A new journal. Lovely!
Full of promise. Self-coaching and reflection magnet. Trusty companion. Overwhelm-overcomer. Clarity Catalyst. Mind-map container.
My last journal was about this size too. Not so huge that it won’t fit in my purse and not so tiny that I get a cramp in my hand from trying to write in it. It took me 18 months to use up every last page! Sometimes, I wrote every day. Other times, once a week for a bit. It saw me through times of both incredible growth and momentum AND times of deep stuckness and confusion.
Sounds silly, but my journal was there for me! Always helping me combat my mouthy inner critic. At my side when I couldn’t figure out where to start because I was brimming with so many ideas - and potential distractions! Providing a safe space to break down the pros and cons of various decisions. To mindmap new business and program ideas. To dream big!
It always strikes me funny that most of my coaching clients actually resist using a journal at first. They’ll tell me, “I have it all in my head.” Or, “I like post-it notes.” Or, “I’ll just type it into One Note”. Or, my favourite (not): “Journalling just doesn’t work for me.”
Research* shows that writing your thoughts down by hand is a powerful way to set goals, process ideas, internalize learning, create momentum, and stay accountable to yourself. Research or not, I know from experience working with people, that when they try it, and build a journal habit over time, it makes a meaningful difference in both their accomplishments and in their stress levels.
For most of my life, I only journalled when I was in distress or having a rough time. For example, when I was going through a divorce and when I lost my mom. For the past 5 years though, I have used it for way more than that. Over that time, I built a substantial real estate portfolio, left a job that no longer gave me energy, went back to school, started a business, developed new networks and friendships, and improved my health. The key to changing my attitude towards journalling was to drop my old assumptions of what journalling was and could be. It doesn’t have to be a “dear diary” type of thing, with only deep thoughts and pages of emotional venting. It can be filled with anything you want! For example:
There really is no right or wrong way to journal. And if you don’t try it, you’re missing out on the benefits of this cheap and simple but incredibly effective life tool!