Journaling Idea #11: A Janus Journal

Photo by Jacobus Harrewyn of an 1698 engraving of Janus, representing January–the month bearing his name

The duality captured by the two-faced Roman god Janus, often depicted with an old face looking back and a young face looking forward, is the source for my idea for a two-column journal where an individual reflects on the completed day on the left side and plans for the upcoming day on the right side.

If you journal in the morning, your two columns would likely be headed yesterday and today.

If you journal later in the day, your two columns would likely be headed today and tomorrow.

Either way, you are reflecting on what you have already done and projecting what you would like to do.

The English verb reflect comes from the Latin reflectere, meaning bend back. As you metaphorically bend back to look at what you have done, record your actions and their results (if you know them) in the left-hand column of your Janus journal. Write as little or as much as time or desire directs. Separate each of your actions with a blank line , an indentation for a new paragraph, or an icon, i.e. a bullet or an asterisk.

In the right-hand column project what you want to do. The English verb project comes from the Latin proicere, meaning to throw forward. Your Janus journal provides you the opportunity to be mindful, to consciously pause and consider your options for the future. Like an athlete, take a moment and envision yourself acting your best. Describe your future action in the right-hand column directly opposite your past action. Do you want to act the same in the future or make adjustments to your actions. Choose your words carefully to make your vision clear.

Photo by David Stone
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