4 Lessons I Learned From Journaling Every Day For a Month

After seeing artsy photos of journals all over my Pinterest over the past few months, I decided to buy into the trend and give it a try. I was looking for a second semester pick-me-up, and I figured learning a bit more about myself couldn’t hurt. So, I bought “Start Where You Are,” a journal designed by Meera Lee Patel, a self-exploration enthusiast. The journal pairs inspirational quotes with daily prompts that make you think about who you are, what you want and how you’re living your life. Here are some lessons I’ve learned after answering the prompts for about a month:


1. Self-Reflection Doesn’t Have to Take Hours

One of the reasons I’ve struggled to keep journals in the past is that they always seemed to take too much time out of my day. That’s why I was thrilled when I realized most of the activities in my new journal were quick — only a few minutes long. Even though I wasn’t spending tons of time on them, I could still feel the impact. Taking a few minutes out of your day to reflect can really help you center yourself. Plus, the task of self-exploration seemed much less daunting when the journal presented them as cute, daily activities.


2. We Have a Tendency to Go Through the Motions

I’ve always considered myself to be a purposeful person; but this book gave me a run for my money. A lot of the prompts forced me to address the real reasons underlying my actions. Was I going after a job because it looked fun and interesting, or because it would look good on a resume? Was I considering majors about which I was passionate, or ones in which I knew I could find stability and job security? People always tell us that college is the time to figure ourselves out and to try new things. However, far too many of us fall victim to the pressure the rest of the world imposes upon us; far too many of us abandon what we’re passionate about because pursuing it doesn’t fit well in the stereotypical life plan.


3. Analyze Your Emotions

A lot of us (myself included), don’t like to dwell on why we're feeling a certain way. But, journaling has made me realize that you're more at peace with where you’re at and how you’re feeling when you know what’s behind your emotions. Don’t push your feelings to the side; spend some time thinking about what caused them and what you can do to either maintain a positive attitude or move on from a negative one. We have feelings for a reason, and it’s about time we start listening to them.


4. Find Your Inspiration Everywhere

Not going to lie, I’m a total sucker for a sappy inspirational quote. Still, I didn’t realize how nice it would be to see even the tiniest bit of inspiration every day until I started journaling. The quotes may not have always related to my daily life, but those words of wisdom are always soothing to read. If you don’t love quotes like I do, try to keep an eye of for inspiration in your everyday life instead; it's everywhere if you take time ot look for them! Maybe it’s an unusually sunny on a day when the forecast said it was going to be cloudy; maybe you hit shuffle on a playlist on the way to class but still somehow managed to hear all your favorite songs. Whatever it is, take a look around you, and find some good in the world. When we ignore the beauty around us, dwelling on the negatives becomes way too easy. Keep in mind, there's positivity and inspiration everywhere!


I wasn’t expecting an impact of this magnitude when I bought the journal. Before journaling, I didn’t realize the importance of taking time — even just a few minutes — to reflect on my day and my life. Sure, it’s so easy to get caught up in social media and in what everyone else is doing; but try using that time to focus a bit on yourself instead. Use a bullet journal, a book of quotes, a bible journal or even just a blank notebook to learn more about yourself; use them to gain some perspective and some inspiration — two things we could all use some more of.