How starting a journaling practice can move you towards action. A beginner’s guide to journaling that answers all your fundamental questions: what, when, where, how, and why.
When moving through any life transition, you will get stuck. Stuck on an idea, stuck on your next step, stuck on the past, stuck on a problem. Starting a journaling practice can get you past stuck and into action.
If you’ve never journaled before, starting a journaling practice may seem overwhelming. The when, where, how, and why of your journaling practice may be a puzzle. To remove the mystery and confusion, here is a beginner’s guide to journaling that answers all of your fundamental questions.
What is journaling?
Simply stated, journaling is the practice of capturing your thoughts, experiences, and observations about your life and your world on paper.
What’s the purpose of journaling?
The purpose of journaling is to begin a dialogue with your inner self. When you are stuck on an issue and you are mulling it over in your head, you are problem-storing. Journaling will enable you to clear the thoughts that are stuck in your head and find a path forward.
No matter how scattered or unstructured your writing might seem. The act of getting words down on paper enables you to have a discussion with yourself extending the conversation and opening the path to problem solving.
What are the benefits of journaling?
Journaling can help you:
- Create order when your world feels like it’s in chaos
- Uncover your dreams as well as your fears
- Manage changes and visualize your future
- Settle disputes or resolve conflicts
- Figure out your next steps or create solutions
- Take a step back and look at your life with an outsider’s view
- Cope with your emotions, giving you a safe space to vent
- Unleash your creativity
- Understand the connections between your thoughts, feelings, and actions
- Appreciate the simple blessings in your life, feel more joy, and live happier & healthier
Journaling in coaching.
As a coach, I use many discovery tools (e.g. assessments, questions, exercises) with my clients to help them find their purpose and own their story. However, the most impactful tool that I have in my toolkit is journaling. Why? Journaling requires my clients to let go and let the universe provide the answers they are seeking.
I recently had a career transition client who was struggling with competing job offers. She used journaling to analyze the differences between the offers. In addition, that journal entry helped her to clarify which organization was the best cultural and job fit for her skill set. While many job seekers would take the highest salary, this job seeker knew that fit was her most important criteria.
One of my life transition clients shut down emotionally and verbally whenever his ex-wife was in the room. Through journaling, he discovered his voice. In time and with practice, he was able to calm his emotions and hold his place in the conversation. He no longer gives in to his ex-wife’s unreasonable demands.
Journaling has no rules.
Journaling has no rules. The paper and pen, the time of day, the place, the amount of time, and frequency are all up to you. The key is to just write and let your thoughts go where they will.
Write where and when the mood strikes you. Use whatever helps you express yourself: words, pictures, photographs, doodles, poems, articles, quotes, drawings – anything that helps you to sort through your thoughts and feelings. When you convert your feelings into words, you can overcome adversity.
Here’s what you need to get started with a journaling practice:
- What: Paper and pens/pencils. Use a notebook, loose-leaf paper, stationary, or buy a journal. Use any pen/pencil that feels good in your hand. Try colored pens or pencils or use a variety of pens/pencils.
- When: You can journal anytime that works for you: mornings, afternoons, evenings, weekdays. You can write at a specific time every day, when you have a few moments free, or when you have something you want to work out. Journaling can be a daily, weekly, or an as needed activity.
- Where: You can journal anywhere at home or out. Your bedroom, your living room, your office, a coffee shop, or a park. Simply find a quiet space, take a few deep breaths (inhaling slowly to the count of 5 and out to the count of 5), and write! Note: Once you decide where you will write, place your journal and your pens in an easily accessible spot.
- How: Write long hand. There is something visceral and emotional in the act of writing. The connection between brain and hand is an amazing learning tool. Don’t worry – handwriting and spelling don’t count, and no one else is going to read what you wrote.
Now, it’s time to take action and begin your journaling journey. These prompts will help you commit to taking the first steps.
Your Action Steps to Begin Your Journaling Practice
I hope this lesson on Journaling 101 has helped you understand the benefits of journaling and the steps to begin your own journaling practice. Your action steps from this lesson are:
- understanding how journaling can help you move forward
- committing to taking action by setting the day, date, time, location, and frequency of your journaling practice
As you seek to find your purpose and own your story, the simple practice of journaling will open your heart and your mind. You’ll no longer be stuck in place. You’ll uncover the dreams you thought you’d lost and you’ll find your path forward.
Action has magic, grace, and power in it.Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
If you are looking for more information or have questions about starting a journaling practice, please reach out to me directly at 330-603-1890. Or, schedule a complimentary discovery session and I’ll give you tips to get your journaling practice started as well as what your best next step might be in your career or life journey. Click here to schedule your discovery session.
p,s, When you begin your journaling practice, you may discover baggage from difficult, negative relationships. Find out how to reduce the toxicity in your life, download my detox your toxic relationships guide today.