If you’ve been following the blog and keeping an eye on the comments, you might have noticed an interesting discussion going on in this post. That discussion has led me to write this. I’m really pleased that it has, because it means digging deep into the value and purpose of this blog and sharing it with all of you.
Kaizen Journaling is not just about journaling tips and techniques. It wasn’t intended to be that from day one.
Here is why:
After twelve years of experience in keeping journals, I now divide journaling into three levels. These are not official rules, dictated by Journaling Gods. These levels are what I have created, because they make sense to me. They often overlap, and they will come at different stages for different people, but nonetheless, I think they exist.
3 LEVELS OF JOURNALING
This is the beginning. This is when you pick up a blank notebook or download a journaling app or buy yourself a fancy journal and a fountain pen, and wonder what to write. You may write for days, or for weeks. Sometimes you write now and again for a few years. Or you might write regularly for a certain period and then stop.
In the Foundation stage, these are some common things:
Focus is quite often on the negatives
You had a bad breakup or an illness, and you journal about it to get it out of your system. You might have financial troubles that you don’t know what to do with. Journaling would either help you clarify your thoughts and eventually you will move on from that trouble, and stop journaling.
You seek out prompts and tips and read journaling articles
Once you don’t have a particular negative problem to dwell over, you don’t really know what to write. Your life feels too mundane and boring. You wake up, go to work, come home, have dinner, spend time with the family, watch kids, go to bed. Like millions of other people. There is nothing special. There is nothing to write. So you scour the internet for prompts and techniques, and look for a way to make your journal more interesting.Advanced Journaling
This is the next step. If you reach the Advanced stage, congratulations, because you are already ahead of hundreds of thousands of people who are never going to move past the Foundation stage.
You know that journaling adds value, even if you are not quite sure how.
You begin to feel attracted to the habit. Something happens when you write in your journal. Maybe you feel soothed afterwards, or you feel like you do have someone that you can say anything to. Your mind feels clear. Your decision-making ability gets better.
You become conscious about improvement
You are still used to habits of your foundation days. You either keep a diary of your day-to-day activity, or you keep a particular type of journal such a one-liners, morning pages, gratitude journal, depression journal, dream journal etc. You are not sure how to move onto different things, and you worry about doing it right. But now and again, you have real urge to do more. Sometimes you give in and get inspired by a burst of creativity. Or you seek inspiration from other people. But you know that there is more, and you want it.
You try new things
Art journaling is often the first experiment people do. If you find that you are artistic, you move on to art journals and create amazing stuff. If your artistic ability isn’t up to your standards then you get frustrated, and look for something else. You try different prompts, and have fun with it. You learn about new techniques, such as creating lists. You join in journaling challenge. You write daily, and you write more.Kaizen Journaling
This is the final step, because it never ends. When you get to this stage, journaling is both a reflection of and an extension to your life. It is not a hobby or a chore. It is not something you force yourself to do. It is part of who you are, and how you process life. Kaizen Journaling is for a Kaizen Life.
You focus on thinking big
Day log is still important. You want to record the life you are living, but that is only a part of it. You journal for progress. You journal to dream your big, audacious goals and then you create a plan of how you will make them happen.
You analyse your self for personal growth
Authenticity is important, but authenticity doesn’t mean we stay as we are, and nurse our weaknesses. To live a Kaizen Life means constant growth, and without awareness, there cannot be growth. You realise that, and so you read your old journals, you evaluate the emotions and the rational, and you observe your progress as a person. You learn to find the areas of your life where old pattern keeps repeating itself. You learn to find the blind spots that hold you back. You record your evolving personality, and your evolving dreams.
You make necessary changes based on the results
You record your evolving personality, and your evolving dreams, and you adjust your course accordingly. You use your journal as a guide to steer you in the right direction. It’s not about stubbornly doing the same thing forever, just because you once decided to do it. It’s about focusing on the right choices for you, at any given time.
You learn to gain subconscious awareness of your life, through your journals
This comes with time and practice. It comes from experience of doing many of the above things. But eventually, you get to a stage where as you journal, your mind is subconciously aware of the shifts in your life, in your opinions, and in your attitude. It is aware of your values, and where you are fooling yourself. It may take you time and effort to bring it to your conscious brain and do something about it, but the seed is there, and it will sprout if you continue on the path to a Kaizen Life.
HOW TO USE THIS SITE FOR YOUR JOURNEY TOWARDS KAIZEN JOURNALING
Every article here is in itself a journaling prompt, because under every article you have an actionable step that you could journal about.
The title and the tag line of this blog tell you the core values of this blog, and each article is to help you focus on one or more of those values, whether by direct journaling tips, or ideas and questions that make you reflect on your own life.
Kaizen Jouranling is not for people looking for just journaling tips. This is for people who want to be Kaizen Warriors. This is for people who want to take their journaling to the next level, and be the best they can be.
This is not about just writing. It’s about applying. It is no use to outline your brilliant plans in a journal if you are never going to use them. Kaizen Journaling is about constantly and consciously striving towards a Kaizen Life, and understanding that the process is all about the journey, not the destination.
ACTION YOU CAN TAKE TODAY:
Spend some time, thinking or journaling about which of the 3 stages of Journaling you are at. It doesn’t matter what the answer is, because it is never too late to start, and it is never too late to start moving forward. But you need to know your starting point, before you can have a goal post.