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4 Great Reasons to Track Your Meditation Efforts in a Log or Journal

Posted Nov 23 2009 10:01pm

I like the idea of being held accountable for whether or not I do my weekly yoga since that was a goal I made for myself during this monthly challenge. A lot of you have said that taking walks in the mornings have really helped you.

The fact is, if I don't have to report to anyone, or keep track of my progress, than the likelihood of me sticking with it will plummet. I tend to like lists. So I thought about how we reward our kids with charts and when they do a chore they get to put a sticker on it and thought, why not?

So I did a little research into logging meditation efforts. I found alot of exercise logs that help you track your weight lifting routine, workouts, or diet but an all out exercise regiment is not what I am focusing on right now. We'll save that for another month.

I specifically want to focus on when I do my yoga to make sure I am doing it once a week. I found a log that you can print out here that will allow you to track how often you do flexibility training as well as track any other kind of exercise you may be working on.

I also came across the idea of keeping a meditation journal. I realize that I am not an expert or doctor and so a lot of what I share on this blog is articles or information that I have found from real experts or doctors.

"Mindfulness is about knowing where we are (being in the moment) and also about maintaining an awareness of where we have been (reflection) and where we are going (having goals). A meditation journal can help us with all of those areas of awareness, helping us to have a more unified awareness of ourselves." - wildmind

Here are 5 great reasons to track your meditation efforts in a log or journal:

Reason #1: It  Helps You ”Keep It Real"

Keeping a meditation journal helps us have a more definite sense of what is actually going on. The act of recording when you do your meditation techniques ensures that you are conscientious of what you are actually doing versus what you think you are doing. You'll know exactly how often you take this time out for yourself. You will be able to know if you are not doing it enough, or if you need to try a different kind of meditation technique.

Reason # 2:  Journals Give You The Big Picture

Logs and journals don’t have to be just for recording when you take the time out to meditate. A good log can also contain notes about miscellaneous items like the amount of sleep you got the night before, your energy levels before and after, what your mood was like, the amount of time it lasted, etc. You can track when your anxiety is really high and how your meditation is effecting it. Do you always have less anxiety after meditating? Is it better when you meditate in the morning or right before bed? Being aware of the effect your meditation has on your anxiety can help you make lifestyle adjustments that can improve your progress and help you lead a healthier, more satisfied, life.
 "When we sit down after meditation and take a few minutes to journal what we’ve been experiencing, it makes it pretty obvious how effective we’ve really been. If we examine our experience, honestly and with a desire to learn, then we become much more aware of what our meditation practice actually is. We can become more aware of our weaknesses and our strengths, and have a much more penetrating understanding of what we need to be working on." - wildmind

Reason #3: Logs Keep You Motivated

One of the great things about journals or logs is that when you’re feeling a little less motivated than usual, you can page back through your past efforts and learn about yourself and see the progress you’ve made over time.

Perhaps when you first started you struggled with different breathing techniques or yoga poses, or struggled just to find the time. If you are tracking your mental thoughts before and/or after, maybe at the beginning you were really having a hard time everyday with feelings of doubt, low self esteem, or just anxious thoughts, and now its only every once in awhile that you have a bad day. Perhaps now you have a regular schedule, even daily. Sometimes this is all it takes to get you fired up about trying again.
 
Reason # 4: Helps Us to Set Goals

"Our journaling can help us to set goals. It’s not that we try to pin down our experience before it happens – that’s rarely if ever going to work and it’s more likely to result in frustration than in any progress in our meditation practice. Instead what we’re trying to do in setting goals is to develop a stronger sense of where we want to go in our meditation practice. Through looking back at our past experience we can see what we need to work on. Perhaps it’s forgiveness or patience that we need to develop. Perhaps it’s more persistence. Or more calmness.

Perhaps we’ll discover that we are lazier than we thought, or perhaps that we try too hard, or perhaps even that we fluctuate in our efforts. We may discover that there are particular distractions that are much more common that we had recalled.

Whatever changes we want to make, having clear goals will help us attain them." - wildmind

If you want to do a meditation journal a simple spiral notebook will do. You can have a journal online if that's your thing, or even take the time to decorate a journal to make it more personal and special.

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