A journal can be a powerful tool for achieving your goals. You can even think of journaling as a self-coaching session. In this post you’ll discover the ten benefits of keeping a journal, as well as the eight steps to follow in order to start keeping your own journal as a goal-achievement tool.
Benefits of Keeping a Journal
Here are ten benefits of keeping a journal:
1. Keeping a journal forces you to commit your goals to writing. When you write down your goals you turn vague desires into well-articulated targets you can clearly see and aim for. You’re taking the first step toward turning the desires in your head into something concrete that exists in the material world.
When you write down your goals you’re laying the first brick, or planting the seed.
2. By setting aside fifteen to twenty minutes a day, every day, at a predetermined time to write about your goals you’re guaranteeing that you’re going to spend at least that amount of time each day thinking about your goals and how you’re going to achieve them. In other words, it’s time that you’re going to spend “tending your garden”.
3. A journal allows you to record your progress. If you’ve encountered setbacks while trying to achieve an important goal you may be feeling discouraged. When you feel like you’re losing your motivation to keep moving forward it’s a good idea to take out your journal and look back at the progress you’ve already made toward the achievement of your goal.
In addition, even if you’ve made several failed attempts at achieving a goal, looking back at what hasn’t worked can be helpful in coming up with new approaches which could work.
4. A journal is evidence of past success. Before you start working on a new goal it’s a good idea to sit back with some of your old journals and read about your past successes. This will help motivate you to get to work on the new goal with a feeling of certainty that—just as you’ve been able to achieve other goals in the past—you’ll be able to achieve it.
5. Having a set time during which you’re going to write about your goals each day keeps you accountable. Nobody wants to sit down and write: “I did absolutely nothing to move closer to the achievement of my goals today. Instead, I wasted time watching TV and playing video games, pursuing other people’s goals, or doing busy work.”
Knowing that at the end of the day you’re going to have to sit down and write about what you did that day to move you closer toward the achievement of your goals is a great motivator to get you to do what you’re supposed to be doing. You can even pretend that your journal is an accountability report which you have to hand in to a supervisor.
6. Writing about your goals helps you to uncover hidden fears that may be holding you back, as well as limiting beliefs. A lot of the time we can’t see how we’re holding ourselves back. Writing can help you to get in touch with a deeper part of yourself and bring stuff to the surface that you didn’t even realize was there.
When you’re writing about your goals you may “hear” yourself saying things such as the following:
- People with my background can’t achieve a goal like this.
- I just don’t have what it takes.
- If I lose weight, then my friends—who are also struggling with their weight—won’t want to hang out with me anymore.
Once you’ve brought your hidden fears and limiting beliefs to the surface, you’ll be able to deal with them. A journal can help you gain self-awareness and bring your blind spots within your visual range.
7. A lot of the time we know what we want, but we don’t know how we’re going to get it. Your journal can serve as a brainstorming tool for coming up with steps you can take in order to achieve your goals.
The brain loves a challenge. Give yours the following challenge: “In the next twenty minutes come up with a list of 100 things I could do in order to achieve this goal”.
Even if nothing you come up with makes any sense, your brain will continue working on the task while you sleep or do other things. Then, the next time that you sit down to write in your journal it’s likely that you’ll be able to come up with an idea on how to proceed that’s both realistic and actionable.
8. Writing about your goals helps you to identify possible obstacles that you may encounter, and create an action plan on how you’ll deal with those obstacles when they arise. Then, when an obstacle does appear across your path, you won’t be caught off guard. Instead, you’ll know how to deal with it.
9. A journal detailing how you solved a problem that others may be having—or how you achieved a goal that others may want to achieve—can be turned into an eBook which you can give away or sell. Creating a product you can make money from can be another source of motivation to keep you moving toward the achievement of your goals.
10. A journal can help you to keep the ball rolling. The last thing you should do before closing your journal for the day is to give yourself an assignment. That is, identify what you’re going to do the following day in order to move your goal along.
How to Keep a Journal
Here are the eight steps that you need to follow in order to keep a journal with the express purpose of helping you to achieve your goals:
- Decide what you’re going to use—you can use a notebook, an online journal, or anything else that you feel comfortable with.
- Keep one journal for every major goal.
- Decide on a time that you’re going to set aside each day to write in your journal.
- Commit to writing every day.
- Don’t worry about grammar or punctuation; you’re not writing a literary masterpiece.
- Don’t censor yourself –your journal is just for you. Allow yourself to write whatever you feel.
- Don’t get up from your writing session until you’ve given yourself an assignment for the next day and you’ve scheduled it in your appointment book.
- After each writing session give yourself a mental pat on the back for the progress that you’ve made so far toward the achievement of your goal. Also, feel gratitude for the people who have helped you, and the resources you’ve had access to.
Keeping a journal can be a powerful tool for achieving your goals. Live your best life by setting goals, and then keeping a journal which will help you to achieve those goals.