What a journal practice “should” look can lead to some of the biggest misconceptions people have about journaling.

I’ve seen in it in the personal development space quite a bit and I want to write about them because some of these things I encountered myself which led me to struggle with my journaling practice. I am going to share some of the misconceptions people have or that I encountered myself.

Journal every day

There are a ton of people who shout from the rooftops that it needs to happen every single day. And I am here to tell you, no it doesn’t. I don’t journal everyday, unless you count my three things I am grateful for. But when it comes to dealing with problems or other challenges, I don’t experience them every day. Sometimes I feel called to write because I am being guided to – this can be daily for a week or once a week. I journal most often when I need clarity about something.

Journaling about yourself is selfish

When you take care of yourself in every way – physically, mentally and spiritually – then you can be your best version of self in any given moment. And if you can do that then my next thought is that you will be the person you partner, child, friend or someone else needs you to be. Journaling is about self-reflection and you have to know what you’ve done and where you been and what you’ve achieved in order to reflect on it.

Journaling can only be done by hand

While writing by hand is my preferred way of journaling that doesn’t mean that is true for you. You may prefer keeping a digital journal – nothing wrong with that in the least. I fully believe we have to figure out what works best for us.

Journaling is rehashing the past

While this is true in some aspect – especially when your purpose may be to rewrite your stories, thoughts and beliefs, that isn’t true. Journaling is also very much about the present and even what you’d like to achieve in the future. I believe writing about past events and experiences is important if you want to heal. We all have a shadow side – the side that doesn’t always handle things well, fly off the handle emotionally or being tripped up by something. I found that journaling about these experiences gives me a space to acknowledge how I reacted, how I could have reacted better and how I will handle similar situations moving forward.

Journaling is a waste of time

Yeah I don’t agree that’s for sure because one thing I know to be true for me is that the practice of journaling has changed my life in ways I couldn’t have believed had you told me before I started. Writing my affirmations for 30 days made me feel empowered and confident in 2011, writing out my vision has helped me set goals that felt good to me and were led by intuition, writing about a challenge I was facing helped me problem solve and take action accordingly. I think the thing to keep in mind that some change doesn’t happen overnight and it’s a process that requires patience.

Are there other misconceptions people have that you think I should address? Let me know in the comments.

September Journal Prompts

What are your plans for the fall season?

Describe your experiences when you were in college.

If you are a parent, what would you love to do with your kids this month?

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