Saturday, November 28, 2009

Journal your way to success!

By Julie Marie Rahm
Do you want to try journaling, but don’t know what to write or how to begin? Start by using the tools in your Mindset Tool Belt. Here are eight weeks of topics to guide you as you begin journaling your way from where you are to where you want to be!

Week 1: Your Level. Your metaphorical level is for keeping an eye on the way you feel. Start journaling by writing about your feelings throughout the day. What makes you happy? What causes you to become impatient, frustrated, or angry? Take note of when your level tilts toward positive emotions or toward negative emotions. What emotions are you feeling and what triggers them? Write in as much detail as you can. As you become aware of your triggers, you can start to take control of your responses instead of giving up your power and reacting to what happens to and around you.

Week 2: Your Whistle. Is it time to blow your metaphorical whistle and take a personal time out? Write about how you spend your days. What are you doing? What are you doing that you like? What are you doing that you would rather not do? What would you rather be doing that you are not doing? What is keeping you from doing what you want to do each day? Becoming aware of how you spend your time and why you do what you do will give you perspective on your priorities.

Week 3: Your Flashlight. Use your metaphorical flashlight to shine light onto the dark recesses of your mind. Go way back and write about all of your experiences that have made you who you are today. If you had a “do over” for any event or circumstance, what would you do differently? How do these experiences affect you today?

Week 4: Your Measuring Tape. Use your metaphorical measuring tape to measure how far you’ve already come. List the things you have in your life that you want in your life. This week, list everything you can think of that you have and want. Enjoy watching your list grow each day. This week is about appreciation. What you appreciate appreciates! Make quiet time for yourself to recharge and appreciate your life and the beautiful creation around you.

Week 5: Your Utility Knife. What baggage are you carrying? Guilt? Resentment? Regret? Unworthiness? Rejection? Whatever your answers, write them down. Where did you pick up this baggage? Go ahead and feel it. Then, use your metaphorical utility knife to cut out the bottom of each bag and let the contents fall out! You can choose your thoughts. The past is gone. Each moment is another chance for a fresh start. Write about who you would be with empty bags!

Week 6: Your Hammer. What do you want that you don’t have? Why don’t you have what you want? Write about what you want and why you don’t have it. Examine each reason. Is it true? Take your metaphorical hammer and one by one hammer out the reasons why by writing what your life would look like if you could not use those reasons. Did you create a compelling enough reason to make a change?

Week 7: Your Pliers. Take your metaphorical pliers and pluck out your grudges. Write about anything that comes to mind where you feel wronged by someone and you are holding onto it. Write about whatever is festering in you. Underline all of your words that are “charged” with emotion. Make two columns. List the charged words in the first column and write their opposites in the second column. Read each word and its opposite aloud. Write the “should” statement that applies, e.g., “He should not have left me!”. Ask yourself, is that true? Would everyone in the world say it’s true? Now write the statement again leaving out the word “not”. Say it out loud. Could that be true? What gift has come to you from the experience? Who would you be without the associated bad feelings? Forgiving people who have wronged you does not mean you go back to the way things were. It means you free yourself from the grasp the incident has on your happiness. Write about the forgiveness you accomplish this week and how you went about it.

Week 8: Your Inspection Mirror. Look in your metaphorical inspection mirror and write about who you are now that you have taken back your power and taken responsibility for the way you feel. Write about yourself and the transformation you have begun in your first seven weeks of journaling.

Congratulations! You have begun your journaling habit. Keep writing about whatever comes to mind each day. A sentence, a paragraph, a page – the volume is not important, only the habit. Vent about the way things are. Create things the way you want them to be. Capture your thoughts. Begin to see your thought patterns. They are your thoughts. You can change them!

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