From middle school through my late twenties, I was an avid journaler. I figured out so much about life and myself through writing down my thoughts. After completing a course on The Artist’s Way, I even did “morning pages” for a long time, dumping out three complete pages of stream-of-consciousness every morning upon awakening.
And then at some point, I stopped writing. Specifically, I stopped writing anything down on paper. That was when I started my entrepreneur’s journey. At a time when journaling was probably the most important thing I could do, I was “too busy” to do it. I was always typing, clicking, designing. Never writing.
I lost that sensory connection of hand-pen-paper.
When I was pregnant with my daughter–another time when journaling would have been SO helpful–I found journaling even less appealing. Anyone who has gone through pregnancy can tell you that some of the thoughts that go through your head with all those hormonal shifts are so out there that they need to stay in there (your brain). I dared not write down my roller coaster of thoughts without having a match and fireplace nearby.
Fast forward to my initiation into motherhood. The first three years of my daughter’s life have been, for me, a time of total life re-calibration. Journaling? Again, something that could have come in handy, but what mom of a pre-schooler has time for journaling, let alone running a business?
Enter the Self Journal.
I wrote a little about the Self Journal here, but I have now have one month working with it and it has already restored my faith in writing things down–whether it’s to acknowledge and release stuck emotions or to identify goals and manifest results.
Whatever the purpose, writing it down works.
Here are three ways it has worked for me recently:
1. Balancing my emotions about my business
I cannot count how many nights I have been up at 1:00 a.m. struggling to finish a task and feeling so inadequate because my brain. just. can’t. push. through. (And without fail, the next morning I complete the task in a fraction of the time I worked on it the night before.)
In the Self Journal, there is a section I can write my goal for the day (or I can choose to write a more long term goal there if I want.) Recently, I have discovered something magical about writing emotional goals–that is, no matter what I get done by the end of the day, my goal is to feel good about it. I have found that simply writing this down helps align my entire day so that I am actually more productive. And if I don’t get something done by the end of the day, I still feel a sense of completion and confidence that I will be able to make more progress on it the next morning.
By writing down an emotional goal for the day, I am able to shift my emotions to work for me and not against me.
2. Recognizing cause and effect
One of my favorite things about the Self Journal is that it gives me the opportunity to reflect on each week in terms of how I feel about it and what I actually accomplished.
If I feel like the week was only a “7” out of 10, I can easily trace it back to some factors that I can change in the next week. I actually feel like I can pause and take a look back at one week before charging into the next. If there was something preventing my week from being the best it could be, I now know what it is and can change it for the next week.
And a bonus of this practice is that my weeks no longer blend into one another.
3. Reaching revenue goals
I mentioned in my first blog of 2017 that I took time off in December, knowing that my revenue would fall off a bit. So, making revenue goals for January (and beyond) was essential for me to get back on track.
I wrote down a goal for January and even broke it down into what I would need to make each day.
On January 30, I had only made 73% of my goal. I was resigned to making a “C” on my revenue grade for the month.
And then on January 31, payments came in that I did not expect until a few days later. So I actually did make my goal. This accomplishment felt wonderful in itself after having a slow December, but it also gave me confidence about my February goal.
I feel strongly that my action of writing it down and tracking my progress in the Self Journal helped me to make this goal, even though a day before the end of the month, I was convinced that I wouldn’t.
I am sure there is a scientific/neural/cognitive reason why writing things down is so effective in processing thoughts and feelings and working toward goals. For me, it feels good…especially with my favorite pen–the Pilot Precise V7 Rolling Ball Fine (not Extra Fine) Point Pen–in blue. 🙂
If you are feeling scattered, stuck or stifled, consider finding a guided journal (like the Self Journal) and getting a handful of your favorite pens (I had to buy a dozen so I would know I have at least one near me at all times). You may find that writing things down will not only clear the clutter in your head, but will help you move forward in your business and in life.
Do you have a favorite journal (and/or pen) that you like to use?