How a Journal Can Help You Achieve Your Goals
If you’ve ever read my blog before, you know that I love keeping a journal. I recently read an article about the importance of setting goals. As I read, I kept thinking about how journaling is a great way to help you achieve your goals.
I am a very goal driven person. For me, one of the most frustrating aspects of becoming a stay-at-home mom was that I suddenly didn’t have goals for myself. Part of my frustration was learning what kind of goals were important for a mom with a newborn. I quickly realized that taking a shower every day was a good goal for a new mom, while my pre-pregnancy goal of running three miles a day was not.
My mindset had to change. I had to rely on short-term daily goals to get through my sometimes long and tedious days. I still use short-term goals as a method to get most of my work done. For example, on Friday my goal was to get my bathrooms cleaned. As far as my housework went, that was it. It may not sound like much but, between working, taking care of a four-year-old, and running the kids around in the afternoon, it felt like a lofty goal.
I want to move forward and become a better person. I can’t do that if I stay stagnant. That’s why goals are so important for all of us.
The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score. — Bill Copeland
Goals help us to “score”, to accomplish something.
Journaling as a Means to Achieve Your Goals
Long-term goals are important to long-term change and personal development. Journaling can be a valuable tool when it comes to staying on track with your long-term goals.
Recording your goals and the steps you are going to take to achieve them allows you to not only break your goals down into manageable chunks but to see your progress.
This is the process I have used to accomplish long term goals using my journal.
- Write down your goal and the day you want to reach it.
- Break your large goal down into smaller more manageable chunks. Write them down in order of importance. Researching what you need to do to accomplish your long-term goal may be a good first step.
- Get started. Record your progress. Write down what you are doing, any setbacks, or successes and how it makes you feel about moving towards your long-term goal.
- Once you’ve achieved one of your small goals, acknowledge it. If you made a list to start with, check it off the list! At the very least, be sure to record it in your journal.
- Read your journal. You’ll start to see patterns of progress or failure. Learn from it.
I am going to relate my personal experience of using journaling to help me achieve the goal of starting my own freelance writing business.
Back in November of 2015, I began to look at work from home opportunities for stay-at-home moms. I knew what I didn’t want (anything to do with talking on the phone) but I wasn’t sure what would truly work for me.
In my journal, I recorded all the work possibilities I considered, usually as a paragraph at the end of my weekly journal entry. Each week when I made another entry, I looked back at the work I was considering. Through study and prayer, I decided that I wanted to start a freelance writing business.
Starting your own business takes a lot of research and paperwork. I wrote in my journal all the agencies I had to contact, forms I had to fill out, and the progress I made. You can bet I wrote down all the frustration along the way. There were a lot of ups and downs.
My goal was to have everything ready to start working at the beginning of the new year. I ran into a few snags but by the end of January things were up and running. During that time, my journal became a place to review where I was going and what I was doing to get there. I’m still developing my business but things have certainly progressed farther than I expected.
I’m so glad I recorded my journey in my journal.
Where to Begin
If you already keep a journal, your long term goals can be entered in there, as I did. A journal is simply a place for you to record the things that are important to you. Record them any way you want as long as it makes sense to you. When it comes to goals a journal is a place for you stay accountable.
If you don’t regularly keep a journal, a bullet journal may be a good place to start. Bullet journals use lists, calendars, and other tools to help you track information. If you’ve never heard of a bullet journal, I would suggest going to Bulletjournal.com where they explain it very well and show you what a bullet journal is and can be.
How many times have you set a goal only to leave it behind a day, week, or month later? A journal is a place to remind yourself and see your progress. People use journals of all kinds for this purpose.
A food journal, for example, is used in many weight loss programs to track food and keep you accountable for what you eat. It helps you see your trouble areas and times of day. It reminds you what your goal is and helps you stay on track.
A journal devoted to your goals can function in the same way. The key is to find a way to make it work for you and stick with it. Write in it AND read it. A huge benefit of a journal is not in the writing, it’s in the reading. When you go back and read, you can see your progress or lack thereof. It provides continued motivation.
What are your long-term goals? Do you have any? What do you want to accomplish? What do you want to become? Do you want to learn to cook Asian food? Do you want to learn Spanish? Do you want to run a 5K, 10K, or half marathon? Do you want to be more patient with your children? What would accomplishing your goal look like to you?
Right now I’m working on business goals. It takes a lot of my time and energy but I am recording the successes and failures and learning from them.
Try journaling as a way to achieve your goals. It’s worth a try. You’ll have a record of your journey and what you’ve learned. Who knows how important it might be in the future.