Reach Your Goals through Journaling
In December 2020, I shifted my journaling from the evening to the morning. I had just put up my Christmas tree and I got up a little early each morning so I could journal by the twinkly lights.
I spent three weeks on an intense reflection and goalsetting process, coming up with some major goals that I knew would help me obtain major growth.
I wanted to both honor the process and keep these goals front and center, so I instituted accountability journaling.
Each Sunday, I sit down with my journal and review each of my goals. I record every bit of progress that I’ve made toward them, no matter how small.
I’m a high achiever by nature and I’m not usually happy until I’ve surpassed the goals I set. And by the time I have, I’m knee-deep into the next pursuit and I don’t make time to celebrate my accomplishments.
Accountability journaling allows me to slow down long enough to acknowledge and celebrate every small win along my journey, ones that I’d otherwise overlook or explain away as “expected behavior” or “no big deal”.
And those small wins compound into huge gains before we know it!
If there’s a week where I haven’t made progress, I use my journaling to help identify where I’m stuck and to select an action I can take to get in motion.
Here’s my process with a real-life example:
State my goal
Reflect on my progress and what helped me be successful
Reflect on what didn’t work well and make a plan to do better this week
Celebrate my progress
Goal: Get at least 7 hours of (in-bed) sleep a night.
This week there were five nights I got at least 7 hours of sleep, and two nights where I was lucky to get 6 hours. The nights I got enough sleep, I got ready for bed early in the evening so at bedtime I was ready to go right to sleep.
The two nights I didn’t get enough sleep, I stayed up late watching TV and I didn’t get ready for bed first so I had to do that before I crawled into bed. This week I’ll make sure I’m logged off all devices by 9 pm and make sure I wash up for bed before starting my evening activities.
I’m celebrating by sharing this win with my husband. And reminding myself when I reach three weeks’ success with this goal, I will buy myself some new pajamas.
I’ve used this process for goals of all kinds - health, career, finance, relationships, learning, and more.
It’s not fancy, but it’s extremely rewarding to be accountable to myself, to watch my wins add up on the page, and to have a plan so I can be successful moving forward.
How can you use a practice like this to stay motivated and accountable to your goals?
Weekly Journal Prompts:
Use these prompts as written or as inspiration to uncover what you need in your life this week.
Describe your goals in detail:
What are they?
Why are they important to you?
What is your plan for reaching those goals?
How will you know you’re successful?
What benchmarks will you celebrate?
How will you celebrate?
Who will you celebrate with?
What progress did you make toward your goals this week?
What specific action items did you accomplish?
How did it feel to see that progress?
How has seeing this progress made you want to work harder to take the next step?
Where did you get stuck this week?
What step can you take this week to keep moving toward your goal?
Who can help you be accountable for taking this step?
One Journaling Idea I Love:
Use a timer. We often think we need to set aside large blocks of time for reflection, and while we can certainly do that sometimes, most of us find this isn’t always possible. But we can do a lot in a small amount of time. When you sit down to journal, set a timer - even 5 minutes is enough time to see big results if you focus.
When is using a timer especially helpful?
When you’re not sure you have anything to write about - set a timer for 5 minutes. When the timer’s up, you can be done! (Though you may discover you have something to say after all!)
When you’re not sure you have time to write - again, set a timer for a few minutes. A few minutes counts.
When you’re writing about something difficult, depressing, or sad. Set a timer to limit how much time you spend writing about it. When the timer is up, switch to a more positive topic to lift your mood.
Photo by Ralph Hutter on Unsplash
Where You Can Find Me This Week:
I share journal related content on LinkedIn every day by 8 am Eastern. Visit me there for stories, journaling ideas, and more!
I have a website! Visit me at GoodThingsComeToThoseWhoJournal.com
I’m always reachable by email.
My teenagers are doing their best to avoid me on TikTok…
Need more journal prompts at your fingertips? I have a collection of more than 375 that I’ve curated that can be yours. Find them here.
Interested in Working with Me?
Need help designing a journaling routine that works for you? Looking for ways to freshen up your practice? Have questions about journaling and the role it can play for you? Want to bring a journaling workshop into your workplace? Please reach out! I love helping people just like you start journaling and start journaling better!