What do Albert Einstein, Barack Obama, Jennifer Anniston, and tons of other successful people all have in common?
We have all jotted down notes, ideas, and lists from time to time about the things we want to do. We all recognize the power of writing things down if for no other reason than to not forget the onions at the grocery store, but journaling or keeping a diary is a whole other dimension.
When a higher sense of purpose is introduced, journaling will change your life in ways you could never imagine. We will bet that most people you either look up to or consider successful, are journaling in some form or another. From notable people in history to everyday folks looking to feel better and calmer, this timeless practice has helped many sift through the chaos of life to uncover the golden nuggets of wisdom and insights waiting to be discovered within them.
“In my life, writing has been an important exercise to clarify what I believe, what I see, what I care about, what my deepest values are.” - Barack Obama
If it's someone else’s rules, we won’t care and we won’t buy-in.
There are many ways to journal, but there is something to be said for making it our own. All things in life must eventually be of our creation if we are to do it in a meaningful way. Making it ours makes it special to us. When we create something from us and by us, we are much more likely to respect, appreciate, and love it above all else. This is why all parents think their baby is the cutest.
Here's the secret to all transformational practices and why rules such as diets eventually all fail: Until it’s yours, it won’t stick. Before a seed lays its roots in the ground, it first has to go through an internal process. And only then when it is ready can it begin to grow into its full potential. We can't skip the process of making it our own because transformation happens when the roots begin to grow. After enough time passes, then you can enjoy the fruit from that seed planted long ago.
Nobody knows you, better than you and they never will. Things may start as someone else’s rules, but eventually, they have to come back home and become your rules.
Before we get into how to make journaling something you will want to do and enjoy, it will help to understand why this practice will benefit you.
“People who keep journals have life twice.”- Jessamyn West
How often do you talk to yourself throughout the day?
Research has shown that it varies for everyone. Some talk to themselves a lot, some a little, and some not much at all.
On average we have about 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day. That’s about 50 per minute or almost 1 per second. That’s a lot, but what’s more interesting is that research shows many of these thoughts are the same. We tend to play re-runs in our minds over and over. TV programming surely has something to do with this human phenomenon we would bet.
Ruminating over and over on the same subjects keeps our feet stuck in the mud instead of letting go and moving on. Part of this is due to comfort. Our brains are addicted to being able to know what’s coming. Even stressful or scary thoughts can become comforting to us if we become accustomed to practicing them... It's weird but true.
This is also why we like listening to the same songs, have the same conversations, and go to the same places over and over. Our brains use our past experiences to calculate what’s coming and how things will go. This is a survival mechanism and understanding this will help shift us into thriving.
All these anticipatory calculations happen in our brain but in the background and mostly undetected. When life goes how we anticipated, we are happy and we feel good. When it doesn’t, we become stressed and frustrated.
Big corporations know this better than anyone and spend billions of dollars per year to keep jingles and images on repeat in the background of our brain. They know that each time an advertisement runs it increases your likelihood of purchasing their product. The more ads we see, the more we think about them, the more likely they are to manifest in our life.
But, as soon as you see this you are no longer under anyone's spell. Now equipped with this knowledge, you can use these powers for good and influence yourself toward more of what you desire and want to manifest.
When we take even just a few minutes a day to focus our thoughts and attention we begin to shift our life in baby steps little by little. As the days go by we become clearer and clearer on who we are, what we want, and how we want our life to be.
This all leads to a happier and healthier life perfectly designed for you, by you.
Experiences will vary...
Not everyone will get the same experience because not everyone has the same intentions.
For example, if your goal is to make $1,000,000 by next year then you will embark down a much different path than someone who is trying to improve their health.
This is the first step in making this process your own. Be honest with yourself, what do you really want? Give yourself the freedom to let loose and don't worry about how it will all happen. Instead, focus on why whatever it is that you want will feel so good to you. Or get any negativity you might be holding on to off your chest. No one is watching so let it all out.
"I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn." - Anne Frank
Journaling is a way to let our subconscious mind speak to us.
Once you have your set up then it's time to write… but what should you write about to make this process life-changing?
A lot of people get stuck on this part. They either have no clue where to begin or they get caught up trying to be so deep and reflective they stress themselves out. Remember those 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts?... well pick one lol.
Each entry can be different, random, and sometimes not even words at all. Maybe you like to draw or sketch or use phrases or symbols. These are all ways our subconscious mind communicates with us in our waking state.
Very often just the act of putting a pen to a page and seeing what happens is all you need. Many notice how therapeutic this can be and we believe it has to do with allowing all these thoughts time and space to finally bubble up and come out. By simply seeing and allowing ourselves to be fully here and now without any judgments or conditions, we are giving ourselves one of the highest forms of self-love. Journaling now becomes a doorway to loving yourself more deeply and others by default.
Today, it is too easy to turn away from our thoughts and avoid our much-needed self-reflective dialogues. Noise is everywhere constantly, but all we simply need is to take an honest look at our thoughts and hear them out. When we do, we are actively accepting more of who we are, while letting go of what we no longer need to hold on to. In terms of manifestation, we call this allowing or surrendering. We call this going with the flow versus swimming upstream.
We have been journaling for years now and it is a natural part of our morning ritual. One tip we like to give first-timers who are experiencing traumas, pain, anger, and other negative emotions is to open up and write down all the nastiest and angriest stuff you have in you. Get it all out, then rip up the paper and throw it out or burn it. This is a great way to tap into emotions that may be suppressed and let go of what’s weighing us down. This is also the same stuff that typically holds us back from our highest potential greatness.
This release can almost feel like getting a deep tissue massage. You will feel lighter. Many have even lost weight over a period of time just from journaling about the deeper emotions and stress they are holding on to. This all goes to show how much of our thoughts impact us and how by simply expressing them in some way (privately) we become more aware of who we really are, what we are really feeling, and how we really want to show up in our everyday lives.
For those who need a jumping-off point try these questions to get you started:
What does my subconscious mind want me to know today ____?
Today I want to focus on feeling ____?
3 things I am grateful for today are ____ because ____?
We also like to date each entry so we can go back and see how far we’ve come from time to time. Looking back a few weeks or months prior might be one of the best parts of this activity and is something you really have to experience for yourself.
If none of what we said here so far resonates with you then come up with something that does. What you resonate with most is what you ultimately will do. As you find your way and start to talk more with yourself, you will literally begin to rewire your brain toward the life you are dreaming of. You will see events come true and things work out in ways you might describe as magical or divine. In a sense, you are writing down what your future self will eventually embody and become.
In a nutshell, this is conscious manifestation. Be patient and watch.
With journaling, we are conditioning ourselves to our highest goals, dreams, and states of being. We are creating space for our minds to settle. And when we do this we are able to focus on the things that matter very deeply to us instead of worrying about things that don’t.
“Keeping a journal of what’s going on in your life is a good way to help you distill what’s important and what’s not.” - Martina Navratilova
Our power always lies within us, not outside of us.
In just one 5-minute journaling session you can go from being pissed off to being ok, from being stressed to calm, from being all over the place to finally focused. This could mean you don’t have that fight with your spouse or you don’t have that bad day at work, or maybe you finally go for that 20-minute walk. It means less feeling bad and more feeling good about yourself.
Now imagine you did it for 2 weeks… a month… a year… a decade...
Transformations happen most often in baby steps. Then, a year passes and all we can say is, “WHOA!"
Of course, no matter what you do, you will change year to year, but with journaling, you gain access to the captain’s chair where you navigate the choppy waters to calmer seas or wherever it is you say you want to go.
Journaling is a gateway to understanding more of what it means to be a human. It’s a tool and technology that gives you your power back in a world that is constantly trying to take it away.
But there is only one way to know for sure and that is to have your own experience.
So give it a go!
Start with 5 minutes and see where the path goes. Piggyback this new practice with one of your favorite morning rituals such as coffee or tea. Maybe even keep it near your bed and do it first thing, if that’s what works best for you. And if you don’t have a favorite morning ritual, well then this is a great opportunity to create one. As a matter of fact, why not begin journaling about that?
What’s your favorite morning ritual? It might just become journaling...
Enjoy and write in to let us know how it’s going, we love hearing people’s stories!
Thanks for stopping by,
Wendy + Dan