By starting a journal, I changed my life in more ways than I could imagine. The words "know thyself" get thrown around a lot these days, and for a good reason. But what does it mean? Or more importantly, how can one learn to know thyself? Well, journaling is the answer.
Self-knowledge should be at the top of everyone's priority, but sadly it often takes a back seat; the benefits aren't immediately apparent, and usually, it's hard to look at ourselves in the mirror... biases, weaknesses, and all. However, that's precisely the reason you should strive for it. By merely becoming aware of these parts of you, you disarm them. Ultimately pushing you towards peace and happiness.
The simple act of converting your thoughts to ink teaches you so much about yourself; and how you think and act. You finally understand the patterns chaining you down, giving you the strength to break free.
The emotional intelligence gained not only lets you understand yourself, but also makes it easier to empathise. You must first know your own heart if you have any hope in understanding others.
Additionally, precious confidence is gained by doing something consistently; if you struggle with willpower, what can be more easily done than writing a few words in a notepad? If you don't want to write anything, write that down! Eventually, you'll be curious and find out why.
Before I started journaling I worried I wouldn't have anything to say. It turns out that really isn't a problem as long as you are self-acceptant and don't censor or judge yourself; if you struggle with this, I recommend dedicating a journal entry about something nobody knows about you, i.e. write down something that makes you feel uncomfortable, even when you imagine destroying/deleting it. This will help you get over restricting yourself, allowing you to write freely.
What I love about journaling is how easy it is, the benefits seem almost passive! Typical 'self-help' techniques like writing down your goals, what you've done that day, and what you would prefer to be doing etc. these all come naturally. And the benefit to your life is genuine.
What got me started was an article on the art of manliness, I had learnt that many of the people who inspire me all keep a journal, so I was already interested. If you have been considering starting, the article will make it remarkably easy. I recommend it.
No matter what you do, by doing more than listening to advice you have made a significant change. Taking action represents how you now understand/accept that your life is in your control and that you're willing to do something about it. I challenge you to try the 31-Day challenge that I linked, tell me how you feel after!