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I find journaling very liberating, I journal about everything; my thoughts, my dreams, I use it to plan, write out my goals and use it to track them. I keep different journals for different subject matters and I feel compelled to share it with you today because journaling works. I’ll explain how it has worked for me by describing my different journals:

1. Video journals: this is very easy and in today’s world, it might be a good place to start. I use it mainly 3 to 4 times in a year but you can do more as long as it’s effective. So this is what I do- At the end of the year when I determine my top 5 goals for the next year, I take my phone and record a video of myself talking about them like they have already happened- so something like “it’s March 2014 and I have made such and such applications, received a better offer than I hoped for and I am feeling happy, empowered and optimistic because I have achieved my goal of earning X amount by X date”. These video journals are usually great for me because I usually record them in a quite, serene environment, usually early in the morning and I speak of my goals with conviction. I find that during the course of the year, when I am becoming discouraged and feeling like my goals seem further away than when I even set them, the videos empower me and remind me that one time I believed it was possible.

2. My vision board book: this I absolutely love. I am sure you can see that I am a visual person. With this, I tell the story of my tomorrow using photos I find, so for example, I saw a photo of the spa in the amazing One & Only Hotel in Cape Town, I cut it out of the magazine and have put it in my vision board book as the spa that’ll be in my future house. I do not have the house yet, don’t have a plan or drawings yet, but I can dream and make my dream specific and see the dream because I chose to journal like this.

My vision board notebook!
My vision board notebook!

3. My gratitude journal: I also keep a gratitude journal. This one is because I know that you usually get more of what you focus on and also because I have a tendency to look for what is wrong over what is right and beautiful. This journal forces me to re-train my brain. And because that training is absolutely necessary for me, I always use a really small note-book which I leave permanently in my handbag for this. I fill this one once a day with a simple Lord, I am thankful for… and then write a list. I try not to make this long so that I stay consistent. On days when I am feeling victorious and like I’ve achieved a lot, it’s pretty easy to fill, on down days I start with simple things like “thank you for life, for a book to write, that I can write, that I am not handicapped in that regard…” Before you know it I am feeling better and whatever it was that bothered me in the past gets put in proper perspective.

4. Other journals: I have other journals which I use for other facets of life- the green Smythson journal (below) is one of my true loves. I bought one that’s re-fillable so that I only have to buy the refill pads and not other leather bound books (I find that the prettier the book, the more drawn to it I am. So you find what works for you). I use that for life- marriage, work, kids… What do I want us all to look like? What kind of relationships will we have? If I want happiness, how do I make home the happy place. I write, then I act. One thing I never journal is when people hurt me, I just find it easier to forgive and not be reminded of it in vivid detail again later, in the past when I used to record hurts, I found that re-reading after I’d forgiven caused me to be offended again. So I don’t journal- “dear diary” style.

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I have journals for church and the lessons I learn from reading my Bible. By the way, like the Bereans in Acts 17, I never just rely on the word from the pulpit, I always go back to search the scriptures and learn the word for myself- it is your responsibility as a Christian. Other journals where I envision my businesses, decide where I want them to go, then break it down into steps I need to take to get there and further break those steps into things I must do daily to reach my goal. Journals where I chronicle lessons learned from books I’ve read and how they apply in my life…

Some titles on my bookshelf. I try to read a book every week, but only actually manage one every 10 days on average.
Some titles on my bookshelf. I try to read a book every week, but only actually manage one every 10 days on average.

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I love the ability to “hear yourself” that journaling gives you. Living in this big busy world, I often feel like I hear everyone’s thoughts but mine. Journaling helps me ask – Haj what do you think? . It also helps me track my progress and re-direct where necessary. It gives outlet to my creativity (you guessed it- in my little gratitude journal, I also jot down ideas for blog posts that come to me when I’m on the move).

You don’t need several journals, it’s my love for the notebooks and a semblance of order that makes me segregate according to topic, so you can start with one. Start writing the vision and making it plain as advised in Habakuk 2:2. And if that is not enough, statistics have shown that those who write down their goals regularly earn nine times as much over their life times as people who don’t. In a Harvard study on written goals, it was found that only 3% of a particular graduating class had clear written goals with a plan to accomplish them, 10 years down the line, a survey of the members of that class was taken and the 3% who had clear written goals earned more than the other 97% combined! Wowser! There is definitely power in writing your dreams, clarifying them, putting a plan in place to achieve them and regularly reviewing those plans- all opportunities that journaling give you.

Enough said! iJournal! Do you?

My dear friend Sophia blessed me with this lovely journal on Saturday night, just as I finished the draft of this post! What a lovely coincidence.
My dear friend Sophia blessed me with this lovely journal on Saturday night, just as I finished the draft of this post! What a lovely coincidence.

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