(originally written for reddit)
I have been doing journaling for over a year (each day) and am now fed up with the sheer number of shallow posts that only praise how good it looks (for example, I disagree journalling is art (visually speaking)).
Critical functions of a journal.
Asking and answering difficult questions.
Ask questions like these,
Was today I too critical of my younger brother? Why I was planning to watch porn today? (the sign of maybe too much free time, now let's fill it) Why am I ignoring my old friend to act busy? Why do I jump on an unnecessary argument over Twitter? Why do I feel the need to rationalize something I enjoy for others? etc.
Questions like this cut through the bone, that's how you live a conscious life and really act in the manner that's the highest and truest reflection of you.
Documenting your life
Some people burn their journals after usage (Brian from Optimize.me does it), but I am against it because (my theory), if you are unwilling to reread your old journals or feel bad reading old entries, then it means you have some form of lack of self-acceptance. That need of wanting to have a perfect life? yep, that's messing it up.
Clearing your mind
The brain won't stop thinking about problems until you do two things. Either solve that problem or make a plan to solve that. Craft your plan in your journal to save it securely.
Let's get started with advanced journalling,
Bullet journalling is a no-brainer. If you hate Bullet journalling, it's probably because you were wrongfully misinformed that it was merely a visual journal. If you hate physical notebooks, it's probably because you associate that negative feeling with the same thing when you have to do homework at school by hand (for a long time, I hated notebooks for this reason). But remember,
Prerequisite, before you read, follows it's advanced, hence you should be familiar with what bullet journaling is, a casual read isn't enough, you must have to try bullet journal for more than 4 months before it would be that valuable that I want to give you. Save it to read it later.
The main thing why it gained traction or why it "just" work for people is because of the different perspectives in the way you keep a notebook. Rather than trying to keep everything into its chronological (as it happens) order (as traditional journalling it was, which was good on it but didn't offer the ability to reference later, will talk about it later) you see your notebook as lego pieces.
If we are both journalling, it would never be the case that our journals or even though we have the same lego pieces (or the same type of notebook), the reason is what you do with those pages.
I have collections that directly reflect my state of mind or my life. The mere glance over my inbox will tell me what projects (like learning 'python' collection, working on my 'yt channel' collection), activities (my travel journey, like 'Mhow Trip' collection), stuff I love (topics like On Masculinity collection and post-modernism collection and semen retention collection), trackers (tracking everything I am putting into my stomach collection, and my workout journal collection).
Something bothering you? write about it. While doing deep work, got some billion-dollar idea? write about it and later after that deep work session, make a separate collection (giving some ideas the respect that worth pursuing) and make mindmaps or sketch or write why you think it will be a great idea.
Without a bullet journal's design that allows uncertainty of life, I would have probably left it a year ago. But its open system that welcomes the complexities of life (the act of articulating my life problem or decision I am overthinking in my Decision Journal collection allows me to really take a conscious decision).
An unexamined life isn't worth living. And a journal allows you to do exactly that.
At the end of the day, all the decisions you are taking and the life experiences you have now are making you a better person overall. And also, you are documenting your life. Your own handwritten notebooks are filled with mistakes, life experiences and tangibly taking up the place in your personal library. What's a better feeling than that.