Journaling goes far beyond just keeping a diary. While with the classic approach you simply summarize your thoughts until you have a collection of wild feelings and experiences in front of you, with the modern diary method you write more purposefully and give the structure of your thoughts. This allows you to consciously set priorities, achieve better learning effects and get rid of negative moods.
Critical Analysis And Motivation, Instead Of Long Blah Blah
When writing a diary, you should not limit yourself to a long-winded report of the day but go one step further. To be precise, you can kill two birds with one stone with your diary entry:
- Analyze the past day and draw your conclusions from it.
- Take your insights with you for the next day and get off to a motivated start.
And the two fundamental questions you should be asking yourself are:
- What didn’t go so well today?/How can I improve?
- What went particularly well today?/How can I really step on the gas tomorrow?
So, your journal fulfills a double function: you manage to kick your own ass and improve on your own and you are empowered to motivate yourself day by day. Let’s take a closer look at these two points.
Be Your Own Controller
During your studies (and in many areas of your life) you are completely on your own and responsible for yourself; nobody checks you regularly or looks over your shoulder. Of course, from time to time you will find yourself in situations where you have to deliver (during the exam phase, for example), but most of the time you have a lot of freedom and little external pressure.
By the way, if you need more time, you could delegate some of your written papers to essay writing services online.
But this freedom can lead to you letting yourself down and setting wrong priorities in your life. Therefore, you must become your own controller—and journaling is a great way to do that. If you regularly write down how you spend your time, you will quickly find out in which areas you can improve without being pointed out by painful external feedback.
I don’t mean that you should use your entire free time and plan it with work. You should only get a feeling for whether you are using your time for the things that bring you closer to your goals.
Gratitude Instead Of Dissatisfaction
But your diary also fulfills another – perhaps even more important – purpose: it helps you sort your thoughts and consciously control your focus.
Many people are dissatisfied with their lives and particularly susceptible to negative feelings – even though they are actually doing very, very well. The problem with this is often an unfortunate selective perception. In other words: We overlook the beautiful things and overestimate negative little things or are much too strict with ourselves. This makes us dissatisfied, unhappy, and unmotivated.
Your diary can help you at this point and counteract this with ready-made questions (I’ll get to that in a moment). With your daily analysis, you can easily ensure that you do not fall back into negative thought patterns and instead draw positive energy from the past day. Your diary turns your dissatisfaction with it into gratitude and new motivation for tomorrow.
So, you can start your journaling today. Enough theory now let’s write your first diary entry! To get you started, I have come up with a simple 3-step formula, each with three key questions. You can simply adopt this procedure at the beginning and try out how you get along with it.
Step 1: Daily Summary
The first step is to simply write down what happened to you today. The three key questions are:
- How was my day?
- What important happened today?
- Why was that important?
Step 2: Learning Effect
In the second step, you question your actions and analyze your day. The three key questions are:
- What didn’t go well today and why?
- How can I iron this out?
- What can I do better in the future?
Step 3: Motivation
In the third step, you draw strength from today and consciously direct your focus on positive things. The three key questions are:
- What went really well today?
- What do I want to achieve tomorrow?
- What three things am I grateful for today?
Just grab a blank piece of paper or a nice diary and just get started. If you don’t have time or are skeptical, skip step 1 and just answer the questions from step 2 and step 3. It only takes five minutes and will do you really well.