For AP Language and Composition class, we were assigned an open-ended project. We needed to conduct our own experiment that would somehow improve the overall quality of our lives over the course of (roughly) the month of December. The minute I received the project, I knew that I wanted to journal in some way.
I have attempted to start a steady journal multiple times in the past already. I will get a burst of inspiration and excitement at the thought of having details of my whole life on paper for me to look back on. Ironically, each time I have tried journaling, I always quit because of how busy my life gets. Having other factors on my plate each day, I quickly lose the drive I once had to make journaling a habit and forget that I even started.
With this new project, I figured that it would be a great opportunity to restart my goal of keeping a steady log of my life.
The form of journaling I am practicing in this experiment is gratefulness journaling. Rather than writing a page long summary of my day, I make a bulleted list of anything positive in the day that I am thankful for. This can include events, people, and just simple observations or things that made my day brighter.
For each completed week, I will write an update on how the experience is going and its impact in my life so far.
The goal of this project was to choose an experiment simple enough as to not seem like a chore or take up too much time, and I can say that this form of journaling fits this well! I have had a busy week this week in terms of school work, but the journal does not feel like a form of homework or another thing I need to check off my to-do list. However, I have had to occasionally remind myself to do it anyway. I hope as I continue this routinely that it becomes more of a subconscious habit, as I think that ending your day thinking about the positives, as well as making note of the little joys in the day will put me in a good frame of mind overall.
This week I found it especially helpful to journal since it’s a week before vacation. As most do, I find myself wishing away the weeks until I can finally get a break from school. Thinking about it, I realize that constantly looking to the next thing isn’t a good way to go through life, when there is constantly so much good around you no matter what. Writing these things down helps me appreciate each day, rather than anxiously awaiting them to be over.
This week was, again, a pretty hectic week with the holidays approaching. It can be difficult to even process what is happening around you and to resist rushing through to vacation. Journaling something from each day has definitely been helpful with this and truly appreciate each moment in time before it passes by. Now, even when it does pass, I know I will have to opportunity to look back on it and remember, which is a cool thing.
Journaling during the holiday break was a good experience and allowed me to feel especially mindful and present within each day. Even fun times like Christmas and New Years can be a difficult time for many with all the expectations of what it has to be like and what can make them perfect. When it doesn’t fully match up, it’s easy to feel disappointed. However, taking the time to appreciate all the small things can help break down these expectations and make one realize what actually matters in the big picture, which are times that make one happiest.
As my month period of gratefulness journaling closes, I can overall say it has been a great success and recommend it to anyone and everyone. Personal reflection is often frowned upon as being cheesy and unnecessary, when in actuality it is very beneficial in one’s life. Journalling does not have to be a chore or take a large chunk out of one’s time each day. Through my experience with just four to five bullets a day, it can be a simple practice with satisfying results.