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One New Year’s Resolution You Should Make this Year

New Year, New You! Many of us have or are putting together lists of how we’ll improve ourselves this coming year. It’s a time of great expectations, but it’s important to keep your goals simple and constructive. After all, real change happens over time. Don’t be like all the women who show up at my gym in early January and are long gone by March.

It’s a simple goal to make, but I’ve found that journaling on a daily basis improves my overall well-being immensely. It would be worthwhile for you to invest in a funky notebook or classy leather-bound journal to write down your thoughts this upcoming year. Here are some of the reasons why:

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IT’S CHEAPER THAN THERAPY

Did you know that you are your own greatest therapist? Licensed counselors and psychotherapists guide you into finding the answers you seek within yourself, but you are the one in charge of your own self-help. By no means should journaling be used as a substitute for therapy, but it will focus your thoughts and help you find solutions to problems in ways that speaking and thinking will never be able to do. Write down your deepest fears, happiest moments, and big dreams. Sometimes these things are too intimate to tell anyone. Writing it down will help you understand yourself better so you will be more aware of when and if you do need help.

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IT PUTS DIFFICULT THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE

Writing things down requires you to put into precise words the convoluted thoughts bouncing around in your brain. Breaking down your thoughts and feelings into manageable chunks is sometimes the only way you can think clearly about a problem and come up with a good solution. Sometimes that solution is letting go. Trust me, it’s a lot harder to end up in a dead-end relationship if you’re admitting that he once again didn’t call you back or once again flirted with another woman. You can’t help but call yourself and others out, because the truth is there in black and white.

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IT IMPROVES OVERALL GRATITUDE

Most of us get blogged down with feelings of negativity, but keeping track of daily events allows you to see when good things happen and remember them. The brain generally remembers positive events more clearly, and going over the day often triggers these memories. You can also intentionally write about things you’re excited/happy/grateful about, and dwelling on these releases serotonin (the happy hormone). For this reason, journaling is especially recommended to those who suffer from depression and anxiety disorders.

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IT HELPS YOU REMEMBER THINGS

How many times have you felt dried up for conversation topics? There’s something about putting pen to paper that helps you keep better track of the goings-on of your day. Thinking about today is one thing, but writing about today is thinking about it twice. For example, have you ever made a grocery list on paper and found you suddenly remembered everything you needed to get without having to consult the list again? Journaling does something like that.

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IT EXERCISES YOUR BRAIN

It doesn’t take much brain power to watch TV because it’s a passive activity. Journaling or writing on the other hand, uses much more brain power because you need to be fully engaged in the activity. Studies have shown that reading and writing can improve focus, expand your vocabulary, improve your memory, and much more. Like any muscle, your brain needs exercise in order to function well. Resolve to limit the number of hours you watch TV and clear a little time in your morning or evening for journaling. You won’t be sorry you did.

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