Is it possible to break a habit in thirty days? Well, according to author, Janet Conner, it is. Her newly released book, “Writing Down Your Soul,” is an inspiring and courageous way of changing how we think through writing a journal. As I sat in the lobby of my doctor’s office, I read a magazine with the headline on the second page, staring into my eyes in a bold yellow font right under the main glossary, “30 days to break a habit. A writers guide to happiness”
I dislike knowing that I still have habits that have not been broken. After years of reading self-help books, enrolling in Psychology classes in college, seeing multiple therapists, I am convinced that without a habit, we wouldn’t be who we are, imperfect, complicated, vulnerable, lastly human.
I am one who is constantly examining things that aren’t working; it could be a job, a certain relationship, a taxing situation that repeats itself, or a form of thought that impedes my path, whatever the case might be, most of the time, I see the grey areas of life that trap me. After I left my medical appointment, I walked out into the bitter cold and made a mental list. I want to change that. Why do I still do this? Maybe if I do it this way, I will change. And, I realized, that my habit of self-criticism was once again, seeping its way into my head. Why wasn’t I writing this as I walked?
The author went on to say how starting a journal can lead to self-empowerment and healthy feelings about one’s self. She says that taking a chunk of time that is available each day to write, in the same place, at the same time, in the same vessel so to speak, aids in the way we connect the dots in capturing the blessings and wisdom that is bestowed on us.
Its not like I don’t know this. As a writer myself, I try to take the time to outline thoughts that might not even go anywhere, thoughts that are merely rants and mindless dribble that just need to come out on the page. Most writing teachers I’ve worked with have all said that a journal is a fantastic way to channeling misguided thoughts into action. To actually see what we were thinking at that time, where we were when we wrote it, illustrates personal growth.
I was going to list some of the habits I still carry with me on this posting. But, then I thought, why? Who really needs to know? Who cares? The only person that can and should is probably me. I like how Conner suggests how continual writing can actually lead to a healthier immune system. The spewing of negative feelings on to the written screen or page can and does lead to a lighter approach to thinking. I have found myself, months after I wrote something, wondering, I wrote that? Why? Wow.
I challenge all of you who read this blog to do the same thing. Write a journal at least for a month. See how all of the thoughts we carry restrict us, knowing very well that a majority of them aren’t true. Often, I am a cynic, but I am also a hopeful optimist who believes good things happen to those who wait.