A meditation journal can be a helpful way to spot patterns in challenges you’re encountering while meditating and that can help you figure out ways to support yourself in overcoming those challenges. I started a journal last week to track the experience of going through the eight weeks of meditation exercises for our Full Catastrophe Living book club.

It’s okay for meditation to be a struggle. Just trying to meditate is useful. As you can see from the entries in my journal, I didn’t just sit and meditate perfectly for 15 minutes every day this past week. I started a new job and that had my mind jumping all over the place so my meditation practice was all about trying to get my mind to sit. I also missed one day because I told myself I would meditate at night (but I didn’t). One of the benefits of keeping your journal is learning about the excuses you make to skip out on meditation. When your mind throws them at you in the future, you’ll be better prepared to laugh at them.

Try keeping your own meditation journal but don’t meditate just to write it down. Use the journal to record challenges and also successes. See what works and build on that. Watch how your struggles diminish over time and also how your mind gradually changes.