I’ll be honest, I’m not a huge “New Year’s resolution” goal setter. I tend to get a little too competitive with myself. It’s either go big or go home, black or white, no in between. In the recent years, I have been working on bringing more balance into my life, but this year I didn’t set any major goals for myself besides vowing to bring in more “me time.” Right when I thought I had escaped the resolution craze, I received a gift at work; something called a Greatness Journal. I used to dabble in journaling when I was younger but hadn’t put a pen to paper for my personal pleasure in a long time. Journaling is a great way to get thoughts out of your head and put your ideas into perspective. It’s so easy to get caught up in small distractions throughout the days, weeks, and even years that we often times forget to step back and truly appreciate what we have. I decided to give the journal a try for few days and see if it was something I was interested in. I was surprised, to say the least. It’s now my favorite part of the day.
In the first section of the journal I was immediately greeted with a series of “Self-Awareness Power Questions.” Reluctant at first (what is a power question, anyway?), I slowly scanned over the eight topics: Health & Body, Emotional, Spiritual & Personal Growth, Intimate Relationships, Social & Fun, Family & Friends, Work & Career, Money & Finances, and Community & Giving. As I began reading through some of the questions I quickly started wondering, when was the last time I checked in with myself? The journal took me through many worksheets in the following weeks focusing on values, dreams, goals, and mission statements. Now, I make it a priority to take 15-30 minutes out of my day to grab a hot cup of tea, light a candle, and re-connect with myself through powerful journaling. If you have never journaled before or want to start again, here are my Top Four Tips to get going.
#1 Find your creative space
There are no guidelines to what a creative space is supposed to look like. Mine alternates between my front porch (with my cherished cozy blanket), and a little diner I found by my workplace that serves the best locally crafted tea. Find a place that you can clear your head and rid yourself of all distractions. Play some peaceful music, dim the lights, or visit a place that is special to you.
#2 Start with the hard questions
Before you set your goals for the year, you should ask yourself questions to determine what areas of your life need some work. Some of the most powerful questions I came across during my journaling experience were: “What baggage do I have that holds me back?” “What is no longer acceptable in my life?” “Do I have healthy fun or is it destructive?” “What lies in the deepest part of my heart still to be expressed?” and “What do I feel passionate about and want to support more openly?” You can’t set goals if you haven’t first thought about what you want to change in your life. I recommend taking a few days to work through these questions rather than a single session.
#3 Create a flow chart of your goals
Write your goals in a flow chart addressing the specific reasons you want to meet your goals. How you will feel after you meet them, what mindset do you need to be in, and a few detailed actions you can take every day to be proactive. Being specific, yet realistic about what you want to achieve is key to making your journaling inspiring and not overwhelming. Journaling isn’t meant to be a task, but a process where you write down your inspirations for the day and things that hold you back from reaching your potential. It’s a place for feelings without judgment.
#4 Focus on the positives, not the negatives
Training yourself to focus on the positive moments is difficult and takes practice. If you focus on the negative aspects of your day you will soon find that journaling becomes a task and not a time for encouraging reflection. The very first worksheet in my journal was titled, “Forgiveness sets you free.” Here I was encouraged to fill a page full of my negative feelings that hold me back and choose to work on forgiveness moving forward. You shouldn’t ignore your feelings, but choosing to see the best in difficult times and work towards a better you are crucial to reaching your goals. Now it’s time for you to unplug and pick up a pen, your goals aren’t as far away as you think they are.