Thank you for being a willing to put into practice a journal process I’ve been developing for myself since March 2018. I believe we will see significant change in just 60 days, as long as we follow the process.
The process has evolved quite a bit since I started. Here’s the backstory:
A dear friend of mine who runs a few e-commerce businesses (love bragging on him—he left corporate life to build six- and seven-figure businesses on Amazon) reached out to me earlier this past spring asking if we could set up a weekly check-in call. He wanted to stay in touch after working together on a project, since we were able to speak freely and honestly about our strengths and weaknesses. He believed I could help him focus on what was important, and I believed he could help me develop my entrepreneurial path.
I’d never done anything like that for someone, and eventually I opened up and shared with him the journal process I’d been working on. He took to it immediately because, as I found out, he’d been wanting to commit to a journal practice for some time. He just needed someone to show him a process to follow and hold him accountable.
A year later, he’s still journaling.
He’s accomplished personal goals—like making time to go to the gym and to read more books—and is incorporating goals for his business as well. He’s hired more people and operations are running more smoothly. And his stress level is way down.
Honestly, I couldn’t believe it. He said it was “like the missing piece to my brain.” I’ve been floored by the experience. We caught up recently and he’s still as committed as ever.
What has been the secret to this success? A clear process to follow and accountability is part of it, but just as important is my commitment to the practice as well. When we check in, the sharing of our progress is reciprocal. We can be honest about our struggles and our accomplishments, and that honest approach *without judgment* is critical to success.
So here it is, the process we will follow over the next 60 days:
We begin by setting aside just 5-10 minutes each morning before work to complete an honest assessment of our physical and mental health. In a plain journal with lined paper, we make four brief lists. Don’t spend too much time thinking about these lists. Don’t judge yourself; just write these items down objectively as if you could step back away from yourself and give an honest assessment. The key is not to judge.
The goal is to be able to pause, notice, choose, and act without force, so that it becomes natural for you to stay in balance.
Note the date and time at the top of the page. You will take up this entire page for each day’s journal entry. Now, begin your first list.
Jot down how you feel, your thoughts and ideas. Examples: Woke up feeling a little bloated. Slightly dehydrated. Stress level is moderate. Grateful for my husband. Tension in neck and jaw. Skin is a bit oily, no breakouts. Not overly sore from strength training, feeling strong and clear-headed.
Once that section is complete (~3-5 lines), create a new section for your second list.
Ask why you are having these feelings, thoughts and ideas and jot down the simple reason behind them. Examples: I ate half a bag of chips after 8 p.m. when I know eating late makes me bloat. I drank half the water I usually drink because I forgot my water bottle at home, and not drinking enough water makes my skin extra oily. I got a sweet scalp massage from my husband. I’m not overly stressed because I worked out, but I’m still worrying about a project. I need to add more shoulder and mid-back exercises to my workout to relieve tension in my neck.
Once that section is complete (~4-6 lines), create a new section for your third list.
Set intention with simple affirmations. I approach my affirmations as “I” statements, but do what feels right for you. Examples: I am intentional with my limited time. I the goddess at my center and choose to live as my highest self, observing thoughts and emotions. I act out of love, not fear. I respect my time. I set clear boundaries.
Once that section is complete (~3-5 lines), create a new section for your fourth list.
After making this honest assessment of you today and affirming your intentions, make a brief task list of actions you want to take. Don’t overload your list; just put down what feels right. Examples: Finish eating before 8 p.m. Drink 64 oz of water. Test out simple breathing exercise to help reduce stress. Pay close attention to posture. Make shoulder blades touch in shoulder exercises. Choose a book to read next month.
Now, close the journal and go about your day. Again, the goal is to be able to pause, notice, choose, and act without force, so that it becomes natural for you to stay in balance.
Don’t actively look back at your progress for an entire month.
At the end of the first month, set time on a Saturday or Sunday morning after your last entry to flip back through the pages and see how you did. Note the date and time. Now, create the fifth list.
This is your opportunity to reflect on your physical, mental, and emotional state. Did some of the same issues come up? Did you resolve issues quickly? Where did you get stuck? Note what you learned, and how you will apply that new knowledge and experience.
You are of course welcome to add the fifth list to your journal at the end of each day or the end of each week. The frequency at which you reflect should depend on how much reflection you think you need to make improvements to your wellbeing.
Remember, the goal is to be able to pause, notice, choose, and act without force, so that it becomes natural for you to stay in balance.
You are free to take different approaches to these lists, including creating visual maps or just writing paragraphs instead of short lists. I personally feel the list model is the fastest, and it allows me to stay honest with myself. I know many could easily pause too long and let the psyche bring up up emotions or create melodrama. Don’t get carried away, and don’t let judgment come in.
As long as you’re experiencing progress and putting effort into pausing, noticing, choosing, and acting, then please do what helps you commit.
Here’s my commitment to you on this 60-day journey:
— For the first few weeks, I will send you a text every morning no later than 8 a.m. with a journal emoji and a question mark. I want you to send me a check mark emoji back to confirm you’ve completed your journal for the day. If I hear nothing, I assume you’re off track.
— I will spend 15-30 minutes with you on the phone at the end of the month to review your progress and discuss anything that’s come up for you. I’ll also share what’s come up for me in my practice, and provide resources that may help you. We set a date on the calendar, and I call you. If you don’t pick up, I assume you’re off track.
Here’s your commitment to me on this 60-day journey:
— You will use your journal daily.
— You will respond to accountability texts.
— You answer the phone for our scheduled monthly check-in calls.
— You actively step back and remove judgment from your practice. Any time judgment creeps in, you stop, recognize it, and let go.
Your list of commitments is longer than mine, and that’s intentional. I’m already practicing. You need to apply this process to yourself, and that takes effort. Believe me, I’d been wanting to journal like this for a long time. Now that I’m doing it, I can’t imagine giving it up.
It takes discipline to commit to being real with yourself without judgment, to opening your heart to experience everything, and to let things go. And it’s so worth it.
Are you ready for this?
I’m happy to walk you through this process and answer any questions you have on a 30-minute on-boarding call. Just fill out the form below. I’m ready if you’re ready.