Journaling to empower your life

write every day about the steps you are taking to accomplish your goals or what you want to start doing to reach your goal.

by Doreene Clement — 

Keeping a journal or a diary creates many advantages and possibilities and has been proven to enhance well-being. Set your journal where you will see it every day and find a quiet time and place to journal. You can use a notebook, a blank book or a computer for your journaling, because any of these serve as outlets for expression.

Using this outlet for expression can help you see what’s on your mind so that you can process and understand your stress, create focus and clarity, or track your goals and intentions. Here are three ways you can use your journal to empower yourself in both your personal and professional life.

Reduce stress. Journaling on a regular basis about daily events, joys and struggles alike, can help you face your day and solve your problems with less stress. When you record the thoughts and events of your day, you are processing your feelings, your fears and your joys as you write. To help alleviate the stress in your day, you can create a routine and journaling system for yourself. Each morning, ask yourself a question. This becomes a “check-in” question for the day, and writing down the answer can be a great way to focus your day.

For example, ask questions like: “What am I going to do today that will support just me?” Or, “What am I going to do today at work, or with friends and family, that is different from anything I have done before?” Another idea might be, “What one thing do I want to accomplish today that I have not had time to do?” You can ask the same question each day, or ask a new one.

You can also create a journal to record the areas of your life you want to change. For example, “I want to stop bringing up things from my past that no longer apply or serve me.” Or, “I am enough. I do not have to live in fear.” You can journal on one topic alone, until it feels finished.

Another journaling idea is to determine in a one-sentence statement about what is causing your stress. For example, “Bob really bugs me when he misses deadlines.” Then ask yourself why? Answer the why question in one declarative sentence. For example, you might write, “When Bob misses deadlines, it makes me look bad.” Keep making statements, followed by asking yourself why. Always write down your first thought in one sentence. Do this process 10, 20 times or more, until you discover what is really causing your stress. Hint: It probably will have nothing to do with the original sentence.

Create focus and clarity. Journaling in itself can create more focus and clarity in your life. It can summarize what was most important about your day for you, what you are grateful for, your health progress or allow you to monitor your dreams.

Track your goals and intentions. Goals are the things you want to accomplish. Be as specific as you can in your journal. For example, you could set goals like: lose 10 pounds in three months, read more every day, have more time with my family, etc. Resolutions are statements about the ways in which you are resolved to achieve your goals.

Again, be as specific as you can. For example: eat nutritious foods; set aside one hour every night to read; change my schedule at work or always keep Saturdays free. Then, write every day about the steps you are taking to accomplish your goals or what you want to start doing to reach your goal.

 

The late Doreene Clement is the author of The 5 Year Journal.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 25, Number 6, December 2006/January 2007.

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