How do you keep track of the forward movement that you make in life?
Sure you can use a habit tracker – they’re very effective in helping you have an easy at a glance visual to see where you started with a particular process and how far you’ve come. Or you could also mark off each day that you work towards developing your new habit on a calendar. However, one of the best ways of keeping track of your progress towards a goal is by journaling.
Some journals (such as the type listed below) are designed for practical applications and therefore can be used to track your progress or growth in areas such as:
Prepping for a marathon
Exercise (such as strength training)
Learning new skills (hobbies, language, etc.)
You can easily create a journal that will allow you to track your progress. At a glance you’ll be able to see your success or failure right away. And it’ll help motivate you to keep reaching for your dreams. Especially as you see the proof in the pudding that things are working and you should just keep doing what you’re doing. It's another way for you to manage your stress before your stress manages you.
One way of making sure that you continue to journal and stay motivated is by making sure that you keep your journal front and center while you go for your goal. Here are three ways to do this:
Post Your Journal Prominently
Right next to your bed or any other space that you’re in often so that you can see your journal every day.
Share On Social Media
If you’re the sociable type and the journey that you’re tracking is something that you want to share, consider sharing it on social media with your people. It can be a weight loss journey, your training to run a 5k or skill development for your new hobby like hand embroidering or scrapbooking. There are apps available that make it fun and easy to share your journey with your tribe.
Keep Things Portable
Smaller is sometimes better. Small, portable journals are sometimes easier to keep track of and to write in daily. Your smartphone, a notebook in your purse or briefcase or in your car are great ways to always have your journal handy and allow you to write entries whenever and wherever inspiration strikes.
Another way to keep up your motivation when journaling is through nontraditional journaling. Rather than just writing things down, try one of the following:
Take a photo each week
Do a daily video journal
Capture a before pic
Scrapbook or embroider one memento for each day
Create a graph to fill in over time
Start a spreadsheet
Create a collage
Finally, once you’ve gotten a handle on your journaling process, it’s important that you make time to look back through your journals. After all, your blood, sweat and tears has been poured out and you’ve wrestled with demons, dreamt big dreams, and tracked various journeys. You now have a record of your triumphs and your tribulations sitting on a shelf.
Well, the act of creating your journals was one form of self-care. The act of reviewing them is another. Because creativity is self-care.
Your journals are a record of your life at a particular moment in time. Reviewing and reliving the events of your journal can give you a perspective that you might not have had when you first wrote your entry. You can see yourself more objectively because you aren’t in that space any longer.
You can look at decisions that you’ve made and see if you need to course correct or if you’re on the right path. You can also gain insight into how you process things, how you manage stress, celebrate success or set and achieve goals.
Reviewing your journals can help you forgive others or recall with gratitude how far you have come. You can literally see your resilience and the way that things played out. This can be healing and encourage you that all things do work out for your best and highest good.
Reviewing your journals can also help spark ideas old and new. Perhaps you forgot about that idea you wrote in your journal a few years ago. Seeing it again could be the catalyst to taking action now. Or you can use your more recent journal entries to work out a current situation.
When you review your journals, give yourself grace. Be gentle to the person you were on the way to becoming who you are. You can do it, because it’s all about Making Time.
Let’s talk, what’s your favorite way to journal? Let me know in the comments section.
Cassandra Martin-Himmons is a facilitator, stress management coach and author of “Yes I’m Grateful,” a gratitude journal. She believes in empowering her clients to help them manage their stress and increase self-care. In her spare time, she enjoys papercrafting, volunteering and travel. Connect with her on Instagram or LinkedIn