“Journaling is powerful for many reasons: Many of us don’t truly know what we think about something until we investigate it, challenge it, and write it down.”
– Marie Forleo
Journal entry 12/15/20: “Greye decided to clean the bathroom with hand sanitizer, which we found out is very slippery when spread all over the wood floor. I slid through in a surprise split, trying to figure out what the gooey clear mess was in puddles all over everything. Greye heard the commotion and came running in and completely wiped out hitting the back of her head on the floor. There was some crying and some swearing, and some scrubbing (swearing me, crying Greye, but I’m sure you figured that out) What can I learn from this situation? How can I do better next time? 1.Don’t leave hand sanitizer within the reach of a 5 year old alone in a bathroom. 2. When a 5 year old is alone and quiet in the bathroom for more than 5 minutes please check on her (in my defense this happened fast). 3. Count to three before reacting to anything. Take a deep breath. No one was seriously injured, and your bathroom is now very clean.”
What went well in your day? What could you do better? Half the time when people ask how my week went or how my weekend was, I can’t even remember. That’s why it is so important we write it down! Don’t let the business of life keep you from growing to your full potential. And don’t we want to remember amazing moments throughout our day? Your baby’s first steps, my daughter’s kindergarten graduation, how I reacted to a really shitty day when my child had a meltdown in the middle of the grocery store, and how I can react better next time. Journaling opened my eyes to the fact I wasn’t living the life I wanted to live recently. My guided gratitude journal asks every day “What were your favorite moments from today?” and I had to dig way deeper than I wanted to come up with a moment. This gave me so much clarity that I need to make some changes, I need to work less, and create more of the beautiful micro moments with my family. Life is so short, we only get this one chance, let’s journal our way into awareness and manifest the life we want! This is where I started, I came across the “What went well” exercise from Martin Seligman’s book “Flourish” while taking the Optimize mastery class. I have been journaling for 11 months now, and I am hooked! Take a look.
“Every night for the next week, set aside ten minutes before you go to sleep. Write down three things that went well today and why they went well. You may use a journal or your computer to write about events, but it is important that you have a physical record of what you wrote. The three things need not be earthquaking in importance (“My husband picked up my favorite ice cream for dessert on the way home from work today”), but they can be important(”My sister just gave birth to a healthy baby boy”).
Next to each positive event, answer the question “why did this happen?” For example, if you write “because my husband is really thoughtful sometimes” or “because I remembered to call him from work and remind him to stop by the grocery store.” Or if you write, “My sister gave birth to a healthy baby boy,” you might pick as the cause “God was looking out for her” or “She did everything right during her pregnancy.”
Writing about why the positive events in your life happened may seem awkward at first , but please stick with it for one week. It will get easier. The odds are that you will be less depressed, happier, and addicted to this exercise six months from now.”
– Martin Seligman
I started off doing this exact exercise, and liked it so much that now I made it my own, and have a “Megan Journal” that I do EVERY day. I even bring my journal on vacation with me =). If I miss a day for some reason I get right back at it the next day. Every morning I journal about what went well the day before, what I can do better, and also at least three things I am grateful for. Journaling gives me a bird’s eye view right into my mind. It helps sort out my thoughts, helps me problem solve and be aware of my actions and daily growth. What did I do right? What can I work on tomorrow?. Sometimes I will write for pages, and sometimes it is just a paragraph, either way I try and write every day.
Most days Greye and I will sit at the table together eating breakfast and I will write in my journal. She will write in her gratitude journal or her weather journal (yes she tries to find weather patterns:)) or she will just eat and chatter while I write my thoughts good or bad about my events from the day before. For example: “5/22/21 Yesterday was so great! Greye and I had some special one on one time where we just played out in the yard for hours. Later in the day we went and got ice cream with friends, and had a really nice dinner together as a family.” Why did we have such a nice day? I was present, playful, and fun, living in the moment.
Some days it looks more like the hand sanitizer incident. I don’t think too much into it and I just write. Like Martin suggests, if I write positive events or thoughts, I ask myself why did this day go so well and what did I do right that I can do again? If I write about a negative event or thought, I try to come up with a positive way to do better the next time something arises. This exercise brings so much awareness to my actions and reactions; the first step in change is recognizing our behaviors. Writing down my thoughts and daily activities has made me so aware of how I am acting. It is really really hard to not react to certain situations(trust me I know) and no one is perfect. But if we aren’t even aware of how we are acting, how do we change? WRITE IT DOWN.
“In our endlessly distracted, overcommitted, overstretched world, writing down what is most important is a deceptively easy way to stay focused.”
– Marie Forleo
I know I have mentioned this before, but it is so important to how we view our lives and ourselves. What we write and think WILL be our lives if we keep writing and thinking that way. Be careful what you write! Otherwise it doesn’t matter if you write in the morning or at the end of the day, whether you write one sentence or fill a notebook, just try it. In my last blog we were visualizing our dream lives. Put it on paper, put it out there for the universe to know you are serious about this dream life and goal. Make a “You Journal” and make it your own. Sometimes I will write under my “What went well exercise” what I want to happen that day. “I will run 5 miles. I will slay my 12 hour day at work by being 100 percent present and do my best work. I will write 100 words for my blog.” When you write it down you are more accountable, and it is much more likely to happen. Statistics say you are 45% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down! 45 percent!! That’s crazy!! Seriously get started now!
If you’re having trouble getting your journal started you could go with a guided journal. Rachel Hollis has an awesome “Go all in start today journal”. You can also just go with a simple gratitude journal which I also use and I will link below, It is awesome! My girl Marie Forleo says “Starting small and sucky beats staying stucky.” You could even start by writing that exact statement down as your mantra :). Easy peasy lemon squeezy! What do you want to accomplish today? What can you work on from yesterday?
“If you have the courage to start, you have the courage to succeed.”
– Mel Robbins
Flourish by Martin Seligman
Everything is Figuroutable by Marie Forleo
The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins
Photos: Lindsay Fairchild Photography
Spray tan: Amanda McCarthy Beauty