Write It Out! How Journaling Can Help You Stay Focused

January 21, 2013 No Comments by Susan McCuistion

journalIt is a brand new year. It is that time again where we make New Year’s resolutions about a lot of things…losing weight… exercising more… volunteering, etc. We also sometimes decide that we are going to change jobs, prepare for a promotion, go back to school to get new skills, or many other career related goals. The problem is such goals usually lose momentum by March. We get into the day to day grind and forget about our long term focus. This month we will try to give you helpful tips about staying true to your dreams and realizing your goals.

I have a quote from Mahatma Gandhi on my desk. It says, “Action expresses priorities.” A great way to take action around your goals is to journal.

You may think just running through the small tasks to accomplish each goal is enough. It may be, but journaling offers a level of reflection and organization that you don’t get just running through your “to do” list. Journals are not a play-by-play report of your day. They are a place to capture ideas, plans, and actions. Below are just a few reasons to journal about your goals.

  • Get focused. It’s very difficult, if not impossible, to think about something else while you are writing. Journaling about your goals is a helpful tool for sorting out what is going on in your mind. Taking a few minutes to sit down and write can help you find patterns, work through challenges, and focus your thoughts. As you journal about your day, you may find that you are participating in activities that actually draw your focus away from your goals, and you can adjust accordingly.
  • Work out challenges. If you are frustrated about something or someone, or if you are simply discouraged about your goal, a journal gives you a private place to express those feelings. Don’t stop writing when you’ve written down your challenge, though. Keep writing until a solution emerges.
  • Log your work. A journal provides a continuous record of your work. At any time, you can look back through it to see what you did and when. When you set new goals, you can see what worked for you before and what did not. Your journal entries can also help you anticipate obstacles and set better timelines.
  • Find inspiration. Your journal can be a source of inspiration to you in times of disappointment. When you look back to see where you’ve been and all that you’ve done, not only will you understand what you are truly capable of, but you may also get inspired to set bigger goals.

Other things to consider:

  • You can journal online or with a paper and pen. Choosing a beautiful notebook to write in may give you inspiration. If you have a smartphone that goes with you everywhere, online may be more convenient.
  • Journaling is not limited to simply writing words. Draw diagrams. Paste pictures. Add sticky notes.
  • You can organize your journal any way you like. Set it up by day or by topic. Use different colored pens or post-it tabs for different topics.

Whatever you do, make journaling a regular practice. Set aside five or ten minutes at the same time each day – when you get up, as you eat lunch, before you go to bed – and start journaling about your goals today!

Stay Focused!

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