If you read any article on self-growth, you know journaling is a part of the process. That’s because it’s one of the best (and most affordable) tools you can use to help you change and grow.
One of the articles I read the other day suggested 10 percent of the population journals regularly.
It’s easy to believe when I visit my favorite stores and see the abundance of journals. They come in every color, pattern, size and shape. Some are blank – you fill them in. Others offer guidance along the way.
And you don’t have to look any further than my desk to find out just how much of a believer I am in how well they work.
Yet when I talk with women, I’m always surprised at how many of them don’t. “I know I should. I read how helpful it is. But I just don’t have the time.”
Obviously, it’s more than that. “I don’t have the time” is a code phrase for many other things.
- Journal? I have no idea how to do that.
- I tried it. What am I supposed to get out of it?
I started using a diary as a small child, without realizing how meaningful the practice would become. When I started up my first business, I was introduced to the FranklinCovey planners, and I’ve never looked back.
People who very vividly describe or picture their goals are anywhere from 1.2 to 1.4 times more likely to successfully accomplish their goals than people who don’t.
But there’s another deeper phenomenon happening: encoding. Encoding is the biological process by which the things we perceive travel to our brain’s hippocampus where they’re analyzed. From there, decisions are made about what gets stored in our long-term memory and, in turn, what gets discarded. Writing improves that encoding process. In other words, when you write it down it has a much greater chance of being remembered.Forbes
Sounds good, right?
Journaling is actually an easy practice. Yet most women overcomplicate it. It doesn’t have to be difficult. If you knew it could help you get clearer on your goals, manage your time more efficiently, help you achieve greater things, and become a happy, healthier person, would you do it?
Assuming you said yes (you did, didn’t you), I have a few steps to give you another push to start implementing a journal practice into your life.
Start with your why
I journal for one reason only: to be a better me.
Of course, there are a lot of layers to that. But when I lump everything into one phrase, that’s it. Journaling allows me to deep dive into all areas of my life, dig into what I really want, and plan out the best life I can live. It helps me let go of stress, make decisions, think through problems, and build productive days.
Journaling IS NOT for anyone but you. It’s about giving you a safe place to think, ponder, reflect, change, and improve. You won’t publish it (unless you CHOOSE to). You won’t share it with anyone else (unless you CHOOSE to).
Like anything, I think if you want an active journaling practice, you have to take baby steps to grow it. Don’t head to the store and buy multiple journals to keep with you throughout the day. Buy one.
And even before you buy your first journal, it’s important to ask a question first:
Why do I want to journal?
Start with your why. Are you looking for stress relief? Do you want to document your days? Do you want to track your quest for better health? Are you looking to start up a new hobby or business? Are you looking for a massive change in your life?
That’s your best place to start.
Find your voice
“But I’m not a writer.” “I can’t write every day.”
Yes. You can.
You don’t have to be a writer. This is all about you, for you.
And the beauty of journaling is no one has to gain anything from it, but you.
Most journals will give you lots of room to write. Don’t be intimidated by the lines. If you can say everything you have to say in one sentence, that’s okay.
If you like bullet items and phrases instead of complete sentences, that’s okay too.
Writing is a talent that comes over time. The more you do it, the more comfortable you become with the written word. The more you’re ready to put words to the paper, the easier they come.
It really is that simple!
And remember, this is all about YOU!
Create your journaling practice to get you writing
I’m a morning person. I get up, meditate, journal, and start writing. Meditating and journaling allow me to get into the zone, give me the mental energy I need to start my day.
To create a journaling practice, it’s important to set up routines you can stick with. What is your favorite time of the day? When do you have the most flexibility to write? Where can you place your journal to keep it safe and available for writing?
I have a small meditation area by my desk. I keep my journals, pens, music, pillows, and other essentials nearby so I can be in my comfy, creative zone while I write.
For you, that might be near your bed, tucked in a bag you can bring to a park, in your car, by your desk, or even in your kitchen. Choose a place you’re most likely to use it – that’s the most important part.
Then make it a routine. Do it at the same time every day, no matter what.
I was looking back through one of my journals from this past year. One day I wrote three words: Rough day today. And that’s okay. It’s about the practice, not about the words.
Remember, the key is to write.
Fun ways to get started
Journaling has helped me so much this past year, I wanted to share what I’ve learned with you. I’m creating a variety of journals specifically for the things we women face in midlife, as we’re facing change and asking more questions than ever before.
My Second Act Goals journal is filled with advice on moving forward when you hit the plateau that comes right here in midlife.
I remember a few years ago, I started feeling stuck in my career. I was at the top of my game, with lots of recognition in my niche. But I was no longer happy with my future plans. I wanted something … something … I just couldn’t put my finger on it.
So I started writing.
This isn’t an overnight process, something you get your a-ha moment in just a few minutes. It takes time, lots of questions for your inner self, and the ability to notice a pattern with your answers. Second Act Goals is the very process I used to move forward. I think it’s going to help you with your own second act goals.
I’ve also just released A Wellness Journal. It’s specifically for women right here in midlife that wants a vibrant health and wellness plan that will carry them forward as they age.
I know a thing or two about wellness. When my father died twenty-seven years ago of a massive heart attack, I made it my life’s mission to create wellness in my life. When my daughter declared herself a vegetarian when she was three, it only added to my quest for good health.
I’ve filled A Wellness Journal with lots of tidbits about creating a better lifestyle right now in midlife. Of course, my main goal is to open up your mindset, get you thinking about your own lifestyle, and then offering you the opportunity to journal to find your own inner answers.
Visit my new VOS Shop and you’ll also find A Self-Guided Journal Workbook for Personal Growth.
I created this guide specifically for women who know they’re ready for something more in their life, but are still asking the question: What’s next?
We’ve been through a lot this past year. When I started asking women what tops their list of things to work on in the coming months, it all centered around one thing: Mindset. It’s time to calm the mind, discover what makes you YOU, and put it all together to help guide you into What’s Next in your life.
Are you ready?
This is all about you!
What other questions do you have right here in midlife?
What other issues would you like to journal on?
I’m in the process of creating several more that will be ready in the weeks ahead. Watch for them, coming soon.