7 Ways to Use a Journal to Keep Your Goals
We all have goals and use different methods to achieve them, but have you thought about using journaling to help you with your goals?
Most people equate journaling with writing about their day, recording ideas or impressions of the world. Which makes sense because that’s the way journals are usually used.
But not you, because you’ve found this post on the Making Time Blog! 😊 There are a ton of ways to journal, and I wrote a previous post on the wide variety of ways you can use journaling to enhance your life. But if you have a lot of things that you aspire to achieve and goals to help you achieve them, then you might consider making a success journal.
A success journal is specifically designed to help you to achieve your goals. It gives you a central location to write down your goals and keep track of your progress in reaching them, which is powerful.
Read on for 7 ways to use your success journal to help you keep your goals and 4 ways to track your progress. After all, knowing exactly where you stand with reaching your goals is a great way to manage your stress before your stress manages you.
What Do I Want?
Sometimes it can be difficult to figure out our exact goals so we can create a plan to achieve them. Writing can provide the clarity that’s needed. By writing about what we want, we better understand what we're setting out to accomplish. Think of these types of entries as the opportunity to put into words your deepest desires.
Expansion Of Ideas
Once you've gotten clear about your goal, you'll probably need to work out some of the details to see how feasible your idea is and to refine it as needed.
Create A Roadmap
Once you have determined that your goal is achievable, you can then use your journal to write out the specifics of what needs to be done. Try making bullet point lists of the next steps or designing a flow chart about the process.
Okay, now that you’ve figured out what you need to do to reach that goal, it’s time to figure out what to do when. Look at the lists you made and add numbers or put them in order of which step comes next.
At this stage, you might also find it helpful to write about how things are going with your goal, what’s working, what’s not so you can evaluate whether you might need to prioritize something different for the next step to keep moving forward.
Keep Your Energy Up
While you’re embarking on your journey on the way to goal achievement, sooner or later, you’ll have a moment where you become tired or discouraged. It happens to all of us. If you feel like your enthusiasm for your goals is falling, journaling about your feelings, and exploring why you feel this way can be enormously helpful. Even more important, writing about these feelings may also jumpstart your enthusiasm all over again.
When you take time each day to write about your goal journey, you're actually checking in with yourself to see what progress you’ve made and any challenges or barriers to achievement. Knowing you need to write something down about what you've done is sometimes just enough to push you to do even a little bit toward realizing your goals.
See What You’ve Accomplished!
Your success journal isn’t just for planning, it’s also a place to celebrate your accomplishments. There’s nothing like being able to look back in your journal and see what you were able to accomplish. You can use this record to give you the impetus to set your next goal!
Now that you know how to use your success journal, the next question is how do you know where you are in reaching your goals? Sometimes it can be hard to tell, especially if you're aiming to do something complicated that involves several steps and takes a great deal of time. And you don’t want your goal to die because you feel like you’re not getting anywhere.
A large part of using your success journal revolves around tracking the progress that you’ve made. Now of course, you can use a habit tracker to track each day that you do something related to your goal, but there are other ways to track it as well.
Here are 4 techniques that you can use when journaling to track your progress:
Set Daily Goals
What are the top three things that you want to accomplish today? Write them down in your success journal to help keep them in the forefront of your mind. At the end of the day, use your success journal to report on your progress toward those goals and to process any feelings or thoughts you might have regarding those goals.
Track (And Celebrate) 🥳 Your Milestones
At some point in your goal making process, you probably set up certain milestones. In using your journal, you’ll easily see which milestones you've already reached and how far you are from the next big milestone. Don’t forget to celebrate because these signposts to success let you know where you are in your journey.
Now you might be wondering, “why set micro goals when I’ve got big goals waiting?”
Well maybe your big goal is overwhelming or you feel like you need extra encouragement or you’re looking to reap a productivity boost. That’s where micro-goals come in.
If you’re overwhelmed, break that big goal down into smaller steps. For example, “Learn another language” is a really broad, big goal. Instead break it down into smaller parts like: learn a word each day in your target language or listen to weekly podcasts in your target language.
Need a productivity boost to provide yourself some encouragement? Then use micro-goals to help yourself make quicker progress between your milestones. These quick goals give you something you can strive for today and feel wonderful once you reach them. Your success journal should be full of these type of goals.
See Your Consistency (Or Lack Thereof)
Your success journal is the perfect place to see how consistent you have (or have not) been in working on your goals. Chart your progress and see where you might be falling back a little before you get too far behind. Remember, you want to make working toward your goals a daily habit. Your journal is the perfect accountability tool to make sure you do.
So, there you have it, how to use journaling to help you achieve your goals. A success journal doesn’t have to involve long, detailed posts unless you want it to. A simple bullet point list every day will suffice to keep you on track. Because it’s all about Making Time.
Let’s talk, how do you intend to use a success journal to help you reach your goals? 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