How to Journal using the “3G Method”
I try to journal as often as I can, but my schedule doesn’t always permit time to sit down and freely write as frequently as I would like. I have run into other roadblocks such as “what do I write about,” and “shit, I am stuck.”
I know what you are thinking. The point of journaling is to not think about what you are writing, but just write. This I get, dear readers, but it happens, and it is a common problem I see from the men in my Men in Unity Facebook group.
This is not an easy problem to solve when you have no structure and you are forced to work without it. What to do….
A few weeks ago, I was relaxing on my couch watching yet another horror movie, and it popped into my head. I jumped up from the couch, internally exclaimed “EUREKA, I have found it!” I rushed to my laptop and started to free write with structure.
I have since adopted this method, and now I will share it with you.
The 3G method
The steps are important because they shift your mindset from one of discord to one rooted in solutions and optimism. If you deviate from this layout, the purpose is defeated.
For your first journaling section, you will write about what is bothering you, what pissed you off, where your headspace is with these things. If you do this frequently, hopefully the section is short because if you have a two page daily journal entry with grievances alone, you may need to take a harder look at your life than you think. This is no holds barred type of work. I don’t care if you rationally feel the grievance is silly. If it bothered you and disrupted your mindset, it is worth getting out. Lay it on the screen or paper if you prefer handwriting it.
Now we will shift from a place of negative to a place of positive. If you are mired in a perpetual negative headspace or wracked with depression/anxiety, finding gratitude is challenging. The first day I did this exercise, my grievances were a page, while it took me a few minutes to find what I was grateful for. That was eye-opening and since then I have worked to find joy in small things. This will be the same for you. What are you grateful for? Write about it. Spare no detail. It could be intensely personal or as innocuous as seeing something that made you smile on the way to work. It could be as impersonal as watching your favorite team win a game. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it made you pause mentally and enjoy it.
This is the hardest one, and most important. You wrote what is bugging you and then followed with what you are grateful for. Next, what are you going to do about it? Venting is one thing, and I support the occasional aimless vent to get shit off of your chest, but if you are blowing off steam without finding a solution, you are essentially handcuffing your mind to stay in that current state of mental imprisonment. Action is needed, and hope is imperative. For me, hope can be as simple as knowing my depressive thoughts are irrational and will pass in time. Fighting through the irrationality of those thoughts is far from simple, but reminding myself, “this is not real, this is a perception,” goes a long way from me finding hope to me wanting to eat a shotgun — which I am not planning to do but thoughts are thoughts. The goals section is critical to move the shift from negative (grievances) to positive (gratitude) to hope and progress (goals).
Without goals, we aimlessly exist in the world. We are task-oriented mammals. All of us are. Despite what you think, we have bills to pay, a family to take care of, a career to nourish, hobbies to enjoy, and friends to spend time with.
We find purpose in accomplishment; therefore, laying out some goals leads you to that end.
Those goals can be as simple as, “today I will find something small to be grateful for, even if it’s silly,” to “I will learn how to pause before I react to something my partner said that didn’t resonate well with me.”
Your goals are your goals, and every session needs to end with a goal-oriented mindset.
Give this a try for a few sessions and see how it works for you. If you love it, drop a comment and share what you like about it. If you hate it, do the same.
Share it with others. This is my open-source software for you.