Daily journaling a great for self-reflecting and clearing your mind. For business owners, this simple habit can ease the everyday stress of demanding tasks and responsibilities, and help you gain some much-needed clarity on your entrepreneurial journey.
However, before picking up your pen or opening your laptop to write, consider what you want to focus on to guide your experience. For help finding inspiration, we asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council the following:
What is one thing you should remember to do or focus on when journaling or doing a daily reflection?
Here is what they advise:
1. Things You’re Grateful For
When journaling, always remember to include gratitude. Venting and complaining about your stressful day in a journal is helpful, but you should also write down something you’re grateful for each day. It could be something as small as not having to wait in line at the coffee shop. Expressing your gratitude will boost your mood and help you learn to appreciate all of the good in your life.
2. Big and Small Successes
Remember when journaling to keep a log of your successes—big and small, no matter how important or unimportant they seem. Sometimes we get wrapped up in the things we need to do or should be doing that we forget about the small successes we accomplish every day. So, start writing down all of your wins. Once you start to see them adding up on paper, it will inspire and motivate you.
3. Areas of Opportunity
It’s important to recognize both your strengths and weaknesses. When you’re self reflecting, think of an area of opportunity where you can improve and take small daily actions to adjust your behavior for the better. For example, I had an issue with overworking and it was tearing me down. My daily journal entries often mirrored my drive and my journal entries helped me balance my time.
4. Negative Visualization
Negative visualization is contemplating what would happen if your plans don’t work out. For example, what would happen if you fail to win an important contract? It sounds pessimistic, but it can help you to keep your head when events don’t go your way, which is inevitable at some point. Entrepreneurs who practice negative visualization are more resilient to negative events beyond their control.
5. Your Big-Picture Goals
Each daily entry is a tree in the forest of life. Limit your concentration on one particular day’s entry or tree; instead, focus on the big picture or forest. There will always be fluctuations on a day-to-day basis but staying focused on the long-term goal will help keep you on track and confident. Otherwise, you may find yourself discouraged as you face obstacles along the journey.
6. Read Past Entries
Daily reflection is important—but so is monthly and quarterly reflection. Check back on your older entries every once in a while to note how far you’ve come and revisit your past from a fresh perspective.
7. Things That Got in Your Way
I always leave work and wonder if I hit my daily goal and if not. I think about why and what got in the way to stop me. Most of the time I can pinpoint what happened and why, and fix it from there. Reflecting on what happens during the day tends to be easier when the day is actually done as opposed to when you are in the heat of the moment. I’m always confident I’ll find the answer after the fact.
8. Your Personal Development
Business reflection is important, but I find I get better results when I focus on my personal development. I like to track how I feel each day and what I did to make myself better personally, whether that was taking time for yoga, fitness or well-being. These areas are easily neglected but impact business progress the most. If family time is important, reflect on how much time is spent there.
9. The Little Things You Take for Granted
It’s easy to focus on what’s next, or what shortcomings we see in front of us. Gratitude is an incredibly important component of success and mindfulness. Pause each day to be thankful for the good things in your life that you may take for granted: food, shelter, health, etc. Even when it seems like the walls are caving in around you, there is much to be thankful for if you focus your perspective.
10. Your ‘Why’
The question “Why?” is perhaps the most important question you can ever ask. When doing your reflection, you need to always ask yourself this question of your daily findings or thoughts, because it will help you better clarify the important theme or message you can derive from it that can ultimately be applied in the future. This is how you truly learn.
11. Your Current Inner Feelings
This shouldn’t be just another task on your to-do list. The whole point of journaling and daily reflection is to stop running and be mindful about yourself and your inner feelings. Be present here and now; be honest with yourself. Make sure that you really feel everything you write. And remember that it’s all for you and about you—nobody else will read it.
These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.