Writing is a powerful practice. It has various effects including discovering ideas, defining goals, and solidifying steps. The act of writing means you have to organize your thoughts and this is the first key step in accomplishing any goal or dream.
A study done at Dominican University illustrated the difference between students who wrote down their goals and those who did not. Guess which group was more likely to reach their goals? You guessed it – the group who wrote them down.
Maintaining a continuous journaling practice can help you tackle many different challenges in your life. So, how can you get started? Here are some tips and exercises:
1. Write a list of your goals
If you’ve ever made a New Year’s Resolutions list, then you can do this.
- Think of things you want to accomplish. You may want to separate them into short-term and long-term goals. For example, a short-term goal could be to sign up for French classes while a long-term goal could be to move to Paris for a year.
- As you develop your list, you can add steps you need to take to accomplish each of these goals. You can include actions you need to take, skills you need to learn, financial costs and anything else that’s relevant.
- After doing that, determine the first step you would need to take towards achieving those goals. I always ask myself, “What is the next right thing to do?” This allows me not to get overwhelmed with the big goal by breaking it down into manageable steps.
- Check off these steps once you’ve done them and add the next steps. Keep on going. One day you’ll be able to check off an entire goal and eventually, an entire list.
2. Write letters to yourself
Richard Branson, the billionaire and founder of Virgin Records adopted a practice of writing letters to himself at different stages of life. He published his letters to serve as inspiration to others but the practice itself was a way for him to measure his achievements, acknowledge the obstacles he overcame and envision future successes. Here’s the practice:
- Write a letter to yourself at 10, 25, 50 and 65-years old
As you write the letters to your younger self, you may remember strengths and accomplishments you had forgotten, circumstances you had to overcome, things you regret not doing. As you write to your future self, you may discover dreams you didn’t know you were harboring and issues you didn’t know you still had to resolve. This can be a very powerful exercise.
3. Write morning pages
Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, suggests a daily practice of writing in longhand first thing in the morning. She doesn’t give instructions on what to write, merely insists that it’s done first thing in the morning and that you complete three pages, every day. The results of these pages may surprise you. You may find yourself expressing thoughts, opinions, judgments, longings and interests you didn’t know you had. You may find yourself making plans or rearranging your life. There are many ways this could affect your life without necessarily having that as a goal. Try it and see what happens.
Try these and other journaling exercises to begin manifesting change in your life. For a list of some interesting journaling prompts, check out this site.
You don’t have to implement all of these exercises right away. Just pick one and try it for 30 days. And see how it improves your life. That’s it.
Question: Tell me in the comments which writing exercise you will try and I will check in with you throughout the month. You can leave a comment by clicking here.