Keeping a Journal Can Change Your Life

Keeping a Journal Can Change Your Life

By Paul Tracy

Photo credit: David Robert Wright / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Women are familiar with journaling. When they can hold a pencil, they receive their first Minnie Mouse or Cinderella diary with the cheesy locking clasp. They grow to recording their deepest teenage secrets in their diary. Only to have them discovered by their snooping younger brother. There seems to be a stigma associated with journaling for men. It's seen as a feminine pursuit. It wasn't always this way. In fact, very influential male figures were chronic journal writers. People like Benjamin Franklin and Winston Churchill recorded thoughts and events throughout their lives.

What is a diary as a rule? A document useful to the person who keeps it. Dull to the contemporary who reads it and invaluable to the student, centuries afterwards, who treasures it. - Walter Scott

Keeping a journal allows you to develop your creativity and gives you a place for reflection, verbalization and visualization. What's more important are the life propelling habits it helps develop. The core benefits of coaching are that it helps people see their choices, helps them make decisions and sets a level of accountability. A journal provides a place for some of that work to occur. Sometimes just writing down a thought, getting it "on paper," somehow makes it more real. Sharing that with someone else creates a sense of accountability similar to a contract. You feel bound to meet the commitment you made to yourself.

What's funny is that expressing the value of this type of writing isn't the hard part. For some reason, people get hung up on not knowing how to "do it right." Here's a secret, there is no right way! There are two basic ways to keep a journal; electronically and on paper. Use whatever method works best for you, or both. What's important is that you use your journal consistently and honestly.

Coaching Tip: Keeping a journal provides you the reflective surface needed to promote lasting change. There isn't any "right way" to journal as long as it is done regularly and with an incredible level of honesty. To get you started, pick up your (new) journal and answer the following question:

What's the one change I could make right now that would have the most significant and positive impact on my life?

Look back at your answer. I think your journal just started the process of changing your life!

About the Author

Paul Tracy

Paul Tracy Motoring Forward Coaching

Paul is a Coach Training Alliance Certified Coach (CTACC) and currently serves as VP of Membership for the ICF Phoenix chapter. He started Motoring Forward Coaching to work with individuals who want to take control of their life and drive it further and faster than they ever imagined possible.