Performance Mindset: The Benefits Of Journaling
A revolving door refers to a situation in which the same events or problems recur in a continuous cycle. This is how I referred to some of my own circumstances going into last year that I knew needed to change for me to achieve any of the personal goals I had for myself.
When I asked myself why I was continuously, willingly walking through my own revolving door I had an epiphany…I didn't know how to reflect on my experiences. Time after time, I thought I had stepped outside the revolving door, addressing the problems slowing me down, when all I had actually been doing is changing speeds within the same door.
Unable to reflect, I had no reference to learn from. How could I expect to break my habits and grow in a direction that I desperately wanted to work towards without the proper tools to do so. I didn't have a chance.
My next step was simple: I bought a journal.
Studies show that 80% of people who journal reach their goals. Some of the greatest leaders, thinkers, inventors, politicians, and athletes of our generation and prior practice journaling daily. Oprah Winfrey has a great piece on her journaling experience over a ten year period and how it impacted her when she stopped making time for it.
Journaling in its most basic form is a recollection, or reflection, of your time (daily, weekly, monthly, annually) onto a piece of parchment or tablet. Maybe it’s an account of an event that happened, your mood, productivity, or gratitude. Every person does these things differently, no journaling habit is wrong, and there are a lot of positive take aways from journaling. Mainly, it provides the opportunity for us to learn new lessons from our past experiences.
What are you grateful for?
This was what my issue was rolling into last year…I had nothing to learn from but memory. I couldn’t connect with where my mind was at the time. It’s like looking at a picture of yourself from the past. You can see the physical differences but you can’t recall the things you thought.
What is the happiest event that happened this week?
After a year of journaling and being able to reflect back on my own thoughts I came to realize another advantage of creating the habit of journaling: it sharpens your memory. It reminded me of how I thought during situations. That’s a huge building block to learn from when you can add thoughts to your memories. It allows you to acknowledge whether you’re heading in the correct direction towards the person you want to be and the goals you want to achieve.
What were your big 3 wins for the week?
The habit of daily journaling allows us to gather motivation from our records because we’re able to reflect upon and understand our thoughts more throughly. The good and bad of our days stack up differently when we see them next to each other. That perspective from our writing becomes a powerful source for daily positivity.
Writing things down allows us to see our direction…like a compass. A compass doesn't tell us where we are going but it does lead us to our destination. Journaling leads us, but also allows us to course correct, because bad days will happen and we should make note of them. Even the greatest pioneers in history had bad days and made mistakes, but they follow their notes to where the want to be…they course correct their compass.
The Key to Journaling: Make It Easy
A very small and mundane thing to do, but show up everyday and write something. New habits don’t have to be impressive to be useful, but they do need to be consistent. Be persistent about doing this small action everyday. Here are a few starting places to get you going:
Daily Journal: What happened today?
Gratitude Journal: What are you grateful for?
Productivity Journal: What are your three wins for the week?
Mood Journal: What is the happiest event that happened this week?
This is almost exactly how I have set myself up over the past year, daily and gratitude are daily with write-ups and productivity and mood are my weekly reflections, but feel free to make it your own. Journaling shouldn’t feel like an obligation, so set yourself up in a comfortable way to be successful. Even if it’s one sentence a day about what you’re grateful for! After 31 days of the month you’ll have 31 things to be grateful for! That’s a great motivational start to the next month that shows progress.
Some days will be more difficult to have your thoughts come to you, but remember that this shouldn’t feel like an obligation, it’s all compound interest. It adds up to a better you.