Every time I recommend journaling, which is often, people cringe. The cringe is a hesitation. Most of the time, the person tells me that they just don’t want to journal.
When I ask them why the most common answer that they are afraid that someone might read what they write. Even my husband expressed the same hesitation. So, I get it. But, the risk of the off-chance that someone might see what you write isn’t nearly as great of the risk of not being able to take advantage of this incredibly powerful tool.
Journaling is the most important habit for anyone who wants to increase their confidence or happiness. As a professional coach, it’s the first thing I recommend and the habit I continually follow up on with my clients.
In the scheme of your overall life happiness, thought management is more important than time management. You can think about journaling as your tool for thought management in the same way a calendar, checklist or to-do list is your tool for time management.
Thought management is more important than time management. Journaling is the most important tool for thought management.
The power of journaling is too often underestimated. It gets overlooked because of busyness, lack of desire, and lack of direction.
Most of the time people simply don’t know how to journal, what to write about, how long to write or where to start. (For information on those things, I teach them all in great detail in this free resource).
Most people who are working on personal growth “know” that they “should” journal, but they don’t because they just don’t know how to. You can learn how to journal in a way that works (again, click here to get my free journal and free coaching series that teaches you how).
The thing is journaling works. And by “works,” I mean that it will increase your happiness, grow your confidence, give you clarity and help you make more progress in life.
This blog post will cover 15 things to help you know how to journal better. You’ll get 5 strategies on how to journal more consistency, 5 tips on how to journal more effectively, and 5 reasons on how the journaling process will build your confidence.
The only way to gain confidence when keeping a journal is to journal consistently and effectively. So, let’s start with the five tips on how to journal more consistently.
1. Create a Cornerstone Habit
Make journaling cornerstone habit. Do this by making sure your journaling is a part of your daily routine. Ideally, do it first thing in the morning before you start your day. When you set up your mind to be clean, clear, and free of distractions or anxieties then you can live with intention and presence as you go about your day. This also tells your subconscious that you come first in your day.
By creating a cornerstone habit, you will be creating a pattern of journaling in a sustainable way that is relatively consistent. This means that you will aim for five or six days out of the seven days of the week. We recommend that you create a habit that starts at a certain time of day or with a specific trigger. For example, put your journal beside your coffee maker or next to your laptop. This way you can journal as you brew coffee or right before you check your emails for the day. Having your journal set out waiting for you will trigger you for this positive habit.
2. Have Realistic Time Expectations
One of the biggest reasons that people are not consistent with journaling is that they set unrealistic time expectations of how long journaling “should” take. Often, we fantasize about needing longer periods of time to journal. We believe that a period of 30 or 45-minutes is ideal for journaling. Fundamentally, by creating a manageable and more focused time expectation for journaling, you will journal more consistently.
We recommend the 8-minute journaling method that we teach in our freedom journal. You can find more information about it at www.trishblackwell.com/freedomjournal.
The magic to the eight-minute journaling habit is that eight minutes is realistic for everyone to “find” in their day. There’s even a shorter journaling method that has been found quite effective, The 6-Minute Diary. You can get your copy of this journal here on Amazon.
3. Create Consistency
People who journal well and with consistency realize that consistency does not mean perfection. We have mentioned that you do not have to journal every single day of the week in order to be considered a consistent journal writer. Life happens. You can expect that different days of the week might have different expectations or curveballs coming your way. So be nice to yourself as you create journaling consistency, okay? It’s okay to miss a day.
4. Make it Enjoyable
It’s easier to stay consistent in your journaling habit if you are enjoying it. One way to make your journal enjoyable is to create a beautiful setting for yourself. Pick a place in your house, office space, or coffee shop where you can find enjoyment. Choose a location that brings a beautiful experience for you. Also make sure to use other enjoyable items, such as a favorite mug or special drink that you can look forward to while performing your journal habit.
What you write with and write on matters. We recommend that you have an assortment of favorite pens. Specifically, choose the types of colors, sharpness, and feel that brings you joy. Consider calming or inspirational music that enhances the experience. Lastly, choose a journal that is beautiful, pleasant to touch, enjoyable to look at – whether that is a spiral-bound, hardcover, or paperback journal. Choose something that makes you want to set your hands on it for eight minutes a day.
5. Track Your Micro-Milestones
Finally, when it comes to journaling consistently, tracking your progress and celebrating your milestones is crucial. The little victories that you see in your thought patterns or how you feel will motivate you to continue. It’s important that while you follow a specific structure of journaling, that you keep a section of your journal dedicated to “tracking your wins.”
In the College of Confidence, we also call these “Champagne Moments.” Some wins will seem quite large and others will seem very microscopic. But it doesn’t matter the size, a win is a win is a win. Sometimes a win might be a thought breakthrough, or a realization about your childhood, other times it might be something more tangible, like a raise you got at work because you had the courage to ask for it.
Journaling is a way to help you see that life is not about the destination but rather about the journey of taking one baby step at a time. So, whether it is a micro- milestone or a larger milestone, it is worth celebrating, and the act of writing it down with positive acknowledgment is the start to celebrating. And the more you celebrate, the easier it is to stay consistent in this high achieving habit.
HOW TO JOURNAL MORE EFFECTIVELY:
Now that you have a consistent method for journaling, it’s important that you learn how to journal with precision. We want your journaling efforts to pay off in order for it to be effective.
Here are five simple ways that will help you stay focused and get more results.
Words can give you an unfair unadvantage in your life. Journaling sharpens your ability to use words well.
1. Use a Proven Structure
To get great results from journaling, follow a proven structure and a template that works. We have found, with the research of Christian neurosurgeon Dr. Caroline Leaf that a structure built upon a 21-day sequence can rewrite the mind. When you detox one thought at a time, tackling it for a period of 21 days, this can effectively help to rewire and rewrite your thoughts.
A journaling practice that is structured specifically around the science of neuroplasticity is the most effective strategy for your personal growth and confidence. We welcome you to follow our proven formula that we teach and coach in our free journal, provided at www.trishblack.com/freedomjournal.
2. Focus on 21-Days at a Time
As mentioned, our thoughts and habits are conformed and rewritten every 21-days at a time. According to Dr. Caroline Leaf’s neuroscience studies, tackling toxic thoughts takes 21-days to remove, discard, and neutralize. Toxic thoughts block us from living our best lives and from having our clearest thinking.
To unblock our brain and to truly uproot a toxic thought, and therefore grow in confidence, it’s recommended that you repeat the cycle every 21-days and up to 3 times, for a total of 63-days on one topic. So, in order to really change your thoughts, I encourage you to journal about one topic for 63-days in a row, following the methods we have outlined in the Freedom Journal for best results.
3. Be Patient
Expanding on the concept of the 21 or 63-day timeframe, we encourage you to be patient with the neural plasticity reconstruction process for the pathways of your brain. It takes time, consistency, and patience to rewrite and see the results of your journaling.
Keep in mind that 63-days is only a little over two months. It will feel like a long time to stay focused on one toxic “theme,” but once you create momentum, time will feel like it accelerates. So, don’t lose heart on day seven or on day 17, when you don’t see the results that you are craving. Instead, notice how far you have come and how much you have learned in a short span of time. As already previously mentioned, celebrate the thoughts and epiphanies that you uncover along the way from your consistent journaling process.
There is no right or wrong way to journal. The only requirement of journaling is that you show up and write.
4. Employ Daily Affirmations
It’s important to remind yourself that when doing your journaling practice, there is no right or wrong way to journal. Also remember, that practicing your journal is going to be an effective way to gain confidence.
Consistently spending time with your toxic thought, identifying the root of that toxicity, and then replacing it with truth is the most powerful way to double your confidence. By rewriting your days to what you actually want, you gain control over the thoughts that once dragged you down.
That said, here are seven of our favorite journaling affirmations and tips that we have found the most helpful for our clients and our community.
I am the gatekeeper of my thoughts.
- I am the gatekeeper of my thoughts.
- I only allow truth to reign in my mind.
- I choose to master my words, not my feelings.
- Words are my unfair advantage.
- The way I think and pay attention to words gives me power.
- My life is transformed through the daily renewal of my mind.
- My journaling is my mental workout.
5. Get Obsessed with Growth
You’re going to have a very effective and powerful journaling habit if you really embrace the journaling practice. As long as you are growth-mindset oriented, then you can look at your words, thoughts, and feelings with new discoveries that indicate that you are moving in the right direction.
The more you journal, the more clear your thoughts will be. As you have clarity in your thinking, you will be more capable of confident, massive action taking. The more action you take, the more results you will get towards the success you want.
Ultimately, journaling unburdens the mind from the thoughts that weigh us down.
WHY JOURNALING WORKS:
1. It Empowers Us to Manage Our Thoughts
One of the things that my clients love the most about journaling is how empowered they feel with the process. It’s not just the feeling of empowerment but the practice itself that brings thoughts and ideas to arise out of your writing process.
Journaling helps us manage our stress and overwhelm by giving us a system to manage and work through our thoughts.
Sometimes you can feel power in the simple truth that you have shown up for yourself each and every day with a simple eight-minute journaling habit. When you begin the day and tell yourself that you have enough time to work on your own mindset, then you are setting yourself up for success. You can feel free to walk in abundance with your time for the rest of the day. You will not feel stressed, bogged down, or hoodwinked into the busyness of distraction. Instead, you will fill empowered, focused, and in control. You will have started your day with a win that makes you feel confident.
Journaling is a mental workout. It is how we manage and train our thoughts.
2. It Gives Us A Daily Pep Talk
Another reason that journaling is a great way to double your confidence is that it is a very simple and accessible way for each and every one of us to give ourselves a pep talk each day. At the College of Confidence, we always recommend working with a coach in addition to any personal growth that you are working towards. A coach will help to accelerate your results in your growth exponentially.
Journaling enables you to be your own coach. It is the foundation of all self-coaching.
Each journal entry can become a personal pep talk and will direct you with the focus you need for the day. The process of just writing with pen and paper simplifies your day and grounds you with an appreciation for the simple and slow things in your life.
3. It Teaches Us to Use Words Powerfully
You will learn that the more journaling pep talks you write yourself, the more powerful your thoughts will become about yourself and your life. Journaling is a discipline that will help you master your words.
Journaling is a discipline that will help you master your words.
As the Bible tells us, words have the power to give us life or give us death. The choice is ours. We get to choose to live with words that give life to us or words that take it. Journaling will help you figure out which words and thoughts serve you and which ones don’t.
Journaling will learn how to choose which words serve you and which ones don’t. You will discover which thoughts are taking you in the right direction, versus those that are taking you backward.
4. It Gives Daily Peace
Peace comes from having clarity, and clarity is a byproduct of journaling.
Journaling will help you get the clarity that is impossible to get any other way. There is truly a deep sense of confidence that comes with the simplicity of writing a journal. Let us remember that simple does not always mean easy, but that simple often is quite powerful. And powerful is exactly the impact that journaling gives for your confidence.
5. It Creates a Better Version of Yourself
As you continue the practice of journaling, whether you are using your own method or are using the Freedom Journal, journaling will become something your mind craves daily. Your journaling and your writing will become more fluid and you will start seeing yourself with a perspective that comes from above.
When we see ourselves as children of God, we see ourselves for who we are, and for who we can become. We realize that we may not be where we want to be, but we are not where we once were. And, by the grace of God, He will continue to carry us to completion in our growth.
The more you journal, the more emotionally brave you will become. You also become more honest and vulnerable with yourself about your fears, anxieties, resistance, and the self-sabotage that holds you back. Journaling is truly the simplest and most profound way to become a better version of yourself. And there’s no better way and no easier way to feel empowered than to know that you have the confidence to become a better version of yourself. Your journal actually becomes page by page proof that you are no longer who you once were.
The more you journal, the more emotionally brave you will become.
For more confidence coaching resources, check out our weekly podcast program, The Confidence Podcast. Even more specifically, you might enjoy our podcast episodes on journaling.
The bottom line is to remember that there’s no perfect way to journal. Just write and write consistently. You can write in prose, you can write in bullet points or anything in between.
Remove judgment from the process and let the pages of your journal became your new thought management system. Good luck as you embark – or continue – on your journaling journey. Maybe it surprise you with blessing, clarity, and peace in ways you never anticipated.
I hope you go deeper with me by using the 21-Day Freedom Journal method that has had such an impact on my confidence, my happiness and my walk with the Lord. Click here to get it for free and start today.