Journalling

Before we start

This isn’t a journal about what you’ve been up to necessarily but what you’ve been thinking.

It is lovely to have a special dedicated notebook in which to write your journals.

Choose one that makes you feel good

If you can find the time, the best thing is to do this when you first wake up in the morning.

The time before your conscious mind gets going and becomes filled with all the logic and timetable of the day ahead.

The time when your dreams may still be fresh in your mind for you to note down.

I would suggest handwriting it rather than typing it on an electronic device.

The reasons for this are:

  • Whilst it takes longer to write by hand, it is more likely to come from the heart.
  • There will be an element of unconscious writing which we may see as a mistake if the computer doesn’t like it.
  • We aren’t able to change what we’ve written. Or at least not without trace.t.
  • If we are sitting up in bed writing by hand, we are more likely to be in our personal zone rather than in work mode or any other mode which may be the case when we are on an electronic device.
  • We are likely to be more truthful as there is no latent fear of hitting the wrong button and sharing our inner most thoughts with the world.

Overall I feel we are likely to write more freely

I would suggest not correcting any errors and this includes spelling or grammar

The reasons for this are:

  • In order to check our writing, we will have to re-read what we’ve written which is not something that we want to do at this stage (see later).
  • We may write things that have sneaked in from our unconscious. If we go back and spell check or change a sentence because the grammar ‘doesn’t sound like what it should’, we may inadvertently change the meaning or intention behind the sentence. This could cover up a big clue as to a deep thought or feeling.

Download the journal and take a look

You will see here a header page that you will work from, starting at day one and moving through to every day thereafter.

Dreams

When noting down your dreams, put as much detail as you can remember, however insignificant it may seem. In writing these details down, the meaning of the dream will come to you more easily.

An example is a dream that I had the other night. I dreamt of my garden. The grass was just growing and growing and I couldn’t stop it. Whilst this may have been an indication that I need to call a gardener, later that day it dawned on me that it meant I was letting the grass grow under my feet.

There were a couple of decisions that I had to make and I kept putting them off because they required a lot of thought and research. I kept telling myself I didn’t have the time to do it. Having thought about the energy that this procrastination was draining from me, I was proactive in getting those decisions made and out of the way.

Time

Ideally you will spend about 20 minutes writing. I know that this is a big ask as you will already have a busy schedule.

Five minutes is better than nothing, although you may find that a short amount of time spent just produces a list of facts rather than your deeper thoughts and emotions.

The Truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth

What you write needs to be the absolute truth.

This means not writing what you think you should, or what would show you in a better light because:

  • No-one but you will be reading it and
  • If you hide yourself from yourself, it kind of defeats the point of doing it.

Save it

I would suggest not re-reading what you’ve written at the time but just put it to one side. When you’ve done this every day for a month, go back and read what you’ve written.

The reason for this is that we may attach meaning to what we’ve written which ‘excuses’ it. This reasoning will stay with us and we will apply it again when we read it at a future date, missing the real point of the comment.

A simplistic example to demonstrate: You may write ‘I don’t like my friends’. On reading it back instantly, rather than have to face the truth of it, you may feel that’s an ungracious and unreasonable thing to say and so may justify it with ‘Well I’m going to feel that after not feeling well at the weekend and still having to drive Pat and Sam to the airport.’

When you re-read the comment a month later about not being satisfied with your friendships, you will say to yourself ‘Oh that doesn’t count – it was because of that time I wasn’t feeling well’.

The fact that your friendships aren’t giving you the support and inspiration that you need will be overlooked.

Reading it in isolation a month later, you will have a different take on it. ‘Yes I do feel rather isolated / unloved / bored.’

In reading your journal, you may find that there is a pattern to your comments. You may find that there are things that keep raising their head that bother you, of which, until now, you weren’t consciously aware.

You may find that your antagonism towards certain people have a pattern.

If you write that you were really annoyed with your partner/colleague/children on several occasions, when was that?

Was it always after a visit from your mother?

After parents evening at your child’s school?

After a particular meeting at work?

The issue may then be focused on one of these three events rather than the antagonism felt towards the individual.

The negativity comes from somewhere other than where you first thought.

Your next step

This step will be taken after you have done a month of journaling, but it can be done now too with the information that you have gathered so far.

Now you have a better insight into yourself, what do you want to do with this new information?

The first step will be to look at your goals.

These may or may not be the same goals that you had at the beginning of this process.

I don’t really like the term ‘goal’ but that’s another topic all by itself so we’ll continue to use it here because we all know what we’re taking about then.

So think long and hard about this as there may be goals that aren’t in the forefront of your mind. They may have been there for so long that you see them as eventualities rather than conscious goals.

An example of this may be ‘when you move into your next house’ ‘when you have children’ ‘when you get promoted at work’.

These may be assumptions you have made but are nonetheless goals with a different name.

Spend some time now thinking about it and write down your list of goals / intentions / assumptions that you have about life.

This may not be as easy as it sounds.

It’s not always easy to know what we want.

What we want isn’t necessarily simply the opposite of something we don’t want.

A good place to start here is to look at your values.

What do you hold dear in life?

If you find yourself spouting out a list of dreams that you wrote when you were 16, think again.

Whether you are 20 or 50 now, the chances are you ambitions and dreams will have shifted slightly, if not massively.

Write a list of things that you want NOW.

This list is what YOU wish. Not what someone else might wish for you or what you think you should be wishing for.

‘I would like to live on the moon’ may be an example.

Whilst the stand-alone wish may seem rather fanciful, in reading it back in conjunction with your other dreams, it may be clear that what you envisage in living on the moon is that you would be living somewhere alone and quiet, possibly away from all the electronic gadgets that may be forever present in your current situation.

So whatever you wish, write it down and think about its true meaning when you’ve finished your list.

When you feel you’ve got to the end of your wish list, think of another five things. However small or seemingly insignificant, note them down.

How does this list of desires compare to your current life?

So, the first step was to write down all of your new goals, intentions, desires, whatever you wish to call them.

The second step is to make a plan to work towards them.

Today is the first day of the rest of your life.

Use all of the information that you have discovered here to shape your new life which will be in alignment with your true self. It will fulfil your true needs and desires and will make you …..

so much more happy!

If you find you are living authentically but are still not happy and fulfilled then your issue may be deeper but otherwise, I do hope that you can see what you want and need in your life to be happy.

Do let me know how you got on with this journey of discovery and about the changes that you will be making to put it all into place.

It’s been lovely working with you.

And remember,

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by Jessica Hylands Life and Confidence Coach