Your Secret Weapon for Success: Journaling
So, obviously we are going to talk about journaling, and I was inspired to talk about this topic because the other day I actually came across a journal entry I wrote in December 2018, which at the time of this recording was 4 months ago. I came across this particular entry and it gave me chills. It was very very accurate. And I’m going to read it to ya’ll here in just a sec, but like I said, I came across it and it moved me so much that it not only inspired this podcast episode, but it inspired me to start journaling again. It was that good.
Prior to realizing this, I had always heard there were benefits to journaling, right? You hear people talk about it all the time. I’ve tried it here and there maybe for a week or two, but never really made it into a habit because I’m the type of person that if I’m going to do something that doesn’t come natural to me, which writing doesn’t, I need to know the benefits of it. I need to know if it really works and how. Otherwise, I don’t want to waste my time, you know?
And that’s kind of where I was at with journaling. I heard everyone else talking about it and I knew a lot of successful people that I look up to journaled regularly, but I didn’t know if it was more of a thing that they just liked to do or if there was some actual real science-backed proof to the benefits of it. So, that’s where I was at before I came across this entry.
I found it a few days ago, and it was a really cool moment for me. I was using a future focused writing technique which is where you write as if it’s a future scenario and you’re describing exactly what you want to create. In this case, I was describing how I had a packed out mastermind and the type of women that I was working with.
At the time I was writing this entry, I had only just announced my mastermind and I’m not sure if anyone had joined yet, but I was writing as the person who had exactly what I wanted, which was a mastermind with at least 10 women.
I currently have OVER 10 women in my mastermind, and they all are 1000% what I would consider dream clients. They even share proudly that I’m their coach. I think that’s the part that stood out to me the most, because I remember writing that. I remember thinking that thought because to me, if they’re proud to work with me and they share freely with their friends, team members and audiences, that means they are getting value from our partnership together. That’s the whole point of my mastermind in the first place! So yea, everything I wrote on that sheet of paper manifested even better than I previously imagined.
So cool right??
When I came across this the other day, I was like dude, there’s something to this. Now it makes sense to me why so many successful people journal. AND by the way, writing that journal entry wasn’t the only thing that contributed to achieving that goal. Obviously, there was a ton of inspired action that took place afterward, and I have plenty to say about that too in a future episode. But I truly believe there’s something about putting pen to paper and writing down the specifics of what you want to create in this world.
So I looked into it a bit more for research for this episode and sure enough, there’s tons of information out there about the benefits of journaling. Not only for creative purposes but for your health as well. So I’m going to break down what those benefits are, and also the different ways to journal. The example I just described is just one of the many different ways you can go about journaling. We’ll get into a couple more of those ways and then I’ll wrap up with some of my favorite journals for ya’ll if you’re interested in implementing this into your daily routine.
Sound good??! Let’s get started.
Benefits of Journaling
First, I think it’s a good idea to start with some of the benefits to journaling, because I know how busy you are. So, I’m hoping that by you hearing some of these benefits, they’ll give you enough incentive to try this out for yourself if you haven’t already.
The first benefit I think is worth sharing is journaling can actually your increase self awareness. The article I was reading that was describing this brought up such a great point. Nowadays we are all addicted on some level to input.. whether that be social media, tv, podcasts, music, books, etc. etc.
Very rarely do most people take the time to sit in their thoughts for long enough to be fully aware of them, let alone address them. I know for me this couldn’t be more accurate! No matter what I’m doing, whether it’s the dishes, taking a shower, working out, taking a walk, driving.. there’s ALWAYS something I’m listening to or inputting INTO my brain. Very, very rarely do I make the same effort to just be or to let out my thoughts.
If you’re like that too.. the risk we’re running here is our thoughts and emotions don’t just go away. We can bury them beneath a lot of other information for a while, but eventually they’re going to come out in some way. There’s been studies on how suppressed thoughts and emotions can even cause illness.
Journaling is a very intentional means of output because you’re getting out on paper your inner most thoughts which naturally allows you to become aware of what’s actually going on in your brain. And also, when you’re in an emotional mood, journaling can help you to more fully experience and understand those emotions, which is essentially you venting in a safe way, which allows for a quick release so that you can move forward.
Journaling also frees up mental space, which can allow you to be more creative and focused on things that are important to you. And this goes back to the output I was just talking about. We have somewhere between 50 to 70 THOUSAND thoughts per day. That’s around 40 - 50 thoughts per minute.
So, a good brain dump of all the things that you need to do or remember is probably the most effective way to clear your head so you can actually focus for longer lengths of time, which naturally will help be more productive and think up new, fresh ideas.
And speaking of new, fresh ideas.. journaling can help you get clear on what you REALLY want to accomplish and the things you need to do to get there.
So back to my mastermind example. I didn’t even know I wanted to do a mastermind until I journaled on it for a bit. My business was in a place where I knew I wanted to offer some type of coaching, but a mastermind didn’t even occur to me as something that was attainable because, if I’m being brutally honest, I had never done one before and I didn’t think I had enough credentials or experience to confidently offer one, let alone fill one up.
At the time I myself was working with a fantastic coach who asked something so simple yet so profound to me one day when we were brainstorming about my next offer. She asked, “what do you WANT to offer??” Not what do you think is possible? Or what is everyone else doing right now in their businesses, but “what sounds FUN to you? what do YOU want to do?“
And I couldn’t even answer that. I really was at a loss, because I had never even considered going inward and getting clear on that. I had always operated from a place of watching what other people in similar industries were doing, you know? Success leaves clues, so that’s how I worked. I kinda of subconsciously assumed that if people ahead of me were doing things one way, that’s probably how I should do it too. Whether I wanted to or not.
It wasn’t until I was asked that question and then took it to my journal to hash it out that I finally came around to the realization that I didn’t want to just do 1:1 coaching. I didn’t just want to offer courses. I loved the set up and vibe of a mastermind, and that’s what I really wanted to offer.
I want YOU to slow down and consider and maybe even JOURNAL on that question too. Because I think it’s really easy for us to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of our everyday routine, but it’s SO important to slow down long enough to make sure what you’re working on so hard for is something you actually want to achieve. Not just what you think you should or what everyone else is doing. Because until you get clear on that, you can’t get clear on the steps you need to take to reach the destination that you truly want to get to.
The last benefit to journaling that we are going to go over is there have been several research studies that show regular journaling can reduce stress in a variety of ways and also allow you to move on from past experiences that may still be holding you back.
AGAIN, this goes back to us all being addicted to input because it allows us to temporarily numb our emotions right?? It’s great!! But just because we get that initial hit of distraction doesn’t mean our past experiences just disappear. So, you can address this by using journaling as a tool to release pent up thoughts and emotions, which can lead to empowerment AND or detaching and letting go from the past.
I found this to be so interesting: you can also use journaling as an exercise to re-experience the past with today’s adult mind. So, if you ever went through or experienced something in your childhood that maybe still affects you to this day, it may be because you’re still looking at the experience from the perspective of the age you were went you went through it.
Does that make sense? You can literally journal out what the experience was from a new, more mature perspective, which will hopefully allow you to detach from it and finally move on. Of course, it’s not that simple for everyone and I’m certainly not saying journaling should or could replace support like therapy or counseling, but you hopefully get what I’m saying.
Three Ways to Journal
Those are just some of the benefits you can experience from taking the time to do this yourself, but now what about all the different ways you can go ABOUT journaling? Because there are lots of them…
I don’t think there’s even a wrong way to journal, but I wanted to outline a few ideas for you to hopefully inspire you do this yourself.
I feel like the most obvious way to journal is of course as a way to download and record what’s going on in your life, like a diary. That serves a great purpose, especially so you and loved ones later on can go through and recall past experiences. That’s super valuable and this for sure serves as a way for you to clear some of that mental space after long day of constant input.