Journaling at the End of the Day

Nov 16, 2022
A share from a little while ago - reflective of a time when it felt right for me to journal in the evening. Read for a deep dive into why we should take the time to put pen to paper and how an evening practice might look.

I recently re-read a book that I came across randomly in my early 20s. Its highly unlikely you have read it, but strangely – I really do recommend it! The book im talking about is Jack Canfield’s – The Success Principles.
 
I read this book at the tender and impressionable age of 22, and even though I couldn’t full grasp the concepts at that time, it really did impact me and shifted my mindset.
Over the last ten years in business, and in day to day experiences Ive witnessed his fundamentals for success come to life before my eyes. Ive observed it in others & I have realised that Ive manifested its magic for myself.

Right from the outset, Canfield makes it very clear that your capacity for success will be dictated by your capacity to take 100% responsibility for yourself and for your own life.
At a certain time in my life, I had twisted this concept and made it feel really heavy. Having to take full responsibility for myself and my life felt like a burden.

This is actually good news.

It means that if you don’t like the cards you have been dealt, you can choose to draw another card. Better yet, you can throw the whole hand in and walk away from the table.
Years ago, as I was wrestling with the idea of getting a divorce – I was searching desperately within myself for the strength I needed to speak my truth. This search isolated me from everyone and everything and found me getting on a plane and seemingly disappearing to the other side of the world.

I remember lying in the sun, on Naiharn beach in Thailand. I was relaxed & tanned. I was painfully miserable - but my tan was amazing.

Anyway, my finger tips were sticky from pineapple & I decided to make my way into the water to rinse my hands and cool my body down.

As I sat up. I felt really dizzy. The heat, the sudden movement, the fact that a few pieces of pineapple was nowhere near enough nourishment to refeed my body after hours of muay thai training I had done earlier that morning – made my vision blurry and my head spin.

I sat still for a moment, with my eyes closed, waiting for the moment to be over.
When I opened my eyes, everything was clear to me.
 
I smiled. From the inside. I looked out at the ocean, and felt the sun on my skin and acknowledged that no matter how disorientating a moment (or a decade) could be – at some point, if you sat still for long enough, if your refused to just be swept up and carried into the next moment, everything would stop.
 
I had been angry that my life didn’t look the way I wanted it to. I blamed everyone around me. I had forgotten that at any given point in time I could simply choose to stop.
I had let life make me really dizzy.
 
The expectations I had placed on myself, the standards I was trying to meet, the pace that I allowed myself to operate – it had made my mind, my body and my spirit spin circles for years.
 
I was dizzy. I didn’t know where I was going. I didn’t know what would come next. I didn’t know which direction I was even supposed to be headed. But I did know one thing – it was up to me to decide.
 
If I courageously took full accountability for myself and my life – the change I was longing for could be instantaneous.
 
I did just that. I accepted full responsibility for all the ways I had ‘failed’. For all the things that had gone ‘wrong’.
 
In taking full responsibility for everything that I didn’t like or didn’t want – it also gave me the power to reclaim my capacity for success.
 
I stopped believing that I was only going to be able to experience success when and if I found myself in the right circumstances.
 
So, I no longer had to suffer over how on earth I was going to create the circumstances to feel like I wasn’t a failure.
 
I was successful that day, in that moment on the beach.
 
As I walked down to the water and rinsed the sweet, sticky mess of pineapple from my hands, I washed away the attachment I had to the story that I had been hard done by.
I had been so mad at the way life had turned out – I really felt that I had been hard done by. That life wasn’t fair and I was going to suffer silently forever because of it.
 
But that day, standing there in the water, I finally took responsibility for my life.
 
Everything in my life was a result of my emotions, my thoughts and my actions. I had allowed it all. I had participated in it all. I had gone along for the ride.
 
With a little more self awareness, I could ensure the next chapter of my life would be different. I wouldn’t have to feel like I was in the wrong story.
 
So fast forward to today – and I still take full responsibility for the story of my life. Im the author!
 
And you are the author of your life too! Your emotions, thoughts and actions create the stories of your day, day after day – our choices create our life.
 
It can feel like a huge responsibility, right? To not mess it up? To not waste the days away? I know I don’t want to get things twisted and waste years of my life suffering again.
So, I use journaling as a way to check in with myself, and if im being really honest – its to check up on myself!
 
We can justify ANYTHING within our own minds – but once we get something out on paper, and read it out loud – we often cant deny our own bullshit.
 
And so – I journal.
 
My process at the moment only takes about 5 minutes at the end of the day. Its simple, and quick and gives me an invitation to reflect, realign and then refocus.
 
Each month I select three areas that I want to focus on. I change the focus every month to encourage me to be well rounded, and not fixated on narrow minded on any one area of my life.
 
It can be anything! It could be movement, mindset, finances.
It could be spirituality, relationships, nutrition, charity.
 
Whatever would benefit from your attention.
 
At the end of the day I rate the way in which I managed to positively contribute to those areas of my life throughout the day from 1-5.
 
You can flesh out what you mean by each category. So for movement you could ask yourself – did I enjoy exercise today? Did it make me feel energised? Was it uplifting and fulfilling? Did I like the way it felt when I was doing it?
 
You rate it and reflect on it. If it was great – that’s fantastic, its likely you will continue. If you are rating it a 1 our of 5, it needs your attention.
 
Doing this lets you reflect on what has gone on in your day and consider what would need to be different tomorrow in order for your rating to improve.
 
The answer could be as simple as getting more sleep, or it may be a little more complicated. Either way, acknowledging the experience of your day will empower you to create a better day for your tomorrow.
 
The other thing I do is write down 3 good things that happened in the day. I love this because at the end of the year, Ill have a list of over 1000 good things that happened for me to look back on.
 
Ive found that having this as a ritual every evening has actually encouraged me to be on the look out for good things throughout the day! Im training my brain to look for positives, rather than fixate on inconvenient, frustrating, annoying things.
 
The last thing I do is record a way in which I can support someone tomorrow. It could be as simple as committing to calling a certain friend, making sure I personally thank Tysons daycare teacher for something in particular, share a book recommendation with a client that would benefit from reading it – whatever it is, it is just something that is going to provide me with an opportunity to give to someone else.
 
Writing it down helps me bring clarity to what I can do to be of service or just make someone feel good tomorrow.
 
Then I also write down something that I am going to ask for. I might just be asking the universe, or I could be asking someone to help me, support me, share with me, talk to me, hug me – whatever it is, I bring clarity to what I need to ask for tomorrow.
 
This is difficult for me – Im working hard at being comfortable with receiving, but it is an important part of building strong, trusting, reciprocal relationships.
 
When you give and take freely – you live in instant abundance.
 
This is something I take 5 minutes to do every evening. I have found that it not only helps me reach my goals faster, it has helped me to deepen my relationship with myself. I am able to understand my own needs and recognise patterns that reappear in my daily reflections.
 
So friend, I invite you to find your own way to reflect at the end of the day. We cant do it within our own minds – usually, our minds are causing us the unnecessary suffering we are experiencing!
 
Find a way to capture your thoughts, and you will begin to understand your own feelings.
You are the author of your own personal narrative. Be mindful of the stories you are telling yourself – & remember, any day, at any time, you can simply turn the page and start again.

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