Recently I realized that some very famous and/or wealthy people share a very unusual commonality. This commonality is “journaling.” Journaling is defined by the Free Dictionary as…

“A personal record of occurrences, experiences, and reflections kept on a regular basis; a diary.”

Now I realize this might sound a little foo-foo to some.

However, you might be surprised to know that Richard Branson, Oprah Winfrey, Michael Masterson and Jim Rohn are all known journalers. Jim Rohn’s reasoning was as follows:

“Life rewards the serious student.”

In fact, Jim Rohn used to spend a lot of money on high-quality leather journals. He was onced asked, “Why do you spend so much on an empty book?” His reply, “I intend to put something very valuable inside.” I sure do miss Jim. Here’s a picture I had taken with him several years ago:

Most people think of journaling as writing daily in a diary. This could be one use of a journal, but there are several more ways that journaling may transform your life. Here are ways you might use journaling to your advantage:

1. To track your progress towards goals you’ve set for yourself. In Michael Mastersons recent book, “The Pledge” he shared that he journals daily. One of the things he tracks monthly in his journal is his net worth. The reason why is because he knows that what you measure improves. By consistently tracking his net worth in his journal, he is able to make better decisions that lead him closer to his financial goals.

2. Keep a record of great business or investing ideas. If you’re like me, you come across great business and investing ideas on a routine basis. Unfortunately these great ideas slip through our fingers if we don’t write them down and review them regularly.

3. Sort out problems or challenges. Facing a big problem in your life? Spend some time writing about it in your journal. List everything you can do to improve the situation and track your progress.  I promise this little process will relieve a ton of stress and keep you focused on progress.

4. Document mistakes made and lessons learned. It’s obviously not a good idea to make the same mistake twice. You can use a journal to detail mistakes you’ve made and what you’ve learned from these mistakes. More importantly, you can make notes about how you can prevent this mistake from happening again.

5. Record things you want to teach your children. Our main job as parents is to prepare our children for adulthood. This isn’t an easy task. I’ve found it helpful to document lessons I want my children to learn before they’re on their own. I also list various ideas that I might be able to use to help them learn the particular lesson.

6. List things you want to do in your life (aka…your bucket list). What do you want to do? Where do you want to go? What to you want to see? What do you want to learn? Use your journal to document all of these things and make sure you review them regularly. You don’t want to get to the end of your life and regret something on one these lists.

7. Capture special life moments. One of the coolest benefits of journaling is what you leave behind for your family. Your children, grand children and great grandchildren will be able to read your journals and “see” who you were as a person. They’ll be able to relive your special moments. More importantly, they can learn from what you share in your journal. Maybe, think of your journal as a “Life Book”, which may help future generations.

8. Detail quotes that inspire you. Wouldn’t it be cool to have one place to record every inspirational quote  you read? Guess what, simply add them to your jounral and you can quickly get your hands on them when needed!

There are numerous ways you can use a journal to enhance and improve your life. The trick is to just get started. You don’t need an expensive journal like Jim Rohn used. You can simScreen shot 2011-02-21 at 11.42.03 AMply use a spiral notebook like this one I used to detail all of the lessons I learned from the real estate market crash and the “great” recession.

Or you can open a new document in Microsoft Word, or a Google Document and use it as your journal. The type of journal you ultimately use  doesn’t matter.

What matters is who you become when you journal.

What matters is that you review what you’ve written periodically and use your journal to your advantage.

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