here, for me, that "thing" was my journaling routine.
To be fair, I established my daily journaling routine back in March of 2020. It was at the height of the pandemic when my day to day life was truly shooketh to it's core. I went from 5 days a week in office, working most weekends, running around like an actual crazy person who barely had time to eat a solid meal let alone spend time with her prized possession (my dog, my dog is my prized possession), to suddenly living at home with my mom, searching for work to keep my mind active and busy while being cut off socially from friends, family and everyone in between. Oh and now (FINALLY) spending every waking moment with my dog - yay to that though am I right or am I right??
In an effort to be gentle with myself and to document this moment in time, I turned to my trusty journal. At that time, I used my journal as a guide to establish some kind of daily routine, to give myself props for the things I HAD accomplished in any given day, and to allow myself the space to share my feelings which also changed day to day let's be real.
Fast forward to a year+ later and this "new normal" has truly become the normal and I seem to find myself back in that pre-pandemic world, jumping from Zoom meeting to Zoom meeting, trying to squeeze in the activities that bring me joy in between hours of staring at my computer screen every day. I no longer find fulfillment in listing out my schedule for that day in my journal hour by hour. In fact, to be quite honest, I kind of find it to be a chore! RED FLAG.
So I took a good hard look in the mirror over the weekend - hey girl how you doin' - and realized that it was time for a change. What once served me when it comes to my journaling routine is no longer serving me and guess what? THAT'S OKAY!
What's important is to come to that realization with yourself. Don't be afraid to sit yourself down and have that coming to Jesus moment and deep dive into your journaling routine (or whatever it may be really) and reflect on whether or not it's still serving you in the way you intended it to.
SO, to make a long story even longer, I decided to change my journaling routine June 1st. Ironically I just finished the last pages of my previous journal yesterday (oddly perfect timing I know) and cracked open the pages of this fresh journal with a fresh outlook and fresh template this morning on June 1st.
You all know what a big advocate I am for daily journaling and writing so I wanted to share this moment of reflection and transformation with each of you in the hopes that perhaps it will inspire you to give yourself more moments of grace and understanding if something isn't quite working out how it once did for you. Don't be afraid to lean into that, listen to that internal voice making that soft, perhaps whispering suggestion and allow it a platform to speak. I'm thankful that I allowed mine the space to share and thus birthed an upgrade to my daily journaling template.
Here she is in all her glory:
Morning Pages -- Inspired by The Skinny Confidential. 3 pages in the morning of stream of consciousness writing. I still do this FIRST thing in the morning. Before looking at my phone, before consciously rubbing the crusties out of my eyes, journal is open, pen is in hand and I get to writing what's on my heart and in my soul. This usually takes me about 30 minutes or so.
Things I Accomplished Today -- To me, this is valuable. To you this might not be and that's totally okay. Personally, I get extremely hard on myself if I don't fully utilize every waking moment of each day to it's fullest capacity. Call it a character flaw, call it what you want but writing down all of the things big AND small that I accomplished in that given day is a moment of pride for me. Again, going back to the big and small piece. These accomplishments can be something as simple as I had a great night's sleep or something as big as I wrote a new post for my blog today. Identifying the things that I actively did in that day helps me to celebrate myself more and downplay myself and my accomplishments LESS.
Feelings Check-In -- I give myself this space at the end of the day for a check-in. As I lay my head on the pillow at night, I like to provide myself the opportunity to release feelings - both good and bad - from the day to ensure I'm going to sleep with a light heart and mind. Sometimes how I wake up in the morning and relay my initial feelings toward that day in my Morning Pages is not the same as how I feel going to sleep at night so I think it's important to identify that and perhaps reflect on why that change occurred.
Count My Blessings -- This is a practice I started I think last April because of the book The Secret and have since carried over into this year and will continue to make an integral part of everyday journaling. This practice alone has changed my life. Sitting down at the end of the day and writing a minimum of five things that I'm grateful for - again big and small - helps me to put things into perspective. What started off as a challenging practice has become second nature by this point and has truly transformed my outlook on life.
There you have it, the newly updated daily journaling template as of June 1st, 2021. To reiterate, this is the template I landed on that encompasses all the things I want to include and find value in including in my daily journaling routine. The beautiful thing about daily journaling (well, one of many beautiful things) is that no two routines are the same. It's a personal experience. What works for me may not necessarily work for you and that is okay. In fact, it's more than okay, it's beautiful.
At the end of the day what matters most is that we're giving our heart and our mind the space to express itself on paper. Trust me, that's the life-altering, transformational goodness. If you haven't discovered that already, I challenge you to join me for a month of daily journaling in June. I promise you won't regret it and you won't look back to a life before daily journaling. Join me.