Motivational Monday: Putting Pen to Paper – The Benefits (and How) of Keeping a Journal


Motivational Monday: Putting Pen to Paper – The Benefits of Keeping a Journal

Have you ever written in a journal? Many of us kept diaries as kids, writing down our deepest and darkest secrets. While the concept may seem youthful, journaling can be extremely beneficial for one’s mental health. By writing down our thoughts and feelings, we can clear our minds and become more focused on our goals.

As all swimmers know, much of our sport is a mental game. We must have the drive to conquer long sets. We have to stand tall after we have a bad race, and show up to practice the next day ready to work again. We have to find the motivation to get out of bed when that 5 a.m. alarm goes off. Injuries and worries about our performance can consume our thoughts. All of these challenges undoubtedly take a toll on our mental health. Journaling can be used as a technique to relieve the inevitable stress that comes with being a swimmer. By writing down our thoughts, instead of keeping them in our mind, we help clear our conscience of anything that may be holding us back.

You may be thinking: “How do I start?” Personally, I prefer to journal at the start or end of my day (sometimes both!), but it is entirely up to the swimmer when deciding when to write. The first step is self-explanatory and simple. Grab a journal and your favorite pen or pencil. Putting a date at the top of the page is a great idea so that you can look back on your progress. Swimmers can write about a variety of things, whether they are positive or negative. If you’re in need of inspiration, here are five journal prompts for swimmers:

  • What was a challenge that you faced today? How did you overcome it?
  • Write down what you did at today’s practice, detailing things that you did well and things that need improvement.
  • What are your goals in the sport of swimming? These can be long or short term.
  • As swimmers, confidence is key. What are some personal attributes that you are confident in?
  • How did you fuel your body today? What kind of foods did you consume, and how did they make you feel?

It’s important to realize that keeping a journal doesn’t entail writing essays each day. There’s no need for complete sentences or paragraphs worth of words. Even just jotting down your thoughts, worries, or other things occupying your mind can be helpful. For more ideas on what to write about, here’s a list of 60 Effective Journaling Prompts for Athletes.

Between championship time standards, goal times, practice schedules, pre-meet nerves, nutritional strategies, and managing swimming with academics, swimmers have a boatload of things on their minds. Journaling is an effective way for swimmers to clear their conscience and start (or end) each day with a clean slate. Next time you’re feeling stressed or caught up in your own thoughts, give journaling a try!

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