The Gift of Journaling

January 10, 2014 by  
Filed under blog

One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is the gift of a “journal of your life”.  I’m talking about something much more important than just keeping a diary.  Yes a diary is part of it–recording where you go, people you meet and what you experience–but to make it life enhancing and with maximum meaning, you must write and record your inner thoughts, not just what has occurred. Things like your biggest dreams, goals and ambitions will help you define what you were thinking about in prior years. You can find these insights to be extremely valuable when you go back and review those years.  It’s like having your own personal time machine.


In the last few days of 2013 and the first few days of 2014, I’ve had such a wonderful time  reviewing my past experiences including my trips, the people I’ve met, my various goals as they changed and re-focused over the years and, most importantly, my inner thoughts along the way. Think about it–what a great thing it is to be able to relive and bask in all that was great this past year and also have the opportunity to learn some valuable lessons from both the good and the bad stuff that happened. Sometimes it’s like reading about a totally different person; in many ways you are a different person now than you were a year ago.

Also try to take the time–usually at the end of a year or the beginning of a new year– to go back and revisit myself when I was a 30, 40, 50 or  60 years old.  In fact, I can even visit myself when I was 18 and 19 years old since that’s when I started my journal.  Believe me, some of my thoughts back then were down right funny and crazy. Sometimes, especially as I visit that 35 year old Mark Haroldsen I am embarrassed and don’t even like that guy.  Wow, was I ever a hyper driven self-centered business and real estate warrior.  That guy was so full of himself and with so much physical and mental energy! (I’d sure like some of the energy now but without the huge ego.)

If you have not kept a journal of your life before now, it’s not too late. No matter what age you are, be sure to write down what you are feeling as well as your inner most thoughts including your relationships, dreams and goals. Record your successes and failures and what it caused your mind to think. Express in detail your positive and negative thoughts, your great fears and your great strengths.   And when you use your own personal time machine and later review your journal, be it months or years later, I promise you will reap great rewards and learn so much about yourself. You will be thrilled that you took the time, even it is done just weekly or monthly or even once a year. I think to know yourself is probably the biggest “gift” that you can give yourself and to journal throughout your life is one of the best ways to do just that.


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