The Power of a Journal
5 ways to increase your success with a journal.
I have been a fan of journaling for over a decade, ever since I embarked on my own personal journey of recovery from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, once I regained my health I adopted it as a daily practice in improving my personal development, productivity and overall success. As I am sure you are aware there are loads of different ways to journal, I can only share my thoughts on the strategies I have personally implemented in my life and I have reviewed the journal which I now use on a regular basis which you might find useful.
Journaling is not just for teenagers to vent their frustration of life in, high achievers use journaling in some shape or form to record relevant important information either for reflection purposes or to record an important moment in time.
Here are five things that I have found useful to include in my journaling process and that I believe will dramatically increase your success.
Ideas & Brainstorming
I'm sure you're never short of ideas, journaling is a great way to consolidate all of those ideas in one place, I am sure you have had ideas in the past and not recorded them in some way. Subsequently, you forgot all about it no matter how hard you tried to remember it.
Well, using your journal or a similar strategy will minimise that risk as well and bring hem to one central location making it easier for you to find and sort through.
I have found combining a digital journal with a paper system advantageous, because I can record my idea on the fly using a platform such as Evernote which I highly recommend, then when I have time later on in the day I recapture it in more detail in my old-fashioned paper notebook.
When the time comes to brainstorm the ideas out I work through it in my journal using a combination of mindmaps and note making techniques; I might doodle design concepts, rough content structures, targets and timelines. At that point, I can determine whether it is a project I want to give my attention to know or add it to the back burner.
Tracking & Developing Habits
A critical component which I have noticed over the years especially since running my podcast show and have the opportunities of interviewing successful business owners and thought leaders is the importance of creating great habits.
habits make life easier, probably because of how energy efficient they are to your cognitive load, the more you can build great habits that make your life easier the better.
Use your journal to take note of habits that need to develop, track your progress. Knowing what you're working on and how efficient you are at them will help you progress.
In my journal, I have a list of habits I know I need to work on but only track two or three at a time; this is because I have worked out that I more successful working on this amount at one given time, anything more I get overwhelmed, and it is counterproductive.
Here are some examples of habits some of my clients and I have worked on:
- Hydration - 3 Ltrs every day
- Daily practice of writing for book - 30mins -5 times a week
- Mediation - 15mins 5 times a week
- Exercise - 45 mins 4 times a week
- Reduce Sugar Intake
- 7 hours sleep - 7 days a week
- Waking up at 5 am -5 days a week
How you track them is up to you, I have a simple grid form representing the days of the week across the page and then the days of the month going vertically down the page and I mark off with a star when I have completed each specific habit for that day, as usual, being me I use it in conjunction with a habit tracking app called Habit List.
One of the most significant benefits I have found was a way to record and celebrate my successes.
The truth is, not enough of us acknowledge our successes and probably not our small ones; there are several reasons for this. Many of us have been brought up believing that celebrating our win is big-headed or arrogant and in I suppose if done distastefully it could be.
I am talking about recording your moments of victory, those times you should be proud of, god knows I bet you remember and have all of your failures etched in your brain and can recall them at a moments notice.
Recording your successes is essential, to have a place you can review those times that can give you and your ego a positivity boost when you need it. I had lost count how many times when I was recovering my illness and since I have started my own business that I have needed to look at my records of success, to help me stay strong during challenging times.
Remember this is your personal and private journal you can put what you want in it, I believe that everything recording in your journal should be there to assist you to make you better, stronger and more resilience in the future.
Take the time to develop this habit it will be worth your while for building a Success IQ and a positive forward momentum.
Journaling is traditionally known for reflecting and what a powerful process it can be if done right, to give yourself some space and time to think about something that has happened during your day that perhaps was challenging or a new experience can be hugely beneficial.
What is critical is that when you reflect you are not spending the majority of your time pouring out all the negative things about the said situation, because that does not do you any good at all, it has been my experience to make sure that the majority of the focus is on solutions.
Include good constructive feedback, review on resources etc., as much information as you can collect to assist you in making the best out of the situation or learning experience.
I use this reflective practice daily it can include meetings with prospects or new connections, presentations or interviews I have done, how I performed with a client and where I can perform. The most significant benefits are from the mistakes I have made and reflecting on how I can avoid them in the future.
If this is not a practice, you currently implement I do highly recommend it, not only because it creates some time to slow you down during your hectic day but also to pause and think about how you could have done things even better which of course move you towards your life goals.
Planning the big game
What ever your goals are you need to plan especially if your serious about your success, I have not met a person who has become successful and who has not planned in some way and more importantly recorded regualry reviews that plan.
Your journal is a great place to store your plan because it is something you do on a daily basis, to have that place you can purposefully review that amazing plan that is going to change your life but it should not just be the plan contained within these important pages should also be the action steps required to achieve your life goals.
Whether you use a journal or life planner they all have key elements to them the key outcome followed by the breakdown goals that are required, You plan is what is going to keep you on course by reviewing this on a daily basis your core objective stays in the forefront of your mind.
Combined with having all of your other important information that we have convered above it can be a real positive momentum boost to your day a way to keey your focus during the challenges that life with unevitably through at you.
Let me know how journaling has helped you and what are some of your favourite strategies I always love hearing about them.