I’ve been journaling since I was ten years old, but it wasn’t until I committed to a regular journaling practice that things in my life began to really shift.
I’ve maintained that practice for four years now and in that time a lot has changed in my life. I don’t think it is a coincidence that these positive changes have happened since I’ve been journaling consistently.
In fact, my experience has shown me that regular journaling is one of the best tools we can use to transform our lives.
It might sound a bit too easy, but it’s true: anyone can use their journaling practice to create positive changes, overcome fear and bring their dreams to life.
Early on in my journaling practice I noticed some pretty massive changes in my life. In the space of two years, the following things happened:
- I’ve begun and maintained a creative practice, including making and sharing my art
- I’ve left a full-time job that was slowly sucking the life out of me
- I’m more at peace and happier than I have been in a long time (as someone who has been through many depressive episodes in her life, I’ve not even been close to feeling that way since developing my journaling habit)
- My relationship with my partner has improved dramatically (as a side note, he proposed to me shortly after I began my journaling practice, which I also do not think is a coincidence)
- I’ve started and maintained a writing practice through a blog, something I’ve wanted to do for years
- My partner and I have made our tiny house dream a reality – building our own house together after years of talking about it
- I’ve created an online business using my writing, teaching and coaching skills
- My partner and I have found a way to purchase our dream property and move to the countryside
In short: many of my long-term dreams have become a reality.
How is this possible? What is it about journaling, the simple act of writing down our thoughts and feelings regularly, that has allowed my life to change in such dramatic ways?
It comes down to a few simple factors.
Each morning when I open my journal to write, I find myself writing about what’s happening in my life: what I’m doing, how things are going, what’s working and what’s not.
I write about the things I dream of, what I hope for, what I long for.
This is what happens when you journal regularly: each and every day you show up to the page, you refine and clarify exactly how you want your life to look as you bring into your awareness the things that are and aren’t working in your life as it is.
You also get clear about the things standing between you and the life you want: journaling encourages you to dig deep so that you can uncover your doubts, worries and fears.
Before long, it becomes clear what it is that you want and what it is that is standing in your way.
It takes honesty and courage to get clear, but the more regularly you journal, the more clarity you will get.
- Try this: make lists of the following:
- What’s working in my life
- What isn’t working in my life
- What I want my life to look like
- What I long for
Reread these lists as you journal over the coming days.
Some believe that journaling, like meditation and other spiritual practices, allows you to connect with the divine or a greater power than yourself. Others believe that journaling allows you to connect with your own higher self, a source of inner wisdom. Some believe these two are the same thing.
God, inner wisdom, the universe, the divine… call it what you like, but something magical happens when you show up to the page often enough. You open up a channel to a higher source of wisdom, faith and courage to which you wouldn’t normally have access.
When you journal regularly, this connection is strengthened and can become a valuable source of guidance. This connection allows for inspiration. It helps you to feel strong and courageous. It reminds you to have faith even when you might falter.
Through this connection to something bigger, you can often find the answers you seek. By asking questions in your journal and being open, answers will come.
Fostering a daily connection with our highest and wisest self can only be a good thing.
- Try this: take some quiet time alone with your journal. Decide how you would best like to address the source of higher wisdom you seek (e.g. God, inner self, universe, divine, etc). Then, write to this source asking a question you want the answers to. Be clear, direct and honest. Once you have written your question, take a moment to pause and sit in silence. Whatever comes to mind, write this down. This is the response. Be open to whatever you hear and allow it to come freely.
So you get clear about what you want, you find the answers and guidance you need, but what about actually taking steps to make things happen?
The journal is a powerful tool to help you overcome resistance. Resistance is usually just fear disguised as procrastination, excuses, distractions, perfectionism, and other similar states.
Resistance is usually present when doing something new, making a change, or stepping out of your comfort zone in any way. Resistance is the reason so many wonderful dreams don’t become reality.
But I have found the fastest way to kill resistance is to expose it. Journal about it. Get honest and let it all out.
Why? Because when you write down your fears, when you put them into words and onto paper, they lose their power. They are no longer these big scary ideas floating around in your mind – they are mere sentences and words. And most of the time, you will see that they aren’t that scary after all.
- Try this: in your journal, answer this question: what is stopping you from creating a life you love? Write honestly and let all your fears pour out onto the page. Don’t worry if they sound silly; just write whatever it is that is bothering you. When you have finished, write an affirmation encouraging yourself to be bold.
Staying in alignment
The daily act of writing means that you are regularly checking in with yourself. Instead of pushing through busy days without a moment to stop and think, the act of journaling forces you to slow down and reflect. It brings awareness to your life.
Each day that I show up to my journal and complain about something that is not working in my life is a reminder that I’m not doing enough of the things that bring me joy, that are taking my closer to my dreams.
Journaling daily – checking in with yourself emotionally, mentally, spiritually on a regular basis – can help you to stay on track.
Why? Because it highlights areas of incongruity in your life. You may journal about how much you hate being in debt but then in the same entry write about how you love shopping. What may not be obvious in your daily life can be easily highlighted when you write it down – and especially so when you write it down often.
Journaling regularly reminds you of your goals and values and brings awareness to your thoughts and actions. Slowly but surely, the two will come into alignment and, as long as you keep journaling, they will stay that way.
- Try this: for the next week, write every day for 15 minutes at the same time. Use this time to check in with yourself emotionally, mentally, spiritually. How are you feeling? What is on your mind? What is your current energy? Note down anything else you want to.
I’m not the same person I was a year ago and it’s all because I pick up my pen to write and create for 30 minutes each day.
Why not give it a try?
31 thoughts on “How journaling can change your life”
This is such a fantastic summary of just how great journaling is. Thank you for this post, it has really amped up my motivation to journal again! 🙂
Thanks Akiyo, glad to hear it’s got you inspired to journal more! 🙂
Thank you for postig this. I’ve been journaliing since my return full force to the Lord, back in 1999, and I’ve been able to see my spiritual and all over growth sinse then. It is actually a good way to track your growth as a person.
Hi Linda, yes I completely agree, it’s a great way to track our growth! It’s also a great spiritual practice 🙂
Hi Jen, I stumbled across this post on Pinterest just now. By “coincidence” it is just what I needed to read. I am a Creative and have just had my medication for depression and anxiety increased, even though I’m a fairly optimistic happy go lucky type person. I have felt I’ve been led to read things about journalling in the last few days as an answer to how to quiet down all the noise in my head. Your post has brought so much clarity to what it actually is and what I need to do. Thank you so much for writing this. You have blessed me hugely xx
Hi Fiona, thank you for your heartfelt comment. I absolutely believe that the universe will guide us in the right direction when we need a nudge. I hope that you find some solace in journaling, I’d be very interested to know how it goes. You are most welcome, and you have made my day with your lovely comments x
Hi x thank you x your writing is really encouraging and inspiring x makes me want to keep going xx
Hi Joy, you are welcome! Thank you for your kind words, good to know it’s encouraging 🙂
I love Journaling! With that said…I can go back through the years and see what God has done & areas I still have not done….like creating everyday! ❤️
Hi Carol, I think one of the coolest things about journaling is being able to look back on past versions of ourselves to see where we’ve grown (and where we could still use some work!)
I’ve been journaling for over 15 years and I have to admit my life has been quite a journey
What a wonderful exploration about the why’s (the wise?) beneath journaling. This practice is absolutely a game changer – which is why we’re launching Give a Girl a Journal. Thank you so very much for sharing this project along with your wisdom! Here’s to the power of journaling!
Thanks Jamie. And I couldn’t agree more – it really is a game changer! I think what you are doing is amazing – such a worthwhile cause. Imagine what the world would be like if we could get all young women journaling?!
I love this article and all your journaling tips! Great wisdom!
Thanks for your kind words Tery 🙂
Jen, you are a walking advertisement for journaling! I so enjoyed your amazing assessment of the many ways to work with your journal to effect change. Love this post.
Thanks Sam! Glad you enjoyed it 🙂
I really connected with this post. I think many people under estimate the power of keeping a journal. I’ve been a life long journal keeper. I’ve been more consistent at some times than others but I so enjoy looking back and seeing how I’ve changed and what I’ve accomplished. Without a journal I think I wouldn’t see those things about myself.
Yes Stacey I totally relate – keeping a journal can be so powerful to look back on ourselves.
Great ideas! I’m now inspired to get back into journaling regularly, instead of just when something is weighing on my mind, which is what I’m doing now. Thanks!
Megan – it’s so worth doing it regularly, especially when it’s not just to deal with difficult things. That’s when the magic happens!
Two years???? I have journaling over twenty years! And, yes, my writing has been witness to much change. It helps me see Life as the work-in-progress that it truly is……
Hi Laurie, I’ve been journaling for over twenty years too, but I’ve only been journaling every day for the past two years – that’s made a big difference for me.
I found your post through pinterest. I’ve been journaling for more than half my life, and for the past year and a bit it’s been incredibly helpful. It hasn’t always been that way for me though – as a teenager I was often quite harsh in my quest for perfection/assumption that I wasn’t good enough. After that, journaling became one of my main ways of avoiding anxiety (along with staying home and baking cookies). Long story short, I saw a therapist, took a few months off to do my own thing, and got interested in mindfulness/meditation. After that, little over a year ago, journaling started becoming helpful. I didn’t notice it at first but I finally agree with almost everyone on the internet: journaling is a positive thing in my life.
I loved reading this and it confirms many things that I believe about my art practice. I’m writing something about transformation at the moment and this feels like a sweet message from the universe telling me I’m on the right track. Thank you xxx
Tracy – thanks. I love getting those little messages from the universe that we’re on the right track!
I really love how you wrote an actual blog post on journaling. I’ve been journaling since I was in middle school, but it never worked out. Because of that, I’ve stopped journaling for a while until things started to tumble over in my life and I began to hold these thoughts in my head. My motivation to journal came along when I was in 11th grade. I was beginning to attend therapy for a lot of stress and thoughts I held in my head. My former therapist asked me if I considered journaling. Of course I told her no. She told me to consider it and gave me a 1-Subject notebook to jot down (or I should say expoit) my thoughts each day. This has helped a lot with me getting things off my head and focusing on what’s in front of me. I have modified my journaling within the years of me doing so. I have prompts such as how your day, and thoughts you would like to share. I even added a meter for how much I smiled and my frustration for the day.
My apologies for this very long comment but I agree with everything you wrote in this blog post.
Thank you for explaining clearly what journaling is all about. I now see how it will help me, thanks to your inspiration. I will start today.
Remember: Just float above it all and trust in the universe
You’re welcome Jackie. I hope you get as much out of journaling as I have! x
Wow! From all those blogs, this is the only blog where you get motivated or some power where it uplift you to begin writing. The writing is simple & over understandable. I Love it! Keep doing the good work! And thank you a lot!
Thanks Abigail, glad to hear it has inspired you to start writing 🙂