- Mohamad Kalaaji
24 April 2019 marks the two year anniversary of daily journaling, I have been documenting in details every single day for the past two years, the one thing that I have feared doing for a good portion of my life have finally proved to be beneficial.
This blogpost will explain why I took this step and what are the benefits that I have seen from doing this, it might persuade you to do the same.
Why I did this in the first place?
To make it short: faced a good amount of bad events in my life that I wasn’t happy about and I needed a mechanism to declutter my mind and take action. After trying multiple methods, daily journaling is by far the most effective method that have changed my life for the better and made me the person who I am today.
At this moment I am halfway through my fifth journal, writing a total of 883 pages throughout those two years without missing a single day at all. (Talk about consistency)
It is not a typical diary
When I was a kid, I used to have a diary (which fyi I have it till this moment with all of its childish scribbles and doodles) and I used to document my days. I used to document when the school takes us on trips or when an event happened like my birthday or when I got my first Playstation 1 and 2 (magical moments aren’t they)
As I grew older, I thought that having a diary is childish since you tend to write about your day and how you felt about it, you are exposing yourself deeply on pieces of paper.
When you were a kid, you are not going to write a lot of events and the most embarrassing thing you might write is when you have a crush on a classmate (which it might become something in the future but ends after shifting classes or changing schools)
But as you grew older, you tend to write about personal things that might change the trajectory of your life (like changing your job or marriage) since you have to take important decisions and reflect on multiple past events and actions in details to be able to take the right action.
They might be embarrassing to have and the majority will opt to not write about those things because they fear the judgement of others. There is no shame on writing things down if it means to save you a huge amount of emotional distress and drama along with taking the right action.
Journaling was more of a brain dump to me, not only I used to write what I have done in a certain day to remember past actions in the future but reflect on what I should do. When you write everything down on paper, you tend to clear up space in your mind to think about other important things and not dwell on past events that we might overthink about.
Everyone has a story in my journals, and they have a story of their own
We always remember the bad things that a certain person have done to us in the past since it affects on an emotional level, yet we tend to forget about the good moments that happened in between that we always take for granted.
Not everyone is bad, deceiving, naive, or egoistic as you might think but we might face certain events that makes us focus on the bad things rather than judging them in a fair way. When you journal on a daily basis, you tend to capture those moments whether it was fun or not, then you would look at them in a third person perspective and judge that person for what he/she has done.
I have seen a lot of people coming in my life and going out for good but every one of them does have a story documented in my journals till eternity, and I am forever grateful for what they have provided.
We might have shared good moments that worth remembering, and we might have faced obstacles that made us change directions in life, yet that doesn’t mean we should throw away all the good things from one bad moment, neglect the good that has been bestowed on us, or the good actions that we have done that might have changed someone else’s life for the better.
Everyone that I have met has a story worth talking and documenting about, the struggles and issues that this person is currently facing or faced in the past along the events this person deals with on a day to day basis.
And there is a set of people who decided to trust and talk about personal events that might have bothered them as a venting mechanism, ranging from abuse to psychological issues. Although I am not an expert in the psychology field but I have documented a fair amount of issues that I have never thought of and tried to comfort the other person as much as possible.
You need to remember that everyone is fighting in this life to survive, yet each person’s battle is different from yours. The point is to be more sympathetic towards others and see the good that they have provided along with understanding their point of view and perspective of life with no judgement at all.
Yet the end, my journals are not documenting about my life solely but the lives of others who are sharing my days along the way.
Documenting your crafts
This section is pretty straight forward: I have documented my progress on doing things in my life ranging from personal to professional milestones.
A good example is my reading challenge of 2020 when I decided to read 52 books for the entire year or 1 book a week (since a year is made up of 52 weeks). I wrote about the struggles and the upcoming thoughts that raced in my mind (one notable note is when I said that I have lost my mind for putting this high milestone) yet at the end I have achieved it and it was easier than I have expected it.
Not only documenting your crafts but advancing your toolset like I have upgraded from regular notebooks to leather styled notebooks and shifted my pens from ballpoint to fountain pens that I fill them up using an ink bottle (which not only easier to use but more economical and environmental)
Be more forgiving to yourself
We tend to dwell ourselves for what we have done wrong and wish if we can go back in time and fix these mistakes, neglecting all the good we have done or learn from the process.
When you document your life, not only you will remember the good things that you have done but be more forgiving to yourself for the bad things that occurred and learn from it.
You are able to identity what are the key major actions that caused this certain event and learn to prevent them in the future or don’t do something similar.
There are times that the blame is not on us but we carry those burdens on our shoulders for no reason, this happens due to a lack of clarity and understanding of the event itself which journaling tend to solve by giving you a source of truth of facts and events to judge and take action from.