Whether you’re changing careers, learning a new skill, getting fit, starting a relationship, or making any worthwhile change, journaling through the Dip will help you in so many ways. To get the best results, I recommend journaling on a daily basis, even if it’s only for a short time.
Here are just a few of the benefits of using your journal to push through to the other side of your struggle.
Measure Incremental Progress
Writing often about where you’re at lets you look back and see that you’re making progress, even when it’s hard to see. In my case, 10 new mailing list signups was progress from one week to the next, even if it didn’t feel like it.
By tracking the little changes, I saw the forward movement over time. Slow and steady, like the proverbial tortoise.
Learn From Past Experience
There’s something about defining your experience in your journal that cements it in your brain. Writing about it makes it more real and more memorable. Therefore, the next time you encounter a similar situation, you’ll recognize it.
Even if you don’t do so automatically, simply consulting your journal and re-reading will remind you where you’ve been so you can benefit from past experience.
Tap Into Intuition
I frequently journal about my “gut feelings.” Later I journal about the results of acting (or not acting) on those hunches. Doing so builds trust in my own intuition, because I’m often quite accurate.
You’ll find the same thing if you journal your own gut feelings, actions, and responses. Journaling helps us learn to trust ourselves and our judgment.
Leave Breadcrumbs and Objective Evidence
If we hit a roadblock, we can review our past thoughts and decisions to see where we were lead astray. Having that spelled out on the page is invaluable in improving future decisions.
Create a Realistic Timeline
Our experience of time is often warped by the intensity of emotion or hard work. Think about it. Why do you think, “time flies when you’re having fun?” Periods of struggle seem to last longer than they actually do.
Journaling helps us get in touch with the actual timeline, keeps us present. When I revisit my entries, I’m able to see how silly it was for me to expect instant results from only four months’ worth of work.
At the time, I felt like I’d been working at this project FOREVER. Journaling helps us realistically measure time.
Keep Your Spirits Up
My journal has always been a source of support, like an old friend. That’s why I originally started journaling and it’s one of the reasons I continue.
Sometimes when you’re in the Dip, you are your only source of support. Having a place to voice your troubles, discouragement, or even your small victories bolsters your confidence.
Look Back On How Far You’ve Come
The ability to look back and recognize how far I’ve come is intoxicating. Turning to an actual entry from early on, and compare it to where I am now, is rewarding on a million levels. It’s proof, victory, validation, and reward.
Remember that any worthwhile undertaking has a dip. That’s what makes it so valuable. Involve your journal next time you start something important. You can get through that dip, and journaling will help.
Stone Maddox was a freelance writer for 5 years who did reviews for a variety of sites and blogs. Now he is a writer in popular blogs in New Zealand. In his spare time, he also writes for his blog about online games - ruby fortune review.