Another self-improvement project that helps me is my Time Capsule journal. It’s similar to my topics du jour journal, but it’s scheduled at the end of every month and I write about 20+ topics in one sitting. Over time, these entries add up and I can easily see long-term patterns that I might not notice in my regular journal. Thus far, the topics are divided into several categories:
*Possessions, personal space
*Relationships with friends and individual family members
*Tastes/likes/preferences (books, movies, music, etc.)
I try to keep my entries short, usually a paragraph per topic. This makes it easy when I want to review many months at a time.
Another major difference between this and the topics du jour journal is that this is not a TO-DO list. This is a things I have DONE list. My journals were so self-condemning that I decided that I needed a place where there would be no shoulds or shouldn’ts.
Keeping track of my relationships this way has been invaluable in helping me to maintain them or to notice if things are one-sided. I could prove an ex-cult friend was avoiding me because she hadn’t socialized with me in 7 months. I knew she was busy, but when I counted the months I knew she couldn’t be THAT busy. After I exited, she offered to socialize with me ONLY if I wanted to discuss the reasons why I disagreed with the cult.
I also like to keep track of movies/books/music because I associate events in my life to the media I was enjoying at the time. The death of a family member last year is associated with “The Westing Game”. Fun times with my friends are associated with movies we watched together. When I listen to particular hymns, many memories of the cult come flooding back.
Sometimes the entries are too painful to write. I once took a 7 month sabbatical from this journal because things in life were too stressful to even attempt to summarize into short paragraphs. Instead, I vented long, rambling entries into my regular journal. I felt slightly guilty, but I knew that once things settled down I would be able to write in it again. And I did.