I’m a firm believer in looking in to move ahead. Journaling is a powerful tool to gain self-awareness, assess your personal progress, and continue to move forward.
Putting pen to paper on a regular basis – even for only a few minutes per day – deepens your connection to the work you’re doing and allows you to review your process and progress.
Your journal is your tool throughout this process.
Journaling: what is it good for?
Journaling (or, if you prefer, “recording” or “documenting”) clarifies jumbled thoughts and feelings, allowing you to focus on what you enjoy, struggle with, and want to pursue.
It also allows you to review the past in order to assess and improve the present. The past may be over and done with, but it continues to impact you today.
Think about your perspectives, habits, workflow, relationships, goals, and ideals. Everything you know and practice didn’t just fall out of the sky, right? Not likely. It developed from the past, though it can be tough to remember how it all came to be.
Journaling is a great way to pay attention to “how it all came to be.” In looking back, you gain insight into (and often appreciation for) your challenges, lessons, and perseverance.
By deepening your awareness of both past and present, journaling encourages you to trust yourself. The ability to look back on what you’ve done (and why) gives you confidence to make decisions that move you toward what you want.
How many times have you looked at your current circumstances and wondered, “How did I get here?” or “What would things look like if I had done A instead of B?”
Sometimes the answer is clear. Other times, not so much. If you keep a journal, the odds are good that you could flip through the pages, add up a few events or decisions, and find the answer.
“How did I get here?” Flip, flip, flip (or scroll, scroll, scroll if you’re into digital journaling). “Well X led to Y, and then Z happened, which prevented me from doing W. Wow, I really miss doing W. I’m going to do some W today.”
You review the past to assess the present and determine what actions are necessary to change your future. That is the power of journaling.
The confidence you gain through breaking down your past choices will (gradually) encourage you to trust yourself. It wasn’t that you didn’t have the power or desire to do W; you were just dealing with X, Y, and Z.
This knowledge and trust reduces stress and anxiety, empowers you to make big decisions, and propels you towards your goals.
Journaling clears the mind of unproductive storage to make space for the important stuff. The stuff you want to do. The stuff you want to move forward.
Regular writing and review helps you prioritize A when B through Z are all competing for your attention. It’s what’s shows you how you balanced A, B, and C in the past so you can now manage D through F. It’s what gives you the confidence to make a decision when you reach a fork in the road with two, four, or 26 potential paths.
The exercise of journaling is about addressing and recording thoughts, feelings, and actions. While this can be a bit intimidating at first, regular practice can:
- Deepen your awareness and connection to your work and yourself.
- Give you clarity and confidence to make important decisions.
- Propel you towards what you want to accomplish.
Are you ready to dive in? Here’s how to start.