#031: Why You NEED to Keep a Journal

What happened to you is not nearly as important as the meaning you assign to it.

Arguably the most important part of the learning process is reflection. But it is the one piece that is almost universally skipped over. For achievers, like me, we want to get onto the next task, the next goal, the next project and we sacrifice the valuable fruit of reflecting and processing in our rush to the next accomplishment.


We rarely take the time to evaluate and reflect on projects. However, even more important then reflecting on projects is reflecting on our daily lives. Without it we can get caught up in The Drift and start to wander through our lives.

Journalling is an essential habit that allows us to reflect on our daily lives. It allows us to recognize and process the hard learned lessons that we often face. It allows you to get in touch with who you truly are, allowing you to make better connections.
Here are seven benefits of journalling:
  1. Process events
  2. Clarify thoughts
  3. Understand context and connections
  4. Notice feelings
  5. Connect with my emotions
  6. Pull out major lessons
  7. Ask great questions

Journalling has not come easy to me. I have known the value of it for years but have struggled to make it a regular practice. In this week’s podcast I talk about my struggles with journalling and how you can make it a regular part of your life.

How can I create the habit of journalling:

  • Use a template – I use a very simple template when I journal. It helps reduce the friction of not knowing what to write about. Now, when I sit down to journal I just answer the questions in my template.
  • Find the Right Tool – You need to decide what tool is right for you. For me, I don’t want to have to remember to bring a notebook along when I travel and a computer seems way too formal. The iPad is the perfect tool for me. I am already using it for other parts of my morning routine and I love the feel of the DayOne app.
  • Reinforce the routine through tracking – One way to develop a habit is through intentional tracking. I use Habit List and OmniFocus to make sure I journal everyday. What would motivate you? 

Tip of the Week

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Take Action Challenge

Build the journalling habit into your life.

  • Decide on a journalling method
  • Decide on a time of day
  • Create a tracking system
  • Commit and go for it!!


  1. Very excited to announce a resource that will be available very soon, Extreme Ed University. This is a resource for teachers, advisors, and student officers who want to learn how to run leadership and team building activities. To find out more visit ExtremeEdUniversity.com
  2. We are quickly closing in on February and that starts a busy season for me speaking with student organizations and universities. If you would like a learn more about the programs I present on please visit NickPalkowski.com/speaking
  3. If you have a question for an upcoming podcast episode or any feedback about the podcast send an email to Nick@NickPalkowski.com

Episode Resources

Quote: What happened to you is not nearly as important as the meaning you assigned to it.

Podcast Episode: How to Create the Gratitude Habit

App: DayOne

App: OmniFocus

App: Things

App: Habit List

App: Nozbe

App: PDFpen

Template: Journal Entry Template

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • http://www.puella63.com Cristina Duarte Ferreira

    I tried to listen but I get File not Found.