Journaling for Self-Discovery

Last year, I joined a six-week boot camp that a coaching friend was putting on. I agreed to join the group because I wanted to support her, but little did I know the fire that would be ignited in my soul.

I have always been a proponent of personal development. I have been an avid reader my entire life and I have used journaling off and on for decades, but I didn’t really have a purpose for my writing.

Over the six week in the boot camp we were encouraged to write everything out. At first, it seemed a bit awkward as I had always just used free-flowing writing as my method of getting things out of my head.  But, as we moved through the exercises, a more directed approach began to develop for me.

We had our first call for this year’s boot camp yesterday. It was fun to see how different I am this year compared to where I was at this very time last year. I attribute part of the transformation to my dedication to consistently journaling with a purpose.

If my coaching clients are new to the idea of journaling, I encourage them to use this journaling format because I know that it has brought about incredible transformation in my life.  If you don’t already have a journaling practice, you might want to try some of my tips:

Create space to write – Make your own writing haven. Choose a place that is comfortable and private so you can be alone with your thoughts. Burn a candle or incense to create an ambiance that is conducive to mindfulness and tranquility.

I like to write early in the morning or late in the evening when the house is quiet and I can focus. I find my journaling is superficial if I feel rushed or I have to deal with interruptions.

Be observant – When you sit to write be an observer in your life. Notice things that are working well for you. Joyfully celebrate those things in your life. Then, pay close attention to the things that are not working well in your life. Try to pinpoint the root cause. This doesn’t always happen at the first attempt.

If you are not accustomed to being real with yourself, getting to the birthplace of a feeling, thought or mindset can take time. Don’t rush it, allow your subconscious mind to percolate and bring the information to your conscious mind. This might come to you through a dream, a memory or a song.

Continue to explore and be curious about your feelings. It might feel strange. That’s ok, keep with the process.

Be consistent – Set aside time daily to journal. Writing at the same time each day will help you develop a lifelong habit. Just like training in the gym, you will need to build up your journaling muscle over time.

If you skip a day, practice self-compassion, and begin again. Put it in your calendar as a non-negotiable appointment with yourself. It is just as important as eating right, getting plenty of rest or going to the gym

As you write, you will begin to see patterns in your thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors. You will have a heightened awareness of how you make decisions and the impact they make on daily life.

Practice gratitude – Showing thankfulness keeps our energy vibrating at its highest levels. You can be grateful for small things like a beautiful sunrise, a letter that came in the mail or a quiet moment during a hectic day. You can also show gratitude for being approved for a mortgage, your best friend’s engagement or a promotion at work.
There is no right or wrong way to express gratitude. Nothing is too small to mention, if it makes you feel good, celebrate it with gratitude. Like energy attracts like energy and the more you express gratitude the more things you’ll attract into your life to be grateful for.

Visualize the future – Keep your goals fresh in your mind. Record progress you are making in each area of your life: personal growth, love & romance, fun & recreation, professional/business, finances, health, and friends & family.

Acknowledge where you are and any challenges you’re facing in getting to the next milestone. Record what is holding you back and create a plan for pushing through. Note how and where you can ask for the support you need.

Change happens from the inside out, but before that can happen, we have to have clarity on who we are. Journaling helps us sort that out. Asking questions of ourselves as we journal will help us dig deep into understanding our core values and limiting mindsets as well as our hopes and fears.

Being able to see who we are on a soul level will also allow us to reveal who we are to others. One of our most basic needs as humans is to know others and to be known. Knowing ourselves on an intimate level will increase our ability to relate to others in a vulnerable intimate way.

What benefits do you hope to discover through journaling?

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