The #1 excuse I hear for why “I can’t” journal

As a counselor and the author of this blog, I am often suggesting journaling as an avenue towards healing, insight, creativity, to people that I have conversations with.  The hardest thing for me to hear and the most common excuse I hear for why people are not already journaling is this:  “I don’t have time to journal”.

Every time I hear this, I go through the following thought process:

1.  I say to myself “Megan, breathe, they’re not intentionally making a judgement call on the importance or lack there of about the work you did to earn your degrees or the work you are doing with this blog.”
2.  Then I say to myself “Awh, this dear person, they probably need this more than others as they don’t care enough about themselves or their friends and family to set aside a little time each day to check in with themselves.”

Of course, I can’t and do not say either of those things out loud.  I can’t say these things because both of them guilt and shame this person with whom I am speaking.  While I understand that guilt and shame are very motivational aspects of life, they’re not the tools that I want to use to help people start to see the value of knowing who they are at the deep level to which journaling can lead.  Additionally, both of those thoughts can come off fairly condescending which often stifles conversation.

I share these thoughts with you because I want you to know who I am and because I believe you can relate.  We have all heard someone say they do not have time for something that you know to be important, maybe even essential, to increasing their quality of life.  These are things like:  cooking/choosing a healthy diet, exercising, showing affection to our loved ones, or going to a Doctor to treat an illness.

What I usually say out loud is something like this:  “It sounds like your life is super busy and I understand it can be hard to carve out time for something that seems so inwardly or self-focused.  It also sounds like you’ve written off the idea that you will ever find the time to take care of yourself.”

Does this sounds like you: A super busy person who can barely take 5 minutes to get a quick shower, let alone set aside time for things that might lead to personal gain?

Have you given up on that time ever being available?  Or you know it will be available but not for the foreseeable future?

The conversation will often continue and I will further plug journaling because it doesn’t have to take a long time.  5 minutes right before bed might be all the time that is needed to remind yourself that you are worth focusing on.  Journaling is a way to get to know yourself better.  When you know yourself better, you can more easily relate to the world.  You can tell others how you want to show affection and how you want that affection to be shown to you.  You can find a diet or an exercise program that works best for you.  You can better communicate with your friends and family members.  You can anticipate your own needs and learn what you need to decrease your stress level.  The list of what can improve with you having a greater knowledge of yourself is endless.

I want that for you.

So today I ask you, please do not say that you do not have time to journal.

Start today.

There’s no pressure to journal every day.  While many people have greater results from doing so, psychologists have learned that even the act of creating one journal entry has benefits to your life.

You deserve those benefits.  Take a few minutes today and journal.

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