Journaling for Men – Why, When and How?
We are not talking about ‘Dear diary’ entries here. Men’s journaling reaches far beyond that and there are many reasons for men to keep a journal.
Let us kick this article off by dispelling a few common myths:
Maybe you think only creative people should keep a journal? Wrong.
Or maybe you think it’s only for people who are highly emotional? Wrong.
Journaling is for women – there can’t be many men who complete journal entries? Wrong again.
Men’s journaling and the bullet journal community is all about becoming the best version of yourself with increased productivity, self-care and smashing your life goals.
What Is Men’s Bullet Journaling?
The bullet journal method is a planning system that was devised by a male – Ryder Carroll.
With the term ‘bullet’ relating to the layout, planning and productivity methods used, and ‘journal’ being a term that you’ve probably come across before, being a daily record of news and events, put the two together and what do you have?
Bullet journaling is a planning system and a great way to track the past, plan for the future – capturing your thoughts and plan daily activities, using a combination of short form sentencing and indexing.
Along with the organizational and planning benefits, there are many mindfulness, therapeutic and mental health benefits to be enjoyed through journaling.
9 Reasons For Men To Keep A Journal
Creating a daily journaling habit is a great thing to get you on top of your personal life and professional life.
Men’s journaling is proven to boost your mental state, productivity and the development of your physical health, by tracking things in your daily routine such as water intake, daily exercise and sleep patterns.
Here are the top 9 reasons to grab yourself a blank notebook and get cracking with your first journal entry…
1. Keeping A Journal Improves Your Memory
The sheer amount of information thrown at us in the modern world, can make it almost impossible to focus on individual thoughts for very long.
Sure, there are times when you might be lying quietly in bed, or maybe on holiday by the pool.
But let’s be honest, the vast majority of everyday life is spent with our own thoughts racing with jobs we need to get done, what’s coming up at work, important dates and any other vast range of things.
This is where the act of journaling comes in.
By quickly capturing any important ideas and thoughts on a blank page in your journal, you can come back to them when you have more time and build on your ideas.
This could be a new great idea for side hustles, a gift idea for someone or something you could add to a work project.
2. Avoid Distractions By Using A Journal
You would be forgiven for thinking – ‘why would I use a paper journal, when I can write down everything I need on my phone?’
And in theory, sure, you could open your phone and make lists and capture thoughts, but one of the best things about a physical journal is the complete lack of distraction, while also ensuring your daily journal entries sit somewhere completely independent of the phones we have become anchored to.
The notifications and alerts from our social media accounts, calendars and other apps are constant, and that’s before we even chose to take our phone out of our pocket and unlock it.
When we do this, there are even more banners, lights and colors all competing for our attention, so now ask yourself again – can you really focus on capturing your goals, thoughts and ambitions to the best of your ability on a phone?
Also, a reduction in screen-time and getting back to basics with a pen and paper with journal writing, is a powerful tool for clear thinking and improving your mental health through a mindful activity.
Taking some time outdoors to complete your journal entries is an even better way to avoid distractions and clear the mind.
3. Journaling Helps to Achieve Your Goals
Recent studies have shown that by writing down your goals you have a significantly higher chance of achieving them. In fact, you are 42% more likely to achieve the dream you have, by writing it down on paper regularly.
When the thought leaves your head and comes to life on paper, you are activating both the imaginative and cognitive sides of your brain.
This means that by seeing your goal come to life, it is no longer a fantasy, but now a reality that you have to act on.
But even with all of this being proven as a good idea, less than 20% of people capture their goals on paper.
So if you choose to take the first step and become one of the people that do, you are already placing yourself in the top 20% of people more likely to achieve their dreams and ambitions!
4. Maintain Focus Through Journaling
Life is rarely plain sailing.
It might be a situation at work or a hard time in your home life that can cause your focus to wander while you navigate these tough times.
I often found that I had all good intentions of completing a task, or I wanted to spend time planning for an important event coming up in my own life but got side-tracked by something else that needed doing right there in front of me that day.
I soon found that the daily exercise of capturing my goals on paper, kept them clearly defined and I was infinitely more likely to see them through.
By focusing on your journal entries, you will be mindful of the tasks you are laying out in front of you, clearly defining them and eliminating all other distractions.
Perhaps 15 minutes each morning while you are having a coffee, to set out the main priorities for the day ahead.
5. Journaling Makes You Accountable
The physical act of writing your plans and goals down, binds you to them in a way that is not possible if they stay in your head.
Seeing the goals you want to achieve, staring back up at your from your journal, means they are no longer optional but instead you will know they are real and you need to get them done.
Warren Buffett, one of the most successful investors in the world, has a globally renowned 3-step strategy for writing down and executing goals:
1. Write down your top 25 goals
This can be life goals, career goals, education goals, or anything else you want to spend your time on.
2. Circle your top 5 goals on your list.
3. Any goal you didn’t circle goes on an “avoid at all cost” list.
These are the tasks that are seemingly important enough to deserve your attention. But that isn’t moving you towards your long-term priorities.
Keeping the constantly changing priority of all these different goals in your head on a daily basis, makes it impossible to make progress.
Journal entries are the best way to see for yourself any progress you may or may not be making.
Whether that is the sleep you have had, the money you saved to start your own project, or weight you may be trying to lose.
Once it is written down in black and white – you are accountable.
6. Become an Organizational Wizard
Keeping track of your to-do lists and plans, might not be what springs to mind when you think of a traditional journal, but it certainly isn’t an aspect of the men’s journal that should be ignored.
The purpose of the bullet journal method set out by Ryder Carroll, is a way of formatting your lists so that you can either cross your tasks off as soon as you complete them or at the end of the day, migrate uncompleted tasks to the next day.
In his own words, a journal is “to help you track the past, organize the present, and plan for the future.”
Here are 4 organizational uses of a journal to get you started:
- Reminders (dates, times, places)
- To do lists
By using a simple series of bullet points and symbols in your journal on a daily basis, you will notice your time management and productivity go through the roof.
This will save you time and ensure you make the most of each day.
7. Men’s Journaling Improves Mental Health
This is potentially one of the best reasons for men to keep a journal.
Moving thoughts from your head into written form is proven to reduce stress levels and anxiety.
While it might not tackle the ‘thing’ that is causing the stress itself, it will lift the weight of keeping the problem inside, giving you more peace inside your mind.
You will also be able to look at your problems more objectively, giving you new ideas and approaches for how best to solve these stressors and lift them out of your life entirely.
If you are someone that tends to think the glass is half empty, or nothing ever seems to go your way, then a gratitude journal is also a great way to boost your self-esteem and create a more positive outlook on life for yourself.
Taking 10 minutes first thing in the morning, to write down a few things in your life that you are grateful for, will put you in a great place mentally, setting you up for the day ahead in a positive frame of mind.
- Click here to find 11 ways you can overcome life’s obstacles.
8. Your Journal Wont Judge
Do you ever feel like when you try and open up to people, something stops you being completely honest?
Or maybe you are honest with people, but your colleagues, friends or family members feel the need to make judgmental comments about your thoughts and decisions?
It’s safe to say that at one point or another, this has certainly happened to all of us.
When you hear the term ‘expressive writing’, you might think it isn’t something you could do, but all this literally is, is expressing your thoughts inside your journal.
And you can do this knowing full well that no matter how much of a hard time you have writing it, or the amount of negative emotion you write down, your journal is a completely safe space and one that will not result in judgement.
By airing our thoughts and emotions somewhere non-judgmental, it allows us to be a better man for those that depend on us, stepping back into our daily life with a clear perspective on things.
9. Be Immortal Through Your Journal
This truly is one of the best reasons for men to keep a journal.
Long after you are gone, those who loved you will cherish the important things that belonged to you. This might not be the most cheerful thought you have had today, but it is true.
I once bought a house and while we were moving in, I found a journal in the basement.
As I sat on the floor and read through the pages, I re-lived the life of a World War II soldier who fought in the Burmese jungle.
He took his leave in Egypt (there were photos inside the back cover of some young men smoking pipes in front of the Egyptian pyramids!) and exchanged love letters with his childhood sweetheart back home.
All of these memories lived on for his family, many years after he had passed on.
The point here is that your past self, captured in the pages of your journal, would be a great gift for your loved ones, for many years to come.
..And yes, the journal from the basement was reunited with its family!
Great Men Who Kept A Journal
A lot of people and more specifically, men, who have left their mark in the history books kept a journal.
These men had such an impact during the time they were alive, that you will undoubtedly already be aware of them.
And just like we covered in the 9th reason men should journal, the thoughts, goals and achievements these great men captured, have allowed those that have come after them, to better understand the lives of others and the different ways that they achieved their life’s work.
Here is the Maverick Mindsets list of 13 great men who journaled:
We hope you have enjoyed the 9 best reasons for men to keep a journal!
For some inspirational quotes from many of these great men, check out Motivational Quotes For The Ages
Alternatively, take a look at the video below, to help you get your journal up and running.