Day 30: Where can I get support to keep journaling after the 31-day challenge?
They say that it takes two to three weeks to develop a habit.
There are lots of theys who have said this. I’m not sure I agree.
Starting habits that are good for you can be hard. It’s hard to get to the gym three or four times a week. Challenging to meditate daily. A struggle to make the time to write in your journal.
But it is damn sure easy to eat potato chips everyday. And sitting on the couch for five hours of television each night? Easy peasy.
The stuff that’s really good for us is sooo much harder to do.
It requires focus and energy spent making the decision to do something different and then the drive to take the first step.
They also say the first step can be the hardest of all. I agree with this.
It does not take any extra special energy to skip going to the gym. It is easy to turn on the TV and get absorbed in fiction or reality. It can be much more difficult to sit down with a pen and look at the story of your life, instead of a made up story that belongs to someone else.
We live in a world busting at the seams with diversions.
We experience this every time we pull up Facebook and then wonder what the hell just happened to the last hour. And damn, that was the hour that we were going to head out for a walk.
My point here is first to issue a gentle warning. When you make a decision to participate in a challenge, like this 31 Days of Journal Writing challenge, you are committing to an action, you have the support of a group to keep you going, and you see an end. A time when it’s over.
Even though writing in your journal may feel like a habit now, it will be incredibly easy to slip back into a place where you no longer have to do it, so you put it off.
In fact, when you signed up for the challenge, you didn’t accept the commitment of forming a lifelong habit, you accepted the commitment to journal for 31 days. So, really, if the intention was for you to become a lifelong journal writer, this was a good start, but now you will need a new source of motivation to keep you going.
Having to answer to someone else does wonders to make us get out of our own way and get our act together.
Literally, get our act together to take action and move forward in some capacity.
If you want to keep journaling, you’ll need to make a commitment to keep journaling. The reason why you journal will become absolutely critical to you taking the next step forward and maintaining your momentum.
We like to start and finish things in our world. The irony here is that we like projects to start and even to finish, we like the change. (And yet a lot of us fight change tooth and nail and resist it with every ounce of energy we have within us – guilty!)
If you want to keep writing, you’ll need a reason to write.
From time to time an event will come up that I want to write about and I can’t wait to pick up my pen. Other times I notice that I am avoiding getting any writing done. Usually because I don’t want to deal with what I need to write about.
What a sorry ass cop-out. When this happens I have to remind myself that writing in my journal makes me feel better, plain and simple.
This also works when I believe that I’ve got nothing to say. That is a cop-out. There is always something to say.
We’re not writing in our journals to win awards. Or even approval from another person.
We write in our journals because we know its good for us. We have junk in our heads that we need to clear out in order to get to the good stuff. We have to make room for ideas, inspiration, gratitude, love, adventure, manifestation, and we make that space through the processing of keeping a journal.
So keep it going after the 31-day challenge. Find a place you can connect with to hold you accountable. My journal writing movement is online and can be found at #journaljoy. You can also find journaling resources and motivation on my Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram accounts. Look for Joyful by Design.
You don’t have to do it all alone.
What I know for sure (one of my favorite catchy lines that I just love – thank you Oprah!) is that writing in your journal is one habit you will not regret. Best case scenario because you will want to recall the details of a memory or pass on your journal to a loved one someday.
Worst case scenario is that you develop memory loss as you age and your journals hold evidence of a life lived.
And of course there are a dozen other reasons to pick up your pen and write. You have to find the reason that most resonates with you and connect with it to keep on keepin’ on. Write it on a Post-it Note and put it somewhere prominent. Add a reminder to your calendar. Keep your journal with you so you can write at lunch or when you grab a coffee.
You’ll feel better, get more done, and live a fuller life when you are more engaged with your own experience. I promise.
Like this article? Please feel free to use it on your own blog or newsletter. I simply ask that you please include this blurb:
Sara Marchessault is a coach, writer, and mom who helps busy women use journaling to create more space in their life for being productive without feeling overwhelmed. Visit www.saramarchessault.com to get your FREE Journal Protection Plan and start using your journal to create more joy in your life.