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The Magic of keeping a Journal

Posted by Lynne Burdon in Habits | 0 comments

My journal is where I talk to myself – and by spending time talking to myself I get to know myself better.  When I know myself and understand who I am right now I can more easily work out where I want to make changes in my life and how I am going to do that.

I sit down nearly every morning with my journal and a cup of coffee and have a good old natter with myself!

The tone of my morning conversations depends on how I am feeling that day.  I always start by asking myself how I am feeling today?

If things are not going too well then I ask ‘Lynne why are you not feeling so great today?’

What is the emotion? – anger, fear, guilt, anxiety, rage, resentment, sadness, sense of loss…  What is the cause of that emotion?  Often just being honest with myself about the cause and clearly naming the problem helps.  I try to remind myself that I can’t do anything about what others are saying or doing – but I can change how I decide to feel about that.  I remind myself that any negative emotion will have pulled me out of my human brain – moved me into threat and to a flight, fight or freeze mentality.  I remind myself of decisions that I made when I was feeling good about how I want to live my life and I try and identify just one small thing that I can do to pull myself back in that direction.  For me the first thing I try to recover is my magic morning ritual.  My ritual includes exercise before 8am – when things have gone off track I tell myself that all that is necessary is a 10 minute walk.  It is amazing what even 10 minutes does to make me feel better and so often a 10 minute walk turns into a half hour run just because I am enjoying it so much.  And after exercise my morning treat is a coffee with my journal – win win!

When life is on track I spend my time with my journal reflecting on the changes I am making right now.  I always have one thing that I am working on – that may be something in my personal life e.g. a fitness goal, or something related to those I love e.g. spending more time with Mum or something work related.  Right now my focus is my coaching career – getting me to be the best coach I can be.  I use my journal to reflect on coaching sessions –  what has worked well and what did not work so well.  By reflecting daily on the change I am striving for – by reminding myself of the intent behind the change and paying attention to how it is going I am telling myself that the change is important – and thus ask my brain to prioritise the change!  I ask myself ‘Lynne what is it that you are trying to achieve right now – and why is that?’  ‘How did it go yesterday?’  ‘What are you going to do today?’

When things are going just great that is the time to think about what next!  The time for planning the next change – the time for agreeing the next goal with myself.  This is a time for planning adventures – the time when being courageous feels more possible.  This is where the dreams begin.  When this is my state of mind everything is easy and everything is possible.  By documenting this in my journal it is there ready to go back to when life gets a bit tough again.

My final question is always ‘What am I grateful for today?’

I can always find something to be grateful for no matter how tough life is – my children, a beautiful flower, a moment of laughter…..  Some reason to be grateful for being alive – that is always a good place to end my conversation with myself!

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