I’ve been journaling consistently now for over two years and in that time a lot has changed in my life. I don’t think it is a coincidence that these positive changes have happened since I’ve been journaling.
In fact, my experience has shown me that regular journaling is one of the best tools we can use to transform our lives.
It might sound a bit too easy, but it’s true: anyone can use their journaling practice to create positive changes, overcome fear and bring their dreams to life.
Since I began journaling every day – in the space of two years – the following things have happened in my life:
- I’ve begun and maintained a creative practice, including making and sharing my art
- I’ve left full-time employment and made peace with the uncertainty of what’s coming next
- I’m more at peace and happier than I have been in a long time (as someone who has been through many depressive episodes in her life, I’ve not even been close to feeling that way since developing my journaling habit)
- My relationship with my partner has improved dramatically (as a side note, he proposed to me shortly after I began my journaling practice, which I also do not think is a coincidence)
- I’ve begun and developed a blog, something I’ve wanted to do for years
- My partner and I have begun to make our tiny house dream a reality – building our own house together after years of talking about it
- I’m creating an online business using my teaching and coaching skills so I can become self-employed
- My partner and I have found a way to purchase our dream property and move to the countryside
In short: many of my long-term dreams have become a reality.
How is this possible? What is it about journaling, the simple act of writing down our thoughts and feelings regularly, that has allowed my life to change in such dramatic ways?
It comes down to a few simple factors.
Each morning when I open my journal to write, I find myself writing about what’s happening in my life: what I’m doing, how things are going, what’s working and what’s not.
I write about the things I dream of, what I hope for, what I long for.
This is what happens when you journal regularly: each and every day you show up to the page, you refine and clarify exactly how you want your life to look as you bring into your awareness the things that are and aren’t working in your life as it is.
You also get clear about the things standing between you and the life you want: journaling encourages you to dig deep so that you can uncover your doubts, worries and fears.
Before long, it becomes clear what it is that you want and what it is that is standing in your way.
It takes honesty and courage to get clear, but the more regularly you journal, the more clarity you will get.
- Try this: make lists of the following:
- What’s working in my life
- What isn’t working in my life
- What I want my life to look like
- What I long for
Reread these lists as you journal over the coming days.
Some believe that journaling, like meditation and other spiritual practices, allows you to connect with the divine or a greater power than yourself. Others believe that journaling allows you to connect with your own higher self, a source of inner wisdom. Some believe these two are the same thing.
God, inner wisdom, the universe, the divine… call it what you like, but something magical happens when you show up to the page often enough. You open up a channel to a higher source of wisdom, faith and courage to which you wouldn’t normally have access.
When you journal regularly, this connection is strengthened and can become a valuable source of guidance. This connection allows for inspiration. It helps you to feel strong and courageous. It reminds you to have faith even when you might falter.
Through this connection to something bigger, you can often find the answers you seek. By asking questions in your journal and being open, answers will come.
Fostering a daily connection with our highest and wisest self can only be a good thing.
- Try this: take some quiet time alone with your journal. Decide how you would best like to address the source of higher wisdom you seek (e.g. God, inner self, universe, divine, etc). Then, write to this source asking a question you want the answers to. Be clear, direct and honest. Once you have written your question, take a moment to pause and sit in silence. Whatever comes to mind, write this down. This is the response. Be open to whatever you hear and allow it to come freely.
So you get clear about what you want, you find the answers and guidance you need, but what about actually taking steps to make things happen?
The journal is a powerful tool to help you overcome resistance. Resistance is usually just fear disguised as procrastination, excuses, distractions, perfectionism, and other similar states.
Resistance is usually present when doing something new, making a change, or stepping out of your comfort zone in any way. Resistance is the reason so many wonderful dreams don’t become reality.
But I have found the fastest way to kill resistance is to expose it. Journal about it. Get honest and let it all out.
Why? Because when you write down your fears, when you put them into words and onto paper, they lose their power. They are no longer these big scary ideas floating around in your mind – they are mere sentences and words. And most of the time, you will see that they aren’t that scary after all.
- Try this: in your journal, answer this question: what is stopping you from creating a life you love? Write honestly and let all your fears pour out onto the page. Don’t worry if they sound silly; just write whatever it is that is bothering you. When you have finished, write an affirmation encouraging yourself to be bold.
Staying in alignment
The daily act of writing means that you are regularly checking in with yourself. Instead of pushing through busy days without a moment to stop and think, the act of journaling forces you to slow down and reflect. It brings awareness to your life.
Each day that I show up to my journal and complain about something that is not working in my life is a reminder that I’m not doing enough of the things that bring me joy, that are taking my closer to my dreams.
Journaling daily – checking in with yourself emotionally, mentally, spiritually on a regular basis – can help you to stay on track.
Why? Because it highlights areas of incongruity in your life. You may journal about how much you hate being in debt but then in the same entry write about how you love shopping. What may not be obvious in your daily life can be easily highlighted when you write it down – and especially so when you write it down often.
Journaling regularly reminds you of your goals and values and brings awareness to your thoughts and actions. Slowly but surely, the two will come into alignment and, as long as you keep journaling, they will stay that way.
- Try this: for the next week, write every day for 15 minutes at the same time. Use this time to check in with yourself emotionally, mentally, spiritually. How are you feeling? What is on your mind? What is your current energy? Note down anything else you want to.
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It’s easy to underestimate the power of something this simple, but it’s often the simplest things that have the greatest impact. Jamie Ridler has a fantastic project right now called Give a Girl a Journal that gifts journals to young girls in order to help them empower themselves through the creative process. You can contribute and help to spread the journaling goodness here.
I’m not the same person I was a year ago and it’s all because I pick up my pen to write and create for 30 minutes each day.