This piece is part of a month-long Wanderlust and YOGANONYMOUS series about the power of journaling.
If your best friend approached you and said, “I’m going to start a daily journaling practice,” would you respond with, “Oh, jeez. Are you sure? Do you really have that kind of time?”
If your answer is, “Yes, that is absolutely what I would say,” then I think you are not very nice and you need a time out.
Most of us would pat our pals on the back and say, “YAS, KWEEN, GET IT GIRL.”
So why don’t we use that same language with ourselves? Instead, we say things like:
“Journaling is such a powerful tool, but it’s so hard to remember to do it every day. I’m so busy.”
“I love writing, I just suck at it. I’m not very creative.”
“I get that it would probably help me work through some of my shit, but I’m just not sure what to do with all that.”
When we avoid doing something that we know is good for us, we are simply telling ourselves that we are not worthy of kindness, healing, and self-care. If you wouldn’t tell your best friend that he or she isn’t worthy of these things, why would you say it to yourself?
I regularly teach a writing and meditation class and my students all have the same question:
“How do you make sure you write and meditate every day?”
The answer is simple. And powerful:
Make it non-negotiable.
You go to the bathroom when you need to, right? If you prevent yourself from using the toilet, it leads to really gross, unsanitary (not to mention socially terrifying) things. So what if you applied that same mentality to a daily writing practice?
If you don’t take time each day to write in a journal, then all those unhealthy thoughts will get plugged up in your brain and explode out at your family and friends. Similarly, if you don’t record the beautiful moments and ideas, you could miss out on a really wonderful opportunity to feel a sacred moment of gratitude or step into your greatness.
TL;DR: No bathroom = poopy pants. No writing = poopy mind.
After you’ve decided to made it non-negotiable, the rest is rather simple:
- Set a larger goal. Why do you want to write every day? If you were to write every day for a year, what would you want the benefit to be? To simply listen to your own thoughts? To eradicate blocks? To trigger creativity? To develop your voice as a writer or a teacher? To process a loss? You choose.
- Break it into smaller goals. Set a short-term goal of committing to this practice for 30 days. If you want to theme your writing for a month, go for it. Though, I’m partial to writing for the sake of it. I’m too structured in every other area of my life, so I use this time to free myself of rigidity.
- Choose a time of day. Do you want to journal every morning or every night? Choose wisely and set a timer. Get up earlier every day or cut out earlier every night.
- Choose a time frame. Do you want to journal for at least five minutes every day? Do you want to journal until you fill a page? I journal every day just to fill one page. Sometimes I need more pages and I take them. I’m a grown woman. I do what I want.
Then do it. And then you’ll be doing it. Simple.
Writing regularly—specifically freewriting—is a very powerful exercise. Putting your pen on paper and writing continuously, forgetting about spelling, grammar, or topic, gives life to the stories you witness and tell (both to yourself and others) every day. Little by little, after a consistent practice, these raw—usually unpublishable—pages begin to unearth larger ideas and concepts. This is the practice of locating your inner teacher. You will begin to develop an awareness of the truths (and untruths) you are telling yourself and others. And then it’s on you to decide what to do from there. You’re a grown human and you can do what you want.
Remember: the only thing standing in your way is yourself.
Tatum Fjerstad is professional napper who can’t handle that Justin Timberlake loves another woman. When she’s not imagining what her life would be like with JT, she is mostly a human being teaching other human beings how to be okay with being human. She does this through movement, meditation, and writing. Tatum is here to be helpful, honest, and make you laugh, obvi. To learn more about how she does this, follow her on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, and at tatumfjerstad.com.