Sometimes, getting started with a new challenge can seem like the hardest thing in the world. Human beings don’t mind hard work or long journeys; we’re just terrified of getting started!
We procrastinate, and make excuses, and stick our heads in the sand. We pretend that if we just wait long enough, the need to change will go away. Except it usually doesn’t, and a day, a week, a year down the road you muster up the courage to re-assess and you have to admit you’ve gotten nowhere.
Eventually, you have to work through your issues; you have to face your challenges, if you’re to go on living with yourself. And journaling is how you can do it with relative ease.
The task ahead of you may indeed be tremendous and difficult, but by using your journal to plan, record, reflect, and revise you can gain indispensable objectivity and comfort throughout the process.
Certainly, getting started is the hardest part. So approach it with heaps of reassuring TLC. Don’t try to be productive. Open your journal and write, “Why do I want to _____________?” (naming your challenge, whatever it is). Then keep writing. Before you stop, set a time for when you will return, and make it a firm date.
With a slow and sensitive start, you’ll soon find that journaling comes easily to you. Not only will you look forward to your regular journaling sessions, but you’ll also continue to be prompted by your journaling thoughts between writings.
At this point, your journal has become your own personal therapist, to whom you can turn for feedback, advice, and guidance whenever you wish.
How exactly does it work? Here’s an example.
If you’re a morning journaler:
• What are you excited about doing today?
• What do you hope to accomplish?
• What are potential challenges you might face, and how can you overcome them?
• How will you feel at the end of the day?
• Do you have any insights from yesterday?
• Were your predictions close to the reality of the day?
Or if you prefer to journal in the evenings:
• What were your victories?
• What were your roadblocks?
• How do you feel?
• What do you hope for tomorrow?
Keep it simple. Don’t try to write well, or be clever. Just observe and record and listen to your Inner Coach.
With faithful journaling, you find yourself bravely facing challenges in actionable ways and achieving success at unprecedented levels. Your journal is a tool to help you get better at this thing called life.
Mari L. McCarthy – Journal / Writing Therapist. Are you looking for more information on journaling and its therapeutic effects? Visit Mari’s site at http://www.CreateWriteNow.com. Her trademarked program, Journaling for the Health of It! ™, helps her clients live healthier and happier lives. Recent publications include 53 Weekly Writing Retreats: How to Use Your Journal to Get Healthy Now and Mari’s Most Museful Journaling Tips.
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Image credit: Philo Nordland