Taking just 10-20 minutes a day for journaling will change your life. It sounds crazy, but it’s a proven method that will change your perspective on just about anything, from food to travel to finances.
Many people use journaling as an opportunity to work through the issues that are troubling them, digging into why they feel concerned and what solutions are available.
Finding Your Mistakes
One common approach to journaling is to use an “after-action review” to dig into the details of a recent situation in your life. Performing an “after-action review” means that you think about what you wanted to get out of a particular situation, what you actually did in that situation, what the differences are and what you can learn from that going forward.
You can apply that strategy to review your spending decisions. Isolate a recent purchase you regret, then think about what you would have done differently and write that down. Follow the identification of the mistake with an honest description of what you actually did. What are the differences between the two actions? What can you do to make sure you eliminate those differences?
Finding Your Goals
All of us have big dreams for the future, but rarely do we put pen to paper to make those dreams happen. Journaling is perfect for working through this problem. It gives you an opportunity to break down a big vision into progressively smaller pieces. Take debt freedom, for example. Paying off your debt is a big goal, but it actually becomes something real and actionable when you break it into bite-sized pieces.
Think about a big dream you have. Buying a house? Going to Japan? What baby step could you take to make that dream happen? Break the steps up into what you could do today, this week, this month and this year to move you closer to that goal. Journaling gives you time to think carefully through those questions and start transforming your nebulous vision for the future into something concrete, which you can take action on right now.
Finding Answers to Big Decisions
We’re often faced with big decisions in life, financial and otherwise. Do I take this new job or stay with the one I have? Should I start saving for retirement or do I need every dime I bring in to keep my head above water? Those kinds of decisions can be hard to think through.
Journaling provides an opportunity to make a list of pros and cons for each side of a decision, then work through whether those upsides and downsides make sense. Make a list of benefits for each side of the decision and ask yourself how many of those benefits truly matter. You might find that the answer you’ve been looking for was there all along, you just need to work through it in writing.
You can journal in a way that impacts your overall health and well-being in only 20 minutes a day. You may find solutions that can help your financial life in ways you never expected.