Years ago I heard a leader say:

“Thoughts untangle themselves passing through the lips and over the pencil tips.”

When you have ideas they become clearer as you talk about them and write about them, rather than keeping them in your head. One way to write about your thoughts is to journal. Dan Rockwell shares some benefits of “Journaling” to get those thoughts and observations in writing so they help you and others you may lead.

Guest Post by Dan Rockwell

Maybe you hate writing. Perhaps you feel too busy. But journaling is centering in a world gone mad. Challenge: Try journaling 3-minutes a day for 10 days.

#1. See yourself:

Constant stress turns your brain to spaghetti. You think stupid thoughts. Journaling shows you your own craziness.

Record your thoughts to understand yourself.

#2. Discovery:

Writing is thinking. You think new thoughts while you record current ideas. One sentence leads to the next.

#3. Action:

Answer this simple question in your journal. “What do you want to do about that?” In your head it’s self-affirming to blame. Structured journaling enables responsibility-taking.

#4. Emotional expression:

You need a place to say things you can’t say in public. Go ahead. Write that stuff down. Find clarity by reading your own thoughts and feelings.

Great challenges require clear thinking.

#5. Goal setting:

Set and track a simple daily goal. Record one thing you must do today. Think of something that moves you toward the person you aspire to become.

#6. Memory:

You forget your own life. Jot down a few things you want to remember. Record a success. Document progress. Memorialize challenges you have overcome.

#7. Creativity:

Give expression to your creative side. Self-expression is freeing especially in a place that doesn’t directly impact others.

#8. Gratitude:

Write a sentence that begins, “I’m grateful for…”

Write another sentence that begins, “I’m grateful to…”

#9. Problem-solving:

Record three ways to solve a current challenge. Which one will you choose?

#10. Pattern recognition:

You repeat what you don’t notice. Skim your journal once a week looking for recurring topics. Savor joyful patterns. Confront painful patterns.

TIP: Don’t write War and Peace. Begin by setting a timer for three minutes.