Guest Written by: Mandy R. | Owner and Creative of Manda Bands
The moment I realized I was journaling in three journals daily was the moment I realized I needed to downsize. I had a journal in which I’d write a few things I was grateful for each day, a journal documenting my devotional reading and a journal of personal affirmations. It wasn’t something I was looking forward to anymore; it became a chore, and I don’t know about you, but chores aren’t part of my self-care routine.
I’d seen on Instagram that Rachel Hollis (the “Girl, Wash Your Face” Rachel Hollis) was selling a new journal that focused on dreams and goals along with gratitude. I really liked the idea, but did not want to add on a fourth journaling item each day when I was already begrudgingly doing three. So I sat on my bed with my journals sprawled out in front of me and a fresh, clean notebook. I was going to downsize, stop stressing myself out and find a journaling style that I would (a) enjoy and (b) grow from.
My “Countdown Journal” was born out of my need for simplicity, order and motivation. I posted the idea on Instagram recently and it got a lot of positive feedback. I honestly didn’t think it was something that would make sense to anyone else but me, but Melania wanted me to share this prompt with the Exploit No More audience who may be struggling with journaling but don’t know where to start.
The Countdown Journal has five steps/tasks, with a possible sixth (if you wish). I’ll give you the outline and will go a little more in depth into each step/task.
The first step was taken directly from Rachel Hollis’ “Start Today Journal.” Write five dreams as if they’ve already come true for you. These are the “big, I think I’m going to throw up” dreams. Perhaps they are dreams you’ve never verbalized to anyone, including yourself. These will be the same each day.
The second step is also from Rachel’s journal but is something that I had been doing throughout 2018 already. Write four things that you are grateful for each day. For me, this helped put things in perspective. It didn’t matter if I wrote about the “little things” or the “big things” in life…I never once have had difficulty thinking of things I am thankful for and that’s helped me realize how very lucky I am.
The third step is one that I’ve taken on from my fitness coach. Write three positive affirmations. These can be “I statements” or things that you need to remind yourself. You don’t need to necessarily believe them, because the idea of these is that if you keep telling yourself these items you will begin to believe them. You can write the same ones each day or you can switch it up based on what you’re needing most.
The fourth step is also based on the “Start Today Journal.” Write two goals that you are hoping to achieve in the near future. These should be measurable and attainable short-term goals that may or may not help you get to the dreams that you’ve listed in the first step. You’ll write each of these down until you’ve completed them and then you’ll replace it with a new one. Don’t start with “I hope to…” or “I’ll try…” – be more positive! You can and you will! You don’t have to take on the world with these goals.
The fifth step is one that I added to hold myself accountable. Write one action item that you’ve completed to help you reach one of your short-term goals. I can write everything that I want to accomplish until I’m blue in the face. But without action, those goals you’ve just written are nothing but words. You don’t have to knock it out of the park every day, but try to be mindful of steps you’ve taken to reach your goals. Any progress is better than none.
The last step is completely optional, but it’s helped me remember things I’ve read or listened to that have made an impact on me. Write a quote or something that resonated with you in something you’ve read or listened to today. It can be something you’ve highlighted in the book you’re reading. It can be the bible verse you focused on in your daily devotional. It can be a quote you can’t get out of your head from your favorite podcast. It’s another small piece of inspiration that can help you when you most need it.
I’ve been doing this style of journaling for a month now and it’s really helped me think more positively and continue to take action towards my goals instead of sitting back. It’s also helped me think of how I want my life to be while remembering what I do have. I hope that this is something that you implement and love in 2019. If you have any questions or would like to chat, find me on Instagram @MamaMandabear.
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