I have made a promise to myself. To take responsibility for me. Shortly before I started this blog, I started keeping what I dubbed my “Success and Wellness Journal”. Whatever goes in there is a reflection of my commitment to be good to myself and create the life that I want.
I have tried journaling or keeping a diary before. It comes and goes in phases. This time, it has yet to pass so that I can label it a phase again. But I really hope it won’t. Firstly, just reading the title is more inviting and comforting to me. It represents what I want so badly and it is a place where I get what I need to continue my struggles.
So, how does that work for me? Every time I write in my journal, it is a reflection of my commitment towards my goals and everything I am doing to attain them. The space is used in several ways:
- A visualization of the status quo that I do not like or my want to create an aspired condition in my life (Draw Your Future). Of course, this is dynamic and the notions have evolved since I started.
- Research and expertise on the ideas and strategies I can implement to reach my goals.
- Things that went well or those that did not in my efforts. By writing it down, I create scope for self forgiveness and reflection of lessons learned; it is a mark of progress after all.
- My efforts and little wins. Always good to appreciate, motivate and reference in future for optimism when needed.
- My physical and mental health on any given day. I can come to get support or a boost. Writing it out has given me some helpful clarity that I may not find otherwise.
- Sometimes, I just need to vent. Instead of spending a day grumbling about it to myself, I can let it all out no matter how much a situation worried, frustrated or annoyed me.
It’s a drawing board for my life, which is always going to be a work in progress, as it should be. Keeping this journal has helped me to be more explicit with my feelings and feel comfortable acknowledging them. And my commitment level has improved. It has the effect of a supporter or cheerleader. Not that there aren’t friends and family supporting me. But sometimes lack of support and understanding as well as too much pressure are complaints from one’s own self the most. I question and nag myself more than anyone else does. And this journal has helped me to fix that relationship with myself. In these few months, I have aligned myself to this mindset and it has given back to me well:
- After a really rough time with a co-worker that threw my perspective for my job and career in general into a very dismal perspective, I talked it out. I sorted out the good and the bad. I had been so angry before I did that, to the extent that it disabled me from being able to work on my planned post for the day. But once I got started on writing it out, I just kept going. Let it out, felt better, and went about what I planned to do. I also realigned my thoughts more realistically whereby I knew that I loved my job and it was just one particular issue that was a challenge to deal with and adding unnecessary pressure. I could strategize how to manage resolving that or minimizing its disturbance within a work environment I otherwise enjoyed.
- Health and wellness has been a real issue for me lately. With hives from unidentified causes, I have been in a lot of pain and the resulting medicine and fatigue side effects have dampened my productivity and motivation. There has not been any other time when my body had tried to tell me that it really was not feeling good. I tuned in and focused on all the symptoms I was feeling and the answer I got was that I was really not taking good care of myself. I listed out my symptoms and other health factors I noticed. And little by little, I am retiring old habits or building new ones to strengthen myself. I just have to talk it out with myself about what is needed to have me at my best to meet my own goals and expectations.
- I am doing a lot more strategizing now. Planning before doing is invaluable. Mapping it out and taking advantage of flow charts and cause/effect links is a great way to visually impress yourself with ideas and inspire commitment.
- I just flipped back through my journal entries and there are a lot of ideas running lose in there. Revisiting them really helps. I actually just read a few entries from bad days I had but I came out of the exercise feeling happy. I felt the power of overcoming them and now appreciating that even in my venting, my aim was to reach a productive conclusion. Good to know that these problems do not derail me as much as I thought they could. Keeping up better spirits!
Do you keep a journal or write reflections? How important is it for you and what benefits has it offered? How would you recommend it to someone who has never tried to keep this habit before?