Many of the greatest men the world has seen had something in common. Beyond their intellect, discipline, and dedication to their mission, many of these men did something quite simple.
They kept a journal.
Yes, a diary. The word “diary” isn’t typically considered “manly,” so let’s call it a journal from here on out.
Many of these men kept journals as a way to document, reflect, and reach catharsis of some kind. Whether it was to get their thoughts out onto paper so they could think more clearly or look at something from a new perspective, an end goal of mindfulness, or it was to document their lives to give their memories had more permanence, these great men simply kept a journal.
Now, you can also take advantage of the life-altering benefits of daily journaling for men.
Benefits of Daily Journaling for Men
Journaling may be something you shake your head at or even scoff at on an initial thought. I know I sure did.
However, there are PROVEN benefits when it comes to daily journaling for men.
According to the American Psychological Association, “expressive writing reduces intrusive and avoidant thoughts about negative events and improves working memory. These improvements, researchers believe, may in turn free up our cognitive resources for other mental activities, including our ability to cope more effectively with stress.”
If you’re anything like I am, you only want to add things to your life that bring real value. As men in the modern era, we have a lot on our plates and it’s vital that we dedicate our time to things that make an actual difference.
Here are some of the benefits you’ll reap as a man keeping a daily journal:
Journaling for men is a great way to get your thoughts organized.
No matter who you are, it’s almost a given that your mind has hundreds to thousands of thoughts that run through it at various times.
Some of us have more chatter in our brain than others (I’m definitely one of those people) and need a way to get all of those thoughts whipped into line before analysis paralysis kicks in.
No matter where you fall on the brain chatter spectrum, journaling is a great way for men to organize their thoughts, especially considering the general taboo that still surrounds men expressing their inner dialogue, feelings, emotions, and vulnerabilities.
Let’s dig even deeper into the Thought Organization aspect of journaling and examine which ways having a daily or routine journal can help you become a better, more organized man.
Reduction in Brain Clutter
As we mentioned, your brain has a lot of thoughts at almost every second of the day! This can be absolutely exhausting.
With all these thoughts going on during your waking hours (and sometimes even sleeping hours), it’s pretty clear why we are finding ourselves increasingly tired, low on energy, and low on motivation.
By journaling daily, you’re able to get all of that thought out of your brain and onto paper. By doing this, you’re psychologically removing those circular thoughts from your mind and putting them onto something physical.
Once you pen all of these thoughts down, you’re able to easier visualize and structure what is important and what isn’t. You can easily view what thoughts are taking up mental real estate and which ones are worth keeping around for the day.
Journaling for men gives us the opportunity to get out the problems we often do not speak about due to the social expectations that are placed on us.
When you write down these thoughts, it gives your mind an opportunity to visualize the problems you are facing. By doing this, you view the problems you’re having differently, allowing new solutions to surface.
You can go as far as to journal potential solutions as they come to mind, stimulating even more changes in perspective and allowing you to further visualize and structure the solutions to your issues.
Just make sure you don’t get caught in the trap of constantly writing down “solutions” without taking any action.
Start the Day with Clarity of Mind
By daily journaling in the mornings, you can approach your days with a greater clarity of mind.
As you’ve already read, journaling for men is a great way to get your thoughts organized. By utilizing this tool in the morning, you can help set a concise path for you to follow throughout the day.
Personally, I spend the first 15 to 30 minutes of my morning after the gym journaling. I write down any pertinent dreams I had, any worries or anxieties I have heading into the day, and I jot down a list of the priority tasks I have for the day.
I break my priority tasks into these categories in my journal:
- Work (Fulltime Job)
- Personal (Side hustle work, The Gentleman’s Playbook, self-care, etc.)
This allows me to get a snapshot of the things I need to get done today to make the day a “success” in my eyes. [article on defining your own version of success]
This morning journaling routine allows me to organize any stray, unproductive thoughts and cast them away before they begin to wreak havoc on my day. It also allows me to face some of my worries head-on and create a game plan on how I’m going to conquer them. Lastly, it gives me a snapshot of my day and what I need to do to make it a no-zero or productive day that brings me further in my mission as a man in the modern era.
Consider coupling your morning journaling with a short meditation session. [meditation for men article]
Don’t feel like you only need to journal in the morning either. I actually journal in the morning, anytime I have a challenging thought, at lunch, and right before bed.
More Mindful Decision Making
One passive benefit of daily journaling for men is the ability to partake in more mindful decision making.
The act of physically writing in a journal is almost a meditative one, promoting mindfulness and inner reflection that many people are unable to achieve otherwise.
If you’re one of those people who says meditation doesn’t work for them because their brain won’t shut the hell up, daily journaling may be the alternative you’re looking for. It may even set you on the path to proper meditation.
Daily journaling for men promotes in-the-moment reflection and honesty. It helps to view your thoughts as something separate from the sense of self, which is a core aspect and goal of meditation. Separating yourself from your thoughts and merely observing them as they pass by.
By journaling, you are able to achieve a state of mindfulness that helps with your decision making. You tend to be less reactive toward information and approach difficult decisions with less emotional volatility and more separated rationality.
An aspect of journaling promoting more mindful decision making is the fact that you are having an open, unfiltered dialogue with yourself.
You’re able to open up about the things you wouldn’t tell other people. It’s a safe place to get your best – and worst – thoughts out of your mind and onto something more concrete.
Whether you want to use this power to remove certain thoughts, analyze your behavior, or create new solutions, this level of unfiltered dialogue helps you achieve a more mindful state, promoting healthier and more skillful decision making in your day-to-day.
Shifts in Perspective
Ever hear someone say something you kind of knew, but in a way that just made that lightbulb above your head go DING!?
Journaling for men is a way you can recreate this! By writing down your problems and issues and observing them in a mindful state brought on by journaling, you’re able to view things at a different angle, giving you a great chance at having a shift in perspective.
Perspective shifts can often change who we are, for better or worse, but having a perspective shift in a mindful state of being tends to lead toward more positive change and outlook on life.
Root Cause Analysis
As you’re typically more mindful when journaling (even after you’ve finished journaling, the mindfulness tends to carry on throughout your day), you’re in a better place to perform a root cause analysis of your behaviors.
Root cause analysis is determining the cause of an outcome.
For example, someone who has trouble trusting their romantic partner despite the partner never violating trust, may find the root cause of this mistrust is a parental figure who abandoned them at a young age.
While that’s a pretty stereotypical scenario, it’s a solid way to illustrate how journaling both your desirable and undesirable behaviors can help you have an effective and mindful root cause analysis to uncover the reasons you act the way you do, which further empowers you to make significant change in your life on a professional, emotional, and spiritual level.
To give you a more solid, real life example of this, I recognized while journaling that I have a lot of issues trusting my romantic partners or female caregivers in my life. Almost every romantic relationship I had ended in infidelity by my partner and many of the mother figures in my life had turned their backs on me in times of emotional need.
Journaling allowed me to unlock this root cause analysis in a mindful way; from there, I’ve taken actionable steps to learn to trust my current partner and not let the root cause of those trust issues consume our relationship and destroy it.
Self-discipline is one of the most important things you need to learn and become proficient at in order to become a fully realized version of yourself.
Consistently exercising discipline unlocks the world around you and you’ll find yourself becoming the man you’ve always dreamed of being.
Journaling for men is a great way to take the first step toward fully unleashing the power of self-discipline. By journaling daily, and sticking with it, you’re introducing yourself to an easy win that can get the momentum you need going to achieve your goals and aspirations.
Journaling to Create More Discipline
Keeping a daily journal can help you stay on track with your goals. As we already discussed, writing down thoughts and ideas makes them more concrete. This concept carries over into the creation and maintenance of discipline.
Journaling daily is not only its own form of discipline, but it’s one that allows you to track and make progress in other areas requiring discipline. By creating lists and writing down your goals in your journal as well as what you’ve done to work toward them, you’re able to keep a constant reminder of your progress and what your mission is.
Journaling Reminds You
Journaling for men, when done right, reminds you of your goals and mission every time you open your journal up to begin writing.
This helps to keep you on track. It’s easy to push something off to tomorrow when you’ve only committed a thought to whatever it is that needs doing. However, when you write down in your journal what you plan to accomplish tomorrow, it makes that commitment real. Nothing feels more self-defeating than looking at a plan you had and falling short. Then you have to write in your journal and admit to yourself: I let myself down today. That’s powerful.
Benefits of Daily Journaling for Men
As you can see, there are many proven benefits that come with daily journaling for men. From building stronger focus and discipline to being more mindful and spiritually in-tune, it’s worth breaking open a journal to reap the short and long-term benefits of daily journaling.
It doesn’t have to take long, either. Now that you’ve learned all about the benefits of daily journaling for men, check out the next installment in our men’s journaling series, “Journaling Methods for Men.”