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.
You can also use journaling as a way to dispel limiting beliefs. This is one of my favorite ways to journal, and something I actually learned through the coach i referred to earlier, Sara Dann. Any time something would come up for me in the form of a limiting belief, she would sometimes tell me to journal on it.
At first this was kind of frustrating to me because I didn’t really get it. I didn’t understand how journaling could help me to get over a limiting belief. I just wanted to hear something wise and have it change my belief in a second flat, but of course it doesn’t work that way. I mean, I guess depending on how long you’ve had this belief it sometimes can be dispelled quickly, but usually it doesn’t and after doing this myself, I eventually came to realize that journaling out your limiting beliefs is incredibly effective and I advise my own clients to do this sometimes as well.
Just so we’re clear, a limiting belief is something you picked up at some point in your life that you believe to be true about yourself or the world that does not serve your greatest potential, and is probably not even true.
A classic example of this is a person when they were younger had a teacher or a peer make them feel like they weren’t very smart for whatever reason, and because they were at such an impressionable age they believed it to be true. That belief got ingrained into their subconscious and eventually got carried into adulthood. So until this person realizes that they’re carrying around this limiting belief, they actually consider themselves to be unintelligent. See how sneaky that is??
Most times people don’t even realize their beliefs are limiting or especially how far back they picked up a limiting belief, and this is dangerous because as you go through life, if you have the belief that you aren’t very smart, that will be demonstrated in your actions as well..right? Maybe you won’t go for the dream career or you won’t allow yourself to speak your mind in significant situations.
So you want to start paying attention to your beliefs about yourself and the world in general and make sure you don’t have any sneaky limiting ones that are holding you back.
How you’d go about this through journaling is once you become aware of a limiting belief that you have, you would write it out. You’d get it all out on paper and then you’ll basically argue against it why it’s not true. Remember when I said I didn’t even let myself CONSIDER launching a mastermind, because I didn’t think I had enough credentials to do one, yet? Well that’s another example of a limiting belief. I had the belief that since I had never hosted a mastermind before, no one would want to be in mine.
I let all of that out on paper, and from THERE argued against everything I wrote out. Which essentially looked a lot like, “who says I have to have specific credentials to host a mastermind? And hey, I’ve been in the social media industry for 6 years now.. I actually have a ton of valuable knowledge and experience!” I also reminded myself that there’s always people who are at a more beginner-level than myself that would love to know what I know.
I think what REALLY helped me put this limiting belief to bed was that I reminded myself WHY I wanted to do a mastermind in the first place. It was because I genuinely craved making a difference in women’s businesses, and this was the best way to make the most impact for me at this time. By doing that one journal entry, I was able to launch my mastermind confidently. That’s the key. I was confident in my ability to help women transform how they show up on social media and in their businesses, which I know for a fact was how I was able to ultimately fully book it up.
If you’re like how I was and you think that sounds too simplistic, just try it next time you think of something that sounds fun or exciting that you follow with the “but statement”. You know what I’m talking about. You get a really great idea to do something. Like OH it would be cool if x, y, z BUT… that’d never work out.. or BUT.. I’m not ready yet. THAT right there is the reason. following the “but” is your limiting belief. Really start listening for those and DO THIS YA’LL. I bet you’ll be SHOCKED to find all the sneaky ways you’ve been holding yourself back.
The last way we are going to talk about how you can use journaling is you can use it as a tool to get on paper what it is you want to create. Kind of like an advanced visualization technique. And this is probably my favorite way to journal. Of course this is what inspired this episode , because the entry I referred to in the beginning was ONE of my most concrete examples of how this stuff can work.
And actually, as I was recording this I remembered something else I wrote into existence a few years ago, and that is my husband, Chris Reeves. I know, mildly creep and embarrassing, but hear me out.
So, the summer before I met Chris, I will never forget this. I came across an online article about a woman who manifested the love of her life by journaling out the exact kind of relationship she wanted. She went all into detail about the things she described and basically laid it all out so that readers could do it too.
At the time, I had been in a pretty unhealthy relationship for a few years and I came across this article and was like “well.. what the heck!”. Nothing else had worked. So for fun, I gave it a shot. I wasn’t really woohoo or anything like that at the time. I’m definitely more NOW. But for whatever reason it just seemed like a good idea.
So I did it. I essentially described the kind of healthy and happy relationship I wanted. How that would feel to me, and I don’t think I got too much into physical features except I do know I said I wanted him to be tall. I didn’t even really take it seriously and forgot it probably just as soon as I wrote it.. but lo and behold, I met Chris four months later. And yes, he is tall, and we ended up falling into the exact relationship I wrote and had always dreamed about, which is why I married him!
Freakin cray right??! I know!! But it happened ya’ll and I’m telling you...this stuff works! If you still don’t believe me, try it out yourself. Use a journal to write out what you want, whether it be specific goals, material things, experiences, feelings or emotions. Get it all on paper in exact detail. The point is, when you do this, it gets forged into your subconscious mind. Because your brain needs to solve problems, it goes to work to highlight ideas and ways to get you to your desired outcome. This is why vision boards are so effective too. Same concept, just a different way to go about it.
My Favorite Journals
So with all of that said, if you’re thinking you want to start doing this for yourself. you of course will need your own journal. I’m going to share with you three of MY FAVORITE journals to give you a few different options and it’s really cool because each are super different.
The first journal I highly recommend is Jacqueline Kademien’s “Soul Therapy: A 365 Day Journal for Self Exploration, Healing and Reflection”. And omg, it’s so genius. It’s a beautiful book with a journal prompt a day focused all about yourself and diving deeper into knowing your heart and soul and getting to know yourself better. I don’t even know how I came across Jacqueline, but thank God I did because she’s amazing and such an uplifter of women. She’s actually a licensed therapist and business coach, but when she was talking about this journal she had published, I knew I had to get myself one.