Dream journalling is an essential skill for lucid dreaming. It’s fundament to good lucid dreaming ability: it improves dream recall so you don’t forget those awesome lucid dreams. It enables you to easily track dreamsigns, which will improve your lucidity rate if you apply the right techniques. Better still, even if you don’t track your dreamsigns, dream journalling promotes a bigger focus on dreams in your everyday life, which can lead to an increase of lucid dreams as well!
Reasons enough to journal dilligently, then. Yet, most of us don’t do it much. We just can’t be bothered, don’t have the time, have better things to do, etc. I’m here to tell you one thing: whatever your excuse may be, it’s not an excuse. There are no excuses. Dream journalling is an important part of lucid dream training and if you want to improve, you’ll have to do it.
Now, you may think you don’t have the required discipline to maintain a dream journal consistently. I strongly disagree. I don’t think you fully understand what discipline is. The image of most people have of a disciplined person (let’s call him John) is probably as follows:
John had gotten a bit fat during the holidays, so he thought it would be a good idea to hit the gym to burn it all off and get in better shape. Not being someone who gets paralysis by analysis (Google it), he set out the next day to the gym. Full of motivation, John worked as hard as he possibly could and then went home afterwards, feeling satisfied at having done so much exercise. Two days later he went again. And again, and again. But after three weeks, something started to happen. John didn’t like it anymore. He lost his motivation. He didn’t like putting his body under that much stress. But John didn’t quit. He strongly disliked it, but he kept going because that’s what disciplined people do, right?
Do you realize how ridiculous that sounds? Nobody in their right minds keeps doing something they don’t like, just because they “have to”. People like John don’t exist. “Disciplined people” are people with habit and a method of constant motivation. I strongly suggest you look up “intrinsic and extrinsic motivation”. It will help you understand why the program goes as it goes.
The 5-step program
Without further ado, www.yorux.com presents to you: the 5-step program to effective dream journalling.
Step 1 – Start small
You have to make the barrier to doing the thing you want to make a habit/keep doing as small as possible. Try to recall as many dreams as possible and take notes, then only journal your favorite one. Just one. Journalling a single dream can’t really take more than fifteen minutes, and who can’t find fifteen minutes, right? If time really is short, I highly doubt you can’t find 5 minutes three times a day consistently. Just journal in parts, 5 small minutes, 3 times a day. Make your investment minimal and as the Nike slogan goes: ‘just do it’. Doing this, just fifteen minutes each day will bring your amount of dreams journalled per week to 7.
Step 2 – Build up slowly
There will probably come a point in time where you feel it’s really easy to keep up your current pattern of journalling just one dream, fifteen minutes a day. So you add another dream every other day, making your journal dreams per week 10. I think you can find an extra fifteen minutes somewhere every other day. Besides, you’re getting pretty good at journalling already, so only the really long dreams will take fifteen minutes. You’re down to around 5-10 minutes per dream.
After you’ve established two dreams every other day as a habit, you move on to journalling two dreams every day (14 dreams/week). Since you’re already spending some extra time on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, you can also spend a little extra time on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. Next up, 3 dreams every other day (18 dreams/week). 3 dreams every day (21 dreams). You get the idea.
Take note that a limiting factor here is the number of dreams you can actually recall. Dream recall improves with practice, but the rate may not be the same as your buildup.
Step 3 – Set Goals and Keep Track
Note that ‘getting better at journalling’ is not a goal. It’s a vague idea of what you want. A real goal is S.M.A.R.T.:
Because your goals are measurable, you’ll be able to keep track and get an idea of where you’re at and if you can maybe take a breather, or have to push through for a bit. Tracking goals is also great for motivation. Nothing is motivating like seeing yourself progress to your end goal.
Step 4 – Set Sub-Goals
Having a big goal of 200 dreams in 20 weeks isn’t enough to push you, so you’ll probably procrastinate and end up failing. The goal is too big to stand on its own, so you have to break it up. 200 dreams in 20 weeks? Well, that means 10 dreams per week, so you could aim for that. I previously suggested 1 dream each weekday and 3 dreams during the weekend, but I found that for me personally, dream recall tends to fluctuate a lot (varies between 0-6 dreams a night) within a week. Like www.luciddreamsnews.com/post/dream-diary-journal-for-lucid-dreaming wrote before, your dream recall ability may be a limiting factor.
Furthermore, these small, easy successes easily build-up to big achievements. Think of it like this: at the beginning of the year, you start with an empty book. Every day of the year, you sit down for 5 minutes and write a single page. Just one, simple as that. You barely even consider the long term, you just write the page. At the end of the year, you’ll have a sizeable novel of 365 pages.
You can choose to either set these sub-goals at the same time as your end goal, but I think setting them along the way (planning ahead for at most a month) allows you to adapt to your current abilities more and prevents spectacular failure, in which you fail to reach all your sub-goals for 7 months straight, which would completely obliterate all your motivation. Just make sure they’ll bring you closer to the end-goal.
Step 5 – Adjust if necessary
Adjust if necessary, but only if REALLY necessary. If you have to adjust a goal, preferably a short-term one. Seriously, only do this if your estimate was COMPLETELY wrong. If you adjust for every little problem you run into, you’ll end up adjusting the goal to your current skill level, which is not what we want. We want our skill levels to rise to the goal, not the other way around.
Why it works
What this program does, is simple: it takes away the barrier to start journalling consistently by minimizing the effort necessary. It keeps you motivated by attaining goals consistently. If you’ve ever induced a lucid dream, I think you remember that feeling when you got lucid for the first time. Awesome, right? Inducing a lucid dream was a goal and you attained it. What you should learn from that is that attaining goals is awesome. There’s is nothing quite like it. It also allows you to tackle big tasks: just take small steps and you’ll get there. You don’t even have to worry much about the big task!