We all want to be that person who has the discipline to be a daily journaler right? I haven’t yet met someone who isn’t convinced of the benefits of journaling. I don’t mean keeping a diary to record the days events. I mean journaling where you go deep with yourself and write down your thoughts, feelings, dreams and aspirations. They type of journaling where you get to know yourself in a deeper and richer way. Journaling that enables you to really understand the real you. What you want in your career and what, and how you’re going to get it.
When I was in the height of my journaling practice I was spending roughly 30 mins everyday jotting down my thoughts, feelings and emotions. I maintained this practice for over a decade - through the good times and the bad. And what I learned was this, if you want to know yourself, really know yourself, nothing beats journaling. The practice of taking time out to connect with yourself each day delivers results, it’s indisputable.
When I journal I see growth in my relationship with myself, with others and with the world around me. It opens up my eyes to new perspectives, and most importantly the perspective of other people. It helps me to be more present and enjoy the little things in my day. It grounds me and keeps me sane.
Putting pen to paper everyday has helped me discover what is really going on in my head and heart. Without it I’m floating in a sea of mindlessness.
Therefore, I decided to incorporate journaling into my coaching program, 5 Steps to Finding A Career You Love Before 30. In the program I encourage clients to maintain a daily journaling habit. So they can track their progress through the coaching journey and learn more about their own thoughts and behaviors.
And what I learned is that many people want to journal but don't know how.
So many of us are convinced of the benefits of journaling, but we still find it so challenging to put it into practice. Even though I’ve maintained my journaling habit over many years, I can also relate.
On some days I make the effort to get up early, I have my cup of coffee and journal at the ready and nothing comes. I just sit there. And not much writing gets done.
But on other days I learn something new about myself I had never known before. I get a break through on a bad attitude I have or why I find that person at work so difficult to be around.
We all have good days and bad days. But it would be nice if we had more good journaling sessions that bad. So I’m sharing three journaling hacks that I’ve developed over the past ten years to help you with your journaling habit.
1. The check-in
When I sit down to journal I start of by doing a simple check in by asking myself some basic questions such as…
How am I feeling today?
How come am I feeling that way?
What tasks do I need to get done today?
How do I feel about that?
The point of this activity is to increase awareness. In order to do this, it’s important to come from a non-judgemental space. Whatever the answer to your question is, don’t judge yourself, just observe and continue to ask questions. For example;
Q. How am I feeling today?
A. I’m feeling tired, flat and like I have no energy. This is making me grumpy and like I don’t want to sit here and journal.
From here you can ask yourself a series of questions such as ‘what can I do to improve my mood? Why am I so tired and what can I do to change my routine so I’m not so tired?’ etc.
This strategy requires a lot of self awareness and requires practive to get better at hearing your own voice and responses to questions. It’s a type of self-coaching and also requires you asking yourself self-exploratory type questions. It takes time to build up to this type of journaling practice so I recommend ten mins to start with.
2. Pre-set questions
If you prefer something with more structure that will help you build up to this type of journaling I recommend using pre-set questions. There are plenty of books and websites that provide coaching/journaling questions you can ask yourself. I’ve included some below specifically related to career to help you get started.
If I could change one thing about my career that would make all the difference what would it be?
What do I love about my job? (There is always something)
What would I do if I knew I couldn’t fail?
What are my greatest strengths and how can I leverage those in my job?
If I continue down this career path, what will be my greatest regret on my deathbed?
What’s one thing I can do that will change everything?
3. The five minute journal
And finally. If you love the idea of pre-set questions but you’re a little short on time I highly recommend the five minute journal. This journal, published by intelligent change has been a game changer for me. I love it because it’s quick and easy to incorporate into a morning routine. It also has an original quote each day and a weekly challenge.
The journal has three morning questions and three evening questions which are as follows….
I am grateful for…
What would make today great…?
Daily affirmations. I am…?
3 Amazing things that happened today…?
How could I have made today even better…?
These simple questions have helped me reprogram my brain by instilling a practice of gratitude in my morning and clear intention for the day ahead.
So that’s it! Three journaling strategies to help you put pen to paper, develop your self-awareness and get greater clarity on finding a career you love.
If you would like more help finding a career you love download my free Four Step Guide To Getting Unstuck.
Have a great week.