Sometimes, journaling can be like doing the dishes. You know it needs done. You know you’ll regret it and get overwhelmed if you don’t, but… you just don’t wanna. So you put it off. And before you know it a few months have gone by, but it’s not like anything really super exciting happened, so you’re getting away with it, right? You’ll wait until some big moment in life arrives and then you’ll journal, you promise yourself. Except that when that time happens, you’re so swamped with the details of life that it’s nearly impossible to chronicle your internal state of affairs. Eventually, you give up. And your life is passing without your inner thoughts, feelings, observations, hopes, dreams, decisions, the life-changing events, and the little moments that really make up the reality of life being set down to last.
The Bible tells us:
It’s a sobering thought, but true nonetheless. We don’t really know what tomorrow will bring. It seems to be that most of life is lived in the ordinary, slow, waiting mode, and then BOOM! the dramatic, life-changing events happen all of a sudden. Not just the scary, traumatizing stuff of life, but also the good, happy things full of love and joy.
Who will capture our lives to set down to be remembered if we don’t? Most of us don’t have biographers or will write a published autobiography. It’s up to us to record things so they didn’t happen in vain. Why does this matter so much? It matters for those coming after us (relatives or even non-relatives who maybe never knew us) because they can learn or identify from our lives. It’s like a snapshot of what people in our day and generation thought about the world going on around us. It also matters to us because someday we will hopefully be able to look back and see how far we’ve grown and matured. Or for us to remember things better. It gives a sense that our lives do matter.
Remembering the importance of journaling can help motivate us to ‘do those journaling dishes’ even when we don’t feel like it. I get in this slump lots of times. In fact, right now I’m going through a phase where I find it hard to do anything I should do and easy to do everything I shouldn’t! But I find it helpful to keep journaling by setting aside one day a week and making it a priority. First, I write about landmark events. Who had a baby? Who’s running for president? Then, I write about what stood out to me during the course of the last week. Maybe an argument I had with someone, or an achievement I earned. If nothing comes to my mind for either of these prompts, I come up with some sort of opinion or thought I’ve been holding in my mind lately. What are my favorite colors currently and why? What annoys me about certain people? I don’t just write about the flowery things of life. I try to be real.
Here’s a tip: It’s much, much easier to journal when you don’t have a boatload of important things to write about. Slowly processing through the last seven days can become more of a contemplative activity than a chore. And if something big happens (like someone ending up in the hospital), seven days are hard enough to document without having to play catch-up first.
What are some ways that you overcome procrastination in journaling?