25 Jan THE POWER OF JOURNALING AND THE ART OF FOCUSSING ON WHAT WE WANT
“Get so fixated on what you want, that you drown out any vibration or reverberation that has anything to do with what you do not want” Abraham Hicks
As I think about the new year and new habits, I’m also reflecting on what worked well for me last year. So, when I had a client come into the office asking about journaling and goal setting, I realised that this has been a habit that really has worked well for me over the years … especially when I did it consistently! LOL!
Despite my career as a counsellor, it might surprise you to know that I’m not one for languishing in feelings that make me feel bad or sad. So, my journaling tends to focus more on what I’m wanting to create in my life and to help me find clarity and resolution.
The big question is why journal. To me journaling is a way to reconnect with myself and focus on what I want to create in my life. That includes how I feel, how I think and how I take responsibility for creating things – both good and bad. It also helped me to feel like I’m working through things, by talking to myself, without being in my head constantly. When I write things down, I can see it and it’s not so scary. Then it helps me to better analyse those fears, rather than trying to make sense of the over-thinking in my head.
By the way, if you’re an overthinker, the best cure is writing and journaling!
So how do I do it? Here’s 9 ideas to help you exploit the power of journaling
- Get a journal
This is so obvious but it’s often overlooked. The number of clients that will tell me they want to journal, but don’t actually anywhere to put their thoughts into, is huge! Or, you might be that person that has twenty different notebooks, all blank, with the intention of journaling but not being able to get started.
If you fall into the first category, don’t worry about being fancy; go to K-Mart and grab a $2 notebook. There’s a huge range available and some even have come with inspirational sayings on them! Alternatively, you can use one of the many that you already have.
2. There’s no right or wrong about journaling
I will say very honestly that my version of journaling is simply what I’ve found works for me over the years (and let’s face it I’ve had lots of years to practise lol). The specific way that I journal works for me, but it may not work for another person. Within our team at Whitehaven Clinic, each of us would have a different “formula” of how to journal. And that’s probably because we’re each a different personality type and we need different things at different times
3. Journaling changes depending on what we’re facing in our life
I’ve discovered that journaling for my personal growth has changed over the years. When I went through my second divorce my journaling was very raw and focussed on quite in-depth work, and there were lots of tears. I spent a lot of time exploring different themes around relationships and my beliefs about family. But now, it’s much more about what I want to create in my future, so it’s more about vision and purpose, and no tears
4. Create themes for journaling
A technique that I’ve found really effective is to focus my journaling around a theme. I try to keep it really simple. One of the ideas that I borrowed from Abraham Hicks was to divide my book into four sections and write at the top of the page in each section a different theme. My ones recently were work, relationships, personal growth, home. But you could have anything that speaks to you. At times I’ve had a section specifically focussed on ‘fun’ and I’ve seen others use ‘my body’ as a topic.
Once I’ve written those as headings, I then start brainstorming each section using the prompt: “This is what I desire regarding my INSERT THEME”. For example, “this is what I desire regarding my work”.
Then I will write a list of about 3 to 5 things that I desire for that topic. For example, for work, “I want to create a really healthy, dynamic team that is supportive and helps me achieve our business goals”.
Then underneath each of those statement, I write about why I want those things. This helps me to focus and obtain more clarity about what the resolution looks like.
5. Have a regular routine around journaling
Routine is the key to every new ritual, including journaling. If you don’t commit and put time aside, then it’s not going to happen. Our focus reflects our priorities in life. So, if you want more time to connect with yourself, it would be best to book the time into your calendar and then follow through with it.
6. Journal at the same time each time
Having a regular time of the day that you journal means that it more easily becomes a habit.
Personally, I do my journaling at the local coffee shop at about 6:30am every morning. Not only do I get a good caffeine hit with my soy latte, but it’s also a quiet time of the day to reflect, away from distractions – other than saying hi to the regulars that I know.
7. Know what your purpose for journaling is
There are so many different types of journaling. Like is said before, my journaling is about focussing on what I want and what I’m hoping to create. Others feel that exploring their feelings on a particular topic gives them more clarity about what they want.
If you are unsure and need a starting point, here’s a version that I borrowed from Tony Robbins. His focus is on looking at turning problems into solutions and embracing gratitude to help us learn and grow – so that really appealed to me.
Here’s some great starting points to focus on in your first week of journaling:
THE PROBLEM-SOLVING QUESTIONS
- What is great about this problem?
- What is not perfect yet?
- What am I willing to do to make it the way I want it?
- What am I no longer willing to do in order to make it the way I want it?
- How can I enjoy the process while I do what is necessary to make it the way I want it?
THE MORNING POWER QUESTIONS
- What am I happy about in my life now?
- What am I excited about in my life now?
- What am I proud about in my life now?
- What am I grateful about in my life now?
- What am I enjoying most in my life right now?
- What am I committed to in my life right now?
- Who do I love? Who loves me?
THE EVENING POWER QUESTIONS
- What have I given today?
- What did I learn today?
- How has today added to the quality of my life or how can I use today as an investment in my future?
8. How many different journals do I want to use?
Personally, I have two different types of journals. One is for personal things that I want to explore for personal development, and the other is specifically for work-related topics and business growth. To start, utilise one version, then see if you can extend it into other areas of your life.
9. Give it a chance – review what’s working and what’s not working and regroup
Like anything, it can take a few goes to get into a pattern and to reap the benefits. Ideally, at the end of the first week you would review what’s working and what’s prevented you from journaling and then reset for the second week using that learning.
Journaling has definitely been a cornerstone that has helped me to gain more clarity about what I really want in my life. And like anything, if you feel it’s right for you, then don’t hesitate any longer, commit and start.