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Years ago I ran a handmade bath and body products business. What started out as an interest in essential oils quickly blossomed into soap making, hand and body lotions, salt scrubs, herbal baths, lip balms, herbal balms, facial steams, and so much more.

The list of things I tried and sold was quite long and I don’t even remember all of the products off the top of my head. Thankfully, if I go back to my soap making journal I can find that list as well as most of my recipes, trials, errors, and notes about each experiment.

It was through my soap-making journal I began to see the the value of journaling more than just my daily thoughts.

Early into that adventure, I was overwhelmed with all the options of things I could make. There were so many different ingredients and so many different combinations to try. The trying out of new recipes & formulating my own unique versions were the best parts of that business for me.

In the midst of the overwhelm I read somewhere (I wish I could remember & give credit) about the idea of journaling each experiment with ingredients used, quantity of each, the resulting textures, effectiveness etc.

These notes became invaluable as I learned more about my craft, what worked, what didn’t, and what to tweak in the recipe the next time to get my desired result.

I still have notes tracking back through the 23 different combinations of oils I tried, just to find my signature face cream and hand lotion recipe. That base recipe is the one I still use today years later.

Not long after that I started a journal of my cooking adventures and hiking trips.

In my cooking journal I started to have fun re-working some my favorite recipes and kept notes on what I changed, the date, how it worked & what to try next time.

My hiking books became journals of the dates I went on the hike, my personal rating what I liked about it, and how I felt during and after the hike.

In our journey for improved health there are so many options, ideas, suggestions and conflicting opinions out there that it can get overwhelming on where to start and what to try.

Pick 3 Things to Experiment With

My suggestion? Pick out 3 things you would like to try. For example:

  1. An essential oil bath
  2. Give a healthy makeover to a family favorite recipe
  3. Start a Couch to 5K running plan

For each experiment, document what you tried and what you learned. Did the recipe turn out? Did you like the combination of oils, did you feel great after your first day of running? With each experiment you will learn, grow in confidence, and be ready to try something new the next time.

Health Journal Tips

1) Get Organized

One thing I wish I had done better with in my soap journal is to keep a better separation of types of experiments. My lip balm tests are buried somewhere in between facial steams, carpet freshener and body butter. When I am in a hurry and I want to look at what I have tried already, it can get frustrating. I do have it broken out by soap and then bath & body… but some days that is not enough

2) Write. It. Down.

Trust me even when you are trying only 3 simple things. You will not remember in a week how many drops of essential oil you used or what new spice you tried. These types of notes are invaluable later on in your health journey. Plus it’s fun to go back through your notes and see just how far you have come.

3) Make It Fun

Your health journey should be something to look forward, not dreaded. Keep your journal notes in a great binder or a super cute journal that you can’t help but smile at when you see it. Find a way to look forward to documenting what you have learned.

4) Save Your Favorites

Once you find your favorite soap, lotion, essential oil or cooking recipes, treat them special. I usually type them out and put them in a sheet protector at the front of my notebook for easy reference. Even still… keep notes on what you do each time you make that recipe. As you continue to grow and learn you will find yourself tweaking ingredients and experimenting even more.

What experiments or recipes do you need to start documenting today?