Most of us have been told at some point in our lives that we should keep a diary or a journal. If you haven’t been given that advice, or if you haven’t heeded it, I am here to implore you to do so. 

In my mind, there is a subtle but real difference between a diary and a journal, but this may be a personal bias more than anything else. For me, a diary suggests a place where one chronicles what has happened in one’s day, or in recent times. This acts largely as a memoir of sorts. The individual may look back at their diary from time to time, or future generations may find interest in reading it. Forme, a journal implies more of a working book. It’s a place not so much meant to document what has already transpired, but rather where thinking on paper and planning for the future happens.

I have been steadily filling journals for roughly 20 years now, and no other activity in my life has done as much to help me achieve success. This is a very powerful habit to adopt. It is a valuable tool for developing an introspective and purpose-driven life. 

Working in a journal may seem like a lot of unnecessary work or a waste of valuable time, but I can assure you that that isn’t so. Journaling may be the most useful activity you will ever add to your personal development arsenal. If there is any other instrument that can accelerate and focus one’s trajectory toward success faster, I am unaware of it.

I recommend that anyone serious about getting involved in this endeavor acquire a proper journal. I would not suggest using a loose-leaf or spiral-bound softcover notebook for this purpose. Instead, I advise that you invest in a high-quality hard-bound journal. 

Understand that what you are buying is an empty book. At first, it may seem curious or even foolish to spend anywhere from 10 to 50 dollars for a book filled with blank pages, but I don’t agree. Spending that kind of money on a journal will challenge you to write something in it, which is worth more than what you paid for it. Certainly, I think the thoughts and ideas I have put down in my journals are worth far more than $50. 

And since I have purchased quality journals, I now have a beautiful library of them in my home. Each one is a handsome book that I can leave behind as a part of my legacy when I move on to the next phase of this eternal journey. I don’t want to leave my legacy on scraps of torn off legal pads and paper napkins in a junk-drawer somewhere. I take pride in my ideas and my writings, and so should you.

Many people ask me what they should write in their journal. Well, the answer to that is quite simple – write whatever you feel like writing. Write down your goals and your dreams first and foremost. Put timelines and deadlines on these ambitions. Calculate numbers and jot down new ideas and aspirations. Record inspirations that flash on the screen of your magnificent mind – otherwise, they are easily forgotten and often forever lost. Cut articles that you’ve read out of magazines and tape or staple them into your book. Sketch plans for new projects you have in mind. Often, a simple drawing is the first step in transmuting pure thought energy into its material form in the physical realm. Reproduce inspiring quotes you’ve heard or read. Impactful words that affect us emotionally can frequently motivate us to be the best that we can be. Perhaps writing out the lyrics of a song that touched you and gave you the desire to take on some new venture would be helpful. 

There is a strong connection between the mind and the hand. By physically writing things down long-hand they become more deeply and permanently imprinted on the subconscious mind. The handwritten, pen, and paper approach will reinforce a healthier, more positive, self-concept, or paradigm. This reflects how you see yourself and your role in the world. Writing in a notebook is markedly different than keyboarding on a laptop or using a smartphone. I believe the impression on the central nervous system is not nearly as profound when using digital devices. This is an extremely important concept.

Put in your journal whatever you wish. That is one of the most beautiful things about journaling – it’s a private process, and there are no formal rules. You can also use this platform as a diary. You can reflect on your day, your experiences, and your life. You can use your journal to keep track of your success and analyze setbacks and failures so that you can learn from those moments as well. In this way, your journal can act as a scorecard of your life. This part of the process is not meant to be a tool with which you can beat yourself up about mistakes and shortcomings. Instead, it is a useful device for raising awareness, learning, and growing.

Hopefully, your journals will become an essential part of your daily routine and a valuable part of your personal library. Journaling will give you a chance to slow down a fast-paced life and think more deeply about who you are, where you are, and where you wish to go. It will allow you to plan out that journey in great detail as well. 

I strongly advise you to make this practice an element of your daily routine. It has paid extraordinary dividends in every facet of my life, and I’m sure it will in yours as well.