I love dreaming. I love setting goals, making plans, getting excited about the possibilities for the future.
When it comes to taking action, however, I often falter. I let fear stop me. I struggle to break out of my usual habits and routines to do something different. I let inertia keep me where I am.
I have found journaling to be the number one tool to keep me accountable and help me take positive action to move towards my dreams. For years I would have these ideas for how my life could be different, but I never did anything differently. I wanted to leave teaching and have my own business. I wanted to build and live in a tiny house. I wanted to own my own piece of land. I wanted to write and create often.
Journaling regularly forced me to confront myself. It highlighted the incongruity I was experiencing—wanting something and not doing anything about it.
That’s why so few of us actually take action towards what we say we want: we don’t actively acknowledge that we say we want one thing, then do something else. While we are usually dimly aware of this, we don’t confront it often.
Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way and creator of morning pages says, ‘it is very difficult to complain about a situation morning after morning, month after month, without being moved to constructive action. The pages lead us out of despair and into undreamed-of solutions’.
But if you turn to the pages of your journal often enough, you will be forced to confront this: you say you want X, but you keep doing Y. It will create a sense of cognitive dissonance – an uncomfortable feeling when you realise how much your dreams and actions conflict with each other.
Slowly, you will find a way to make small changes. You will come to see the absurdity of what you’re doing now and how it is completely incongruent with the life you say you want, and you will start to do things differently. You will take action.
Eventually, your life will come into alignment with the vision you have in your mind’s eye. One day you’ll look around and realise that you’re living the life you once imagined you could live.