Your Journal: A Textbook for Life’s Journey

Mature woman holding journal and thinking.A core personal practice that has been one of the key contributors to my personal growth is journaling. This subject came up recently at a master mind group and it was a reminder that not everyone may know about how powerful this practice can be.

Although I started this in theory as a young girl (does anyone else remember your first diaries?) the idea of writing everyday about my life and how my world was coming into (or out of!) focus has had its own evolution over the years, rather like me! If this is not a practice you employ, I would urge you to consider adding this to your personal development toolbox.

From my experience, the best way to begin journaling is to choose a primary starting purpose for your journal. There are many different ways to use them and over time you will most likely incorporate all of them but to begin, just choose one. Some possibilities include collecting ideas, quotes and reflective thoughts or even a gratitude journal where you record something to be thankful for each day.

The one I like best as a starting point though is the one recommended by Jim Rohn whom I consider to be the best teacher on this particular skill: Recording your challenges and the process you follow to their resolution.

There are a number of reasons why this is effective but primarily it is about creating a space between you and the challenge. When we take the time to write the challenge down, it gets it out of our head and to a place where we can “see” it from a different perspective. Have you ever noticed that the closer we are to something the harder it can be to see it clearly? Getting it on paper and out of your head creates space and the ability to look at it from a different point of view.

When we review the challenge as we’ve written it down, we can begin to see how things really are vs. just how we might have perceived them to be. Surprises will definitely be in store! First we write, then we read and in the end, we analyze.

Here are the four cornerstones of the analyzing process that Jim Rohn teaches:

  1. Look for points that may be exaggerated and out of proportion.
  2. Check for blame vs. responsibility.
  3. Eliminate any expectations that circumstances or people are going to change in order to make the challenge go away. (A favorite quote from Jim has always been: “Things get better when we get better.”)
  4. Look for weak points in the obstacle that could be creative pivot points for the solution.

When we see any challenge through this adjusted lens, different levels of truth emerge. Then when we record all of this and begin to move through to our solution and record that as we go, it becomes a veritable personal textbook for life.

In time, quite often all it will take is one good session with your journal to find a solution or help you make a core decision that would have never been captured any other way.

Now back to my journal….

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