My second attempt at Journaling, how it is much easier to be consistent this time — using prompts (including Notion template)
We always try to improve our lives, from daily routine, habits, health, and so on. When we try to research some of the “self-development” techniques, journaling will be the first one on the list.
I’ve tried journaling before, but I always struggle when I need to write things on a blank page.
One day, I encountered one interesting video that pulled me in. It’s a video from struthless. Watching his story about how journaling changed his life inspired me to try journaling again.
His journaling method is using prompts, and this is the reason why I give journaling another chance.
But what are prompts? Prompts are like a question trigger to help you write down your thoughts, usually used to reflect on ourselves. It’s insanely helpful for me because whenever I decide to start writing on a blank page, I don’t know what to write.
Now, it’s time to choose the tool, physicals, or digitals. Writing in physical books has a better sensation for most people (including me!). Still, since I always liked it simple, easy-to-access, reliable, and fast, I decided to use digital notes instead. And that’s how my favorite tool, Notion comes into play.
With the template button feature in Notion, I know it will be less time-consuming to do daily journaling, which is essential if I want to make it a long-term habit.
Let’s start with why you need journaling. Journaling helps control your symptoms and improve your mood by helping you prioritize problems, fears, and concerns. It can also be used to track your progress to achieve your goals, like, are you on the right track? Do you have any progress in achieving your goals? And so on.
In my case, this is the reason why I want to start journaling:
- I want to know if I’m productive or not
- I want to see if I’m having fun with my life or not
- I want to evaluate my energy management
- I love to look back on what my day was like
After doing a lot of research and thinking about what potentially works for my needs, I decided to divide my journaling into four categories:
- Daily Journal
- Weekly Journal
- Monthly Journal
- Quarter checkup Journal (inspired by OKR)
Daily, Weekly, and Monthly journal is basically the same; it’s used for self-evaluation to track my goal’s progress. The quarter checkup, on the other hand, is quite different. It’s to make sure what I want to do with my life.
Unexpectedly, I love doing the quarter checkup; it feels like a face-to-face conversation with myself. It made me realize what I want in life and what’s hindering me from achieving it.
And finally, these are the prompts I decided to go with:
Daily, Weekly, and Monthly Journal
What was the best thing that happened to you?
- The highlight of the day/week/month.
- Gratitude for everything. Always take the positive impact from everything, despite what happened in life.
What was the thing that drained my energy the most?
- To evaluate my energy management.
- It offloads some pressure on my mind to write down what drained my energy the most.
- And, if I’m writing the same thing repeatedly, I can’t help but realize I need some change.
What did you produce?
- To know if I’m productive or not.
- To evaluate the pace of my work.
- Looking back at my progress can be a good reference for my future self.
What did you learn?
- To list any new knowledge that I learned.
- As a life experience archived, I write down something I should’ve done and shouldn’t have done.
- Looking back and recalling your experience is an underrated way to improve your self-growth.
Identify the urges you resisted
- Writing down my frustration can take off some weight on my mind.
Quarter Checkup Journal
What kind of life do you want?
- To know what I want in life.
- Writing it down makes so much difference compared to if you only have it in your head.
Are you happy with your life right now?
- To know if I need a significant change.
- To know if what I’m doing right now is on the right track or not.
- To tell if my progress in achieving my goals makes me happy or not.
What do you want to add to your life?
- To know what’s missing in my life.
- To know if there’s any area of improvement that I can tackle.
Why you’re not doing it?
- To know what’s hindering me from my goals.
- To evaluate if the reason why I’m not doing it is stupid or not.
- To see if it’s worth not doing it.
What would I do if I knew I could not fail and was not afraid of anything?
- I’m one of the people who always play it safe, so this question forces me to get out of my comfort zone.
- To know how far I can go if I’m not scared of anything.
What advice would I give someone else in my situation?
- One of the best ways to give a piece of advice to yourself is to pretend you’re advising other people.
- We all know we’re excellent at advising other people but not so much if doing it to ourselves.
What’s changed, I have in mind since last quarter?
- If my goals have changed, they perhaps are not a goal. Instead, it might be a compulsive wish.
- To know if I have different goals in mind compared to the last quarter.
Since I make this journaling platform on Notion, I decide to add more elements that I want to track. And, it’s my core habits.
I will share my journaling template for free at the end of this article (supported with a .gif files guide, so don’t miss out!)
The benefit of Journaling so far
- The most compelling question that made me realize I need immediate changes is What was the thing that drained my energy the most? — Writing it frequently forces me to make some changes. If I try to ignore it and keep writing the same thing repeatedly, I feel so stupid.
- Looking back on the hard work and progress I made feels so rewarding. What did I learn/produce today? question is proof that I made some progress. Even the smallest kind of progress will make me appreciate myself.
- The Quarter checkup journal made me more focused to achieve my goal, evaluating what’s really hindering me the most, and knowing what potentially I can achieve if there’s no risk in the world.
Currently, I only journal mostly for tracking my life progress, but in the future, I plan to upgrade my current journaling style and make a journal for different things, like:
- Annual review journal
- Journal when bad things happened
- Journal for relationships
- Journal for career
And, if journaling really benefits me in a long run, I might seriously consider making a journal for every single aspect of my life. Probably 😆
Before this post was posted, I actually have updated my journal with more things going on. I might make the sequel of this article later on the future.
If you’re interested, I also provide different free Notion templates in my new notion template site, mostly related to daily needs (something like Finance Tracker, Habit Tracker, etc). Check them out here.
Have any questions? Leave a comment or hit me up on Twitter @mrizkiaiman. Thanks for reading, any kind of feedback will be so much appreciated.