Did you know that people who write down their goals essentially double their chance of accomplishing them?
This proved true across all types of people and goals. In fact, journaling (along with mediation and reading) is the most consistent habit you will find across the world's most successful individuals.
Why does journaling work? Is it the physical act of writing down commitments or the consistent visual that re-focuses our overstimulated brains?
The reason journaling works is a combination of this (and more).
Writing Vs. Typing
Writing blends the right brain and left brain thinking while calling on our muscles to pull concepts from our minds. In other words, it’s a complex process that stimulates our creative and logical tendencies and impacts us in a distinct way.
Because we are free to draw arrows, diagrams, and personal slang, our writing is unique to us. When we re-read it (even years later) we can recall our thoughts and feelings during that time.
Typing, on the other hand, requires less creativity and personal flourishes. Because word processors are constrained, so are we. Second, Google Docs and the like are not physical. We don’t see them again unless we choose to retrieve them from our drives and desktops. Our typed thoughts become lost among the spreadsheets and dog gifs.
Commit It To Memory
Writing things down helps you commit something to memory. This is because of the physical connection, unique rephrasing we do before we push the pen down, and the infrequency of writing in general. And if our habits aren’t at the forefront of our memories, how will we actively achieve them? The short answer is we won’t.
Physically writing and consistently journaling can help reduce your stress levels. This works in two ways:
Writing Goals: When you write down SMART goals, you can truly visualize them in an organized manner. They are now official and your new reality. There is no more questioning whether it’s perfect or the perfect time. It’s in ink. This seemingly simple notion can impact your goals and help you take action to achieve them.
To-Dos: Writing down what you need to accomplish in the short term is also beneficial for a few reasons. It lets you organize your to-do list, allows you to see the bigger picture (and what should be prioritized), and gives you substantial satisfaction to cross something off your list. When the to-do list is complete, you can effectively minimize your personal stress levels.
Unloading Emotional Stress: Open journaling lets you quickly and reliably unload emotional baggage. Freewriting can be therapeutic in a time of stress.
Journaling is one of the few places you can be personal and honest with yourself. This honesty and openness naturally spill into other areas of your life--from business to family to friends and beyond. So many self-help books and influencers claim this hack will improve happiness, but they always fall flat. The solution that has been scientifically proven to help regulate your mood is writing.
So pick up a pencil, grab a journal, and start unloading your thoughts onto paper. It can help you set goals, achieve them, reduce stress, and become more present.
Journaling creates noticeable benefits. We challenge you to start journaling in the OAK Journal, a performance journal that blends journaling, meditation, and habit-forming.
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