It’s common to think of keeping a journal as a place where we can reflect on our experiences. Very often, it’s the place where we do a lot of sighing and moaning about hard times or difficult situations. We can freely complain about other people or rail against society and our fate. The journal is beloved for providing an outlet and a way for us to cope.
But besides reflecting on your past or present, a journal can be useful for creating your future.
Surely you’ve heard the advice to have a plan before you act. We’re taught to make specific plans when we take a trip or begin a project of any sort. It’s best if your planning includes writing out the steps one by one in as much detail as possible. Enumerate all the steps necessary to arrive at your destination or achieve your goal.
Here’s a really curious fact about planning, though. You have to know what you’re going for in order to make a plan. You have to be able to articulate your goal.
So why not use your journal as a planning tool, now and then? Spell out your dream, and identify the steps you can take to realize it.
First, spend as much time as you wish making a clear image of where you want to end up. 30 pounds lighter? Busy at work as a professional? In love? Write the comprehensive description of what that goal looks like. Push to eek out every detail of the picture.
Second, write about where you are now. Do not take so long with this. Let it be a brief post summarizing your current state of mind and body.
Third, list the steps that will be required in order to get from where you are now to your goal. This will likely take the most time. Do not feel pressured. Describe each step carefully, and make note of your emotional reactions to each one as you work through them.
This is all just writing (plus collaging, or doodling, or whatever) so far. You haven’t actually done anything else. But by putting your goal out there so clearly, you automatically bring it far closer to you. If you persevere, suddenly you’ll realize you are already on the road to fulfillment. You’re taking the small steps that are the start of your journey.
Now here’s the real reason I’m writing this post: I would love to interest you in journaling your image of paradise.
Whatever other goals you may have, maybe you should spend at least some time on your ultimate goal. What constitutes your idea of perfection? Consider the question on various levels: what would be perfect for you when it comes to:
- Your job
- Your family
- Your lover
- Your vacation
- Your highest achievement
And what about paradise itself? I mean the final paradise? What’s your idea of heaven? If you wish to go there, doesn’t it make sense to make a plan, just as you’ve always been taught?
What does paradise look and feel like? Your journal knows!
Mari L. McCarthy, journaling therapy specialist and author, owns Create Write Now, a website dedicated to all things journaling. The site includes hundreds of journaling prompts, personal journaling stories, interviews, a blog, and many other resources. Mari publishes many ebooks and e-workbooks to help journalers accomplish amazing things. She also conducts online Challenges, and you won’t want to miss her upcoming Start Journaling and Change Your Life in 7 Days Challenge, June 4-10.