Over the past six years, I have maintained a daily planner to plan what I do each day and a habit tracker to track the habits I practiced each day. However, I always felt that something was missing.
Since a year, I have been maintaining a diary-cum-journal and there are 2 main reasons why I started this practice:
Tracking my meals: In 2018, I started tracking my meals in MyFitnessPal. However, as the years went by, no matter how much I exercised or how healthy I ate on a particular day, the stress of having to stick to a certain number of calories drove me crazy and would often backfire. On the other hand, not logging my meals made me reach for junk food even more as I wasn’t holding myself accountable. Overtime, counting calories was no longer my focus and the main reason for tracking my meals was to have some control over the food I ate. So, instead of tracking it in an app, I decided to write down my meals in a journal.
Gratitude journaling: You may have read countless articles about the importance of maintaining a gratitude journal, whose benefits include increased happiness and less chances of experiencing burnout. I used to maintain a gratitude journal when I was studying for CA Final, but once I started working this habit took a backseat. I wanted to start this practice once again and stick to it this time.
Each month I added new prompts to my daily journaling. Currently, I write/journal about:
What have I accomplished on a particular day?
What meals did I eat?
What exercise did I do?
What am I grateful for?
My daily affirmations.
How has this habit helped me?
Writing down my meals has helped reduce my anxiety to a great extent by helping me adopt a forgiving attitude towards myself – a “tomorrow is a new day, you can start again” attitude, especially on days when I eat a lot of junk food.
By writing down at least 3 things I am grateful for, no matter how bad my day was, I have felt happier, more fulfilled and less regretful, especially when I wake up the next morning.
Writing down my affirmations and repeating them multiple times a day has helped curb my negative thinking, allowing me to focus on and attract more positive things.
On days when I am very stressed, I write in detail about what caused me to feel that way. Writing down my problems has helped me come up with solutions much faster than when I overthink about them.
How you can start:
Set a time during the day when you can sit undisturbed for at least 20 minutes.
You can put on some instrumental music to calm your mind, which will help the words flow.
You don’t need a fancy diary. A simple notebook will do.
Ask yourself questions which matter to you or simply write about your day. As you practice this habit daily, you will automatically start thinking of new journal prompts based on your values and beliefs.
Here are a few journal prompts to get you started:
What have you accomplished today that you are proud of?
What are you grateful for today?
What mistakes have you made today which you regret and don’t want to repeat tomorrow?
What actions can you take today to make tomorrow easier and better?
Always remember that a habit can be formed only through consistency. So, include this journaling habit in your habit tracker, and if you do miss days in between, forgive yourself and start over.
Note about meal tracking:
In the beginning of a weight loss journey, it’s really important to count your calories, because in the end, weight loss can be achieved only when calories you expend are more than calories you consume. Many of us snack mindlessly on calorie-dense, non-nutritious food, without realizing that we have consumed 50% or more of our daily caloric limit in just one sitting. Calorie counting can help you decide which foods to include in your daily diet, and which ones you can limit to once a week. Once you get used to this, you can switch to writing down your meals in a journal like I do.
Thank you for reading! Stay blessed!