The power of daily journalling and why we all need to do it
Michelle Obama swears by it, some of the world’s top business people do it every morning, and teenagers have always done it. It has been used by therapists and counsellors as part of treatment programmes for years, and now an increasing number of people are using it to improve their lives.
Daily journalling is really having a renaissance.
Author, journalist and personal development practitioner Sarah Adams from Oxfordshire, UK, wants us all to embrace writing on paper rather than using a screen and keyboard. She claims that if we all turn off the tech for just a few minutes a day and grab a notebook and pen-big changes are really within our grasp.
In her new book The Life Edit, Sarah shares her own personal experiences of working in hard to reach communities and encouraging groups of volunteers to write and the profound impact it had on their lives, as well as using daily writing and journaling herself to makes plans for the rest of her life.
She said: “I have been a journalist for 30 years so writing has been a massive part of my life, but I have always used it as a way to deal with whatever was going on in my own life too, and so I know it can be a very powerful tool for change. For about ten years I had an amazing job working for a community media project in Oxford. We worked with groups of volunteers across Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, Berkshire and London, and trained them to be able to run their own community newspapers. I realised that as I was teaching them how to write for their newspapers there were some surprising extra outcomes. The volunteers started to feel better, more confident and more positive about their lives.”
“It was clear that by writing regularly, people were finding confidence, improving their communication skills and starting to become really clear about how they wanted their lives to be. It was as if the fog was starting to clear and they felt positive about their future. Without exception I was working in some of the poorest areas and people were leading very disadvantaged lives, but I saw improvements in self-esteem and many of the people I worked with have since gone back into education, work and training. Many have embarked on career changes and some have ended toxic relationships.”
The book is based on Sarah’s eight step LIFE EDIT coaching programme that uses daily journalling and writing at its core to help people create transformational changes and live a life of positivity and clarity.
She added: “I trained as a Personal Development Practitioner to learn more about how journalling and writing could be used to help more people. I started to run personal development workshops and work with one to one clients using specific writing exercises combined with tried and trusted personal development coaching techniques. Again, the results were brilliant and I found that mid-life women specifically benefitted from adopting a regular writing habit.”
“Many of the people who have tried this programme now have new, exciting and fulfilled lives. They have stopped feeling invisible and are embracing their mid-life wisdom and experience rather than thinking they have nothing to contribute. Without exception, a daily journalling practice has had a positive impact that has changed lives, giving people clarity, confidence and a chance to make exciting changes.”
“Having clarity about who we are is so important as we approach our mid-life because it is easy to be consumed with social media scrolling and comparisonitis and forget how valuable we really are. The pressure is on because we worry about getting older and start to evaluate our lives, where we are and worry if this is ‘it’. By embracing a simple daily journalling routine we can all quieten the internal chatter, refocus and reframe our lives and start to really think about what’s important to us and what we want to do next. It really is time to turn off the white noise, put away our devices for a few minutes a day and breathe. The Life Edit will help you do this.”
Research has shown that using a pen and a notebook for personal development to clear clutter, focus and make plans engages different parts of our brain and has far more impact than mindlessly bashing away on a keyboard or screen. When we put pen to paper we have a different cognitive connection to what we are doing, and if we write down our goals and plans for the future we are far more likely to achieve them than if we just talk about them or write them using a keyboard and screen.
Sarah added: “The Life Edit is an eight step process that is useful for anyone who wants to de-clutter, clear their lives and let go of anything that is holding them back, while taking time to appreciate all the good things they already have in their lives.“
The book prompts us to be inspired by ideas for change, find ways of dealing with fear while staying focussed and have the unshakable confidence to edit our lives, evaluate where we are and feel empowered to define and decide on our goals for the future.
Sarah added: “There has been a real trend for us to have to be seen to be smashing our goals, pushing ourselves and be always achieving, busy, hectic and full on, and all I see are more and more midlife women confused, burnt out and exhausted by trying so hard to live up to ridiculous expectations! The Life Edit is a bullet proof way to navigate your way through life’s challenges in a measured, clear way so that you live your life on your terms and nobody else’s.”
The Life Edit is published by Rethink Press and will be available in bookshops. It is available on Amazon now.