Figuring out what caused this shift inevitably lead me to wondering why I keep a journal in the first place. When I was younger, I wanted my older self to be able to look back at my entries and learn something about what it was like to be me at that age. As I got older, my priorities changed. Keeping a journal became less about recording my life and more about the the act of writing. Writing was how I figured stuff out. Writing made me feel empowered, and when I wrote out exactly who I wanted to be, and how I was supposedly going to get there, I felt more in control. The problem was, of course, that I never remembered.
One of the innate things about keeping a journal is that you write something down, get something off your chest, and then you forget about it. It's like putting your emotions or experiences into a jar that you only take down from the shelf once a year. So no matter how many times I wrote out my plans, I was putting them in a place that wasn't going to help me very much.
Realizing this has pushed me forward in a lot of ways. For one, I understand now that I don't want to look back at my journals every few years and read about everything I wanted to do, but never did. That, to me, is a far stronger motivator than a million lists and action plans and ideal life scenarios. That fear, the fear of always planning but never doing, is actually a good thing. It keeps me motivated and on track. And more importantly, I can choose it over the other kind. At the very least I'll end up with the kind of journals my older self will actually enjoy reading.