There exist an untold number of reasons to keep a journal. Journals are indispensable for documentary, motivational, devotional, emotional, intellectual, health and a host of other reasons. Almost any ongoing concern in life is fair game for journaling.

Though the impetus to start a journal may seem obvious, the reason journaling becomes a lifelong habit is more subtle.

You started your journal to document your baby's growth, for example, or to get motivated to lose weight, to write your prayers, to have an emotional dumping ground, to explore intellectual ideas or research, to supplement health treatments, or for some other equally valid purpose.

But you stay with it because your journal is your honest-to-God friend.

Many of us have good friends, people we love completely and would even die for. But there's still a small gap between me and my friend, there is always some measure of autonomy. We are, after all, separate human beings.

But your journal is you, so the autonomy disappears.

You and your journal are actually closer than friends, but your journal writings can serve you in the objective and often surprising and helpful ways that a normal friend can.

You do not have to explain everything in fine detail, for instance; your journal understands. You can cry your anguish out or gloat or gush all you want, your journal will be right there with you. You can use personal codes, rituals, and abbreviations.

You can name your journal and you may discover that your journal has named you.

You can be absolutely confident that you will find a sympathetic ear every time you begin to write.

Your journal is you, and yet there comes a point at which you realize that your journal is more than you.

Today, you journal your pain and joys, your progress and backslides. Next week, you read over today's entry and see for the first time the meaning, usefulness, and direction of that day. You see that what happened makes a new kind of sense, relative to where you are now.

Looking back, you can see how where you were then created where you are now. You can see that there is a clear progression. Back then, you poured your heart out; now, you see how that trying time was a natural step in your progress.

It is through journaling that you begin to build this awareness of your personal power and the way you interact with the world around you.

Opening your consciousness to these realities, your journal gently and surely brings greater satisfaction and personal peace. Sort of like the feeling you have after a perfect visit with your closest friend.

Your journal is the ultimate friend that can be reliably trusted with your life.

Author's Bio: 

By Mari L. McCarthy - The Journaling Therapy Specialist, founder of Journaling for the Self of It™. Mari offers counseling and courses as well as hundreds of prompts through her many online journaling resources and her private consultations. Please visit Mari's latest publication is Start Journaling and Change Your Life in 7 Days! which is available at Or you might like our journaling challenge: 7-Days Self Discovery Through Journaling. Please join us.