Why Journaling is Powerful
For centuries self-help experts have told us about the power of self-talk. People who sail through life accomplishing one thing after another talk to themselves in encouragement and positive affirmation, while those who let life happen to them talk to themselves in negative affirmation.
We all talk to ourselves—whether we realize it or not.
Many times it seems as though there are two people talking to each other inside our heads. “Chris, how could you be so stupid?” or “Chris, you did a great job on that presentation today!” or “Chris, you really should hug the kids.” and then, “Nah. They’re on the other side of the room, and I’m lying here comfortably on the couch.”
This self-talk is powerful beyond words. Self-talk has the potential to define us. Self-talk defines us to ourselves.
How do we take control of this self-talk?
Personally I have found that structured journaling is one of the best ways. What do I mean by structured journaling?
As I have written about before, I start the day by taking five minutes to write in a journal. In this journal I contemplate and write down my thoughts on three topics:
- Three things for which I am grateful
- Three things that would make my day great
- An affirmation for the day
At the end of the day I take another five minutes to write in the same journal. I contemplate and write down my thoughts on two topics:
- Three things that made my day great
- How I could have made my day just a bit better
The act of contemplation is really the act of conscious self-talk.
Sit back for a moment, and contemplate what you are grateful for today. Notice how you begin talking to yourself. “I’m grateful for this rainy morning. Although it’s wet, our grass is getting some much needed water.” That internal chatter is you talking to yourself. It’s self-talk!
Positive self-talk and negative self-talk are habits. When we form habits, we are forming paradigms—collections of habits—in the various areas of our lives (our family, our finances, our careers or businesses, our health, and so on). Self-talk is one of the most important aspects of our lives, because it affects the formation of other habits and paradigms. In this way, it controls much of what we do or don’t do and how we do it.
If you would like to change your self-talk to give yourself a more positive foundation, I highly recommend structured, focused journaling. Identify three or four questions you can contemplate each day that will force your mind to think positively. Commit to the process for a week, and see where you are after those seven days.
If we do not conquer self, we will be conquered by self.
Question: Do you journal? Have you found it useful?
On Sunday morning I will be sending a template to my private email list that has helped me start my day on the right foot. If you are interested I welcome you to check it out.
My first book, It's Time to Sell, is set to be released in early September. I am excited to share this one-year project with the world (although I must admit it is also a bit terrifying). I welcome you to visit my website and sign up for my newsletter to be among the early readers. Thanks.