Here’s what journaling can help you accomplish: anything you want.
Bold statement, right? A journal is one of the most powerful goal-achieving and self-development tools, yet ironically, one of the most neglected. Keeping a daily journal can:
- Motivate and inspire you.
- Teach you (you are your own best teacher).
- Keep you on track.
- Give you feedback on your actions.
- Help you overcome fears so you can get out of your self-imposed box.
- Entertain you; make you laugh and cry as you re-read accounts of your life’s journey.
- Open doors because it opens your mind.
- Help you in ways completely unique to you.
- Help you clarify what you want and how you will achieve it.
- Help you make the best use of all of your other personal development tools.
- Creates self-awareness through introspection.
It’s really true that you are your own best teacher – if you could just get out of your own way! Getting out of your way is something necessary for goals achievement; and although life ultimately isn’t just about achieving goal after goal, your goals inspire you to reach higher and grow… and nothing outlines AND chronicles the process better than a journal.
When you come back after a period of time and read what you wrote about yourself and your goals, you see your journal entries from a new perspective. A lot has happened in your life since then and you have changed. You’ve accomplished. Failed. Dusted yourself off and tried again. Learned. You’ve had moments of inspiration and moments of despair. Times when things flowed and times when everything was difficult. Moments of light and clarity and moments of doubt and indecision.
You’ve grown. Do you still think and act the same way now as you did back then? Do you operate under the same self-imposed constraints as before? Are you more open to alternatives and different perspectives now?
Rereading accounts of your mistakes and triumphs helps you relax and take life less seriously. Journaling helps you make a game of life – no winners, no losers, just a journey with its many ups, downs, winding roads, fun times and struggles.
If you don’t consider yourself a writer, write anyway. Write how you speak. Journals don’t have to be poetry and you don’t have to hunt for words of wisdom that don’t seem to be coming. Journals can be just as business-like and matter-of-fact as you like. Sometimes a sentence will do, other times you may want to pour your heart out. However you express yourself is perfect.
Just keep one rule in mind: be honest. You’re not going to do yourself any good if you are dishonest with yourself. Your journal is the perfect, private place to say what you MUST say, whether the truth stings your ego or not. In fact, saying what you need to say here, in the privacy of your journal, will help you prepare for facing others with the truth.
What can you uncover about yourself in a journal? Oh, that’s the beauty of it all! You may see how empowered you’ve become as you overcame difficulties. You may find inner strength you didn’t know you had. You may find your purpose. You may get answers to questions that have been nagging at you for a long time.
And, you’ll develop your intuition through journaling. Where else can you open write down what you feel, even if what you are feeling or perceiving doesn’t seem to be based on reality?
There really is magic in writing down your thoughts. One idea will spark another; and another; and if you allow yourself to be carried by this train of thought, you can wind up in the most amazing place of awareness and understanding.
Start a journal today if you haven’t already done so – and if you’ve been negligent in writing, commit to just 5 minutes a day. Come on, you can squeeze 5 minutes out of any schedule, and it’s going to be a vital 5 minutes of 100% investment in yourself. Read your journal periodically, just for fun and to see how you’ve made progress on your dreams. You might uncover insights; you never know what wisdom you have penned until you see it with fresh eyes!
Still stuck for what to write? No problem! Start with one of these suggestions:
Every day, write down 10 things you are grateful for. FEEL gratitude for what you write about. This is one of those things that tends to snowball. You may not want to stop at 10, especially when you realize the power of gratitude to completely change your life around!
Write what you did today, and how each of those actions made you feel
You don’t have to get as mundane as “I put on my socks. I felt happy.” Focus on interactions with other people; on actions you took and specifically on actions that you KNEW you should have taken but didn’t, and the ones you knew you should have avoided but chose anyway. “I should have sent my mortgage payment today but I procrastinated. I felt anxious about that.” The more you become attuned to your feelings, the more you can learn to take the actions that feel good and avoid taking those that don’t (including the feeling of “I should have…”) These are the actions that will take you straight to your goals!
Combine visualization and journaling as a manifesting tool
Use the visualization techniques you learn in the Silva Method to enhance your journaling; every day, write a short little blurb about your goals and visualize them at the same time (a daily manifesting moment)!
So, use your journal as a powerful goal-setting tool. You don’t even have to think of it in terms of personal development if you don’t want to. Those improvements will come naturally as you learn from what you wrote!