Journaling is like cilantro.
People either love to journal or they loath it. If you’ve been following our stories, (Waking With Intention, Rock Your Best You and Is it Wine O’Clock Yet?, to name a few), you know I’m a big believer in daily habits and routines and that one of those daily practices is journaling. It took practice; I had to acquire a taste for it. But eventually, I came to crave it. Then again I’m also one of those people who loves cilantro. Let’s explore how a daily journaling practice can shift your mindset.
Several months ago, I got into a positive groove with my gratitude practice. Shortly thereafter, I added in the practice of writing down 10 affirmations every day as if I’d already achieved them. This practice is modified from Rachel Hollis’ Start Today Journal. Rachel H. uses “goals”, I prefer “affirmations”; it’s semantics, really, but here’s my reasoning…
When I started my daily journal practice, I was struggling to set goals.
I felt I had a lot of basic, fundamental things to improve upon before I could wrap my head around big, lofty goals. So, I scaled it back to write affirmations and started with the little things I could believe.
I brain-dumped a list of things I was struggling with. It looked something like this:
- It bothers me that our bed doesn’t get made because it makes our room look like a constant mess.
- I stay up too late watching TV (and snacking) and always feel tired in the morning
- I’m gluten intolerant and have many other food sensitivities so sometimes I feel entitled to eat “fun” things like chips because I’m otherwise so limited. This choice often results in me feeling miserable – physically and emotionally.
- I’m often short with my kids
- I sometimes go down the social-media rabbit hole which can be a huge waste of time
- I operate in a constant state of chaos
- I feel guilty for not being a better wife and mother
- I have mood swings
- I put on a good show in public but in reality, I can never seem to pull it together
Next, I journal to shift my mindset by writing my list of struggles as positive affirmations:
- I make my bed every day.
- I go to bed at the same time every night and get 7-8 hours of sleep.
- I make healthy choices for my body.
- I am patient with my kids.
- I am mindful and present in all that I do.
- I do the hard things.
- I am a great wife.
- I am a great mom.
- I have a positive attitude.
- I show self-control in moments of weakness.
Writing these types of statements as if I’ve already accomplished them helps me reboot my mindset. Instead of wallowing under the weight of the first list, I simply re-wrote each statement as a solution rather than a problem. When I did that, I started to think I could actually change all of those things.
In the months since I started this practice, I learned from author and coach, Kamin Samuel that affirmations are a start, but connecting them to a feeling is crucial because the emotional connection between the affirmation and a feeling converts it to a belief rather than just something you aspire to accomplish. Furthermore, with practice, peoples’ beliefs have the power to influence their actions. (Read that last sentence one more time – it’s powerful.)
Here’s an example of adding feelings to a few items from the above list:
- I make my bed every day. I FEEL ACCOMPLISHED FIRST THING IN THE MORNING.
- I go to bed at the same time every night to get 7-8 hours of sleep. I FEEL RESTED & WAKE-UP PREPARED TO TACKLE MY DAY!
- I make healthy choices for my body. I FEEL STRONG & WELL!
It takes less than ten minutes.
In no time, I come up with and write down my ‘affirmations+feelings=beliefs’. Some people repeat the same affirmations every day but I change mine up daily because I cater to what I need in the moment. Since every day looks different in my world, I prepare myself for one day at a time and only bite off what I can chew.
Over time, this practice has indeed helped me convert my fears and “trouble areas” into not only positive beliefs but positive actions. Through journaling, I am able to work through my limiting beliefs to shift my mindset and ultimately change my behavior.
Get off the hamster wheel and out of your head!
You don’t have to live within the confines of your limiting beliefs. They are only limiting your potential! Journaling might take time to get used to but with daily practice, that mindset shift will happen and it will become a habit that prepares you for more challenging seasons (like the next pandemic or laundry day).
All sarcasm aside, If you are living in fear or are filled with anxiety about the current state of the world and this COVID-19 virus, grab a pen and write; put your fears on paper. Then, rewrite them in a way that declares your intentions and affirms that you have already conquered them. Finally, associate them with a feeling that gives you comfort and builds you up. Believe that new statement and in time it will become your new reality!
Will you consider journaling to shift your mindset? Do you state your daily intentions as affirmations? Would you be willing to try it? What do you have to lose besides a mind full of fears and limiting beliefs? Share your struggles and victories in the comments below.