Start Writing in
a Journal Everyday
Some of the world's most influential men—from Benjamin Franklin and General George Patton to George Lucas and John D. Rockefeller—made a point of writing down their thoughts each day. And many of today's most successful people do the same. Because, both then and now, these journals or pocket notebooks serve two distinct purposes: In the short term, it's a cathartic release of your thoughts and in the long term, it stands as an honest record of your life. Your ideas, achievements, hopes and fears captured for posterity. A journal is an intimate, safe environment in which to better become to person you want to be. The process of organizing a messy tangle of thoughts into coherent sentences will help you better clarify what you truly care about. The intention of sitting down to write every day will compel your mind to recognize progress. Don't worry about how much to write—there will be days that your thoughts will pour out. And other days, you'll only have a little to say. The key is to write every day. And here's why.
It Boosts Your Mental Health
According to studies by the University of Rochester, journaling is an ideal outlet to manage anxiety and reduce stress, while helping you prioritize problems, fears and concerns. The process of writing, researchers found, helps you establish order when your world feels like it's in chaos. Oftentimes, it's hard to disconnect from our daily life—be it work, relationships or other responsibilities. But taking a few minutes to settle into your own thoughts and focus on what you're thinking and feeling and planning in the moment is an ideal way to break from all those things pulling at you.
It Helps You Achieve Your Goals
"You are 42 percent more likely to achieve your goals just by writing them down," says life coach and author of Living Forward, Michael Hyatt, citing a Dominican University study. "It forces you to clarify what you want, motivates you to take action and enables you to see—and celebrate—your progress." After all, success can be quickly forgotten. But written goals are like mile-markers on a highway. They enable you to see how far you have come and prove that we've solved problems in the past. Not only does this make for great motivation, but it's also a serious justification for a raise or promotion at work when it comes time to talk to the boss.
It Improves Your Learning Capabilities
Think back to your days of taking notes for school. It can be difficult to retain information we hear or see. But we tend to remember things much more clearly when we write them down. Even if you never go back to re-read your notes (or in this case, your journal). And regular writing has been proven to help you learn to process and communicate complex ideas effectively.
It Increases Your Gratitude
Want to change your outlook and feel exponentially better about your trajectory in life? Make a conscious effort to include some gratefulness into your daily writing. You'll find that you begin to notice the little things for which you can be thankful for and see an improvement in your overall mood and outlook.
Volume 9 // 2017
When we started our 31 Days series, way back in 2009, it was an idea that began out of the natural tendency to see the new year as a restart of sorts. Each day, we put up a short tip or trick to help readers get a fresh start to the new year and step up their game. Then we did it again the next year and it's grown every year since, proving to be one of Valet.'s most popular series ever. This year, nearly a decade in, we've shifted the focus just a touch—narrowing in on skills and attributes we believe make you a better man. Little things that have a big, lasting impact on your life and the lives of those around you. Everyday this month, we'll introduce a topic or idea aimed at helping you look your best, feel great and be the civilized 21st century gentleman we all strive to be. Best of luck in 2017 and thanks for reading.