February 5, 2017

Motivational Journaling 101

Yael Morowati

There are many reasons why some of the most successful people journal on a daily basis. Scientists have found that writing helps you achieve your goals, strengthens your self-discipline, and increases your self-confidence. Writing about positive experiences allows the brain to re-live them, which in turn releases endorphins and dopamine, boosting your self-esteem and overall mood. Norman Vincent Peale wrote, “Change your thoughts and you change your world.” Recalibrating your mental engine is the initial step in generating positive outcomes.

If this is a habit which you intend to take on, start three times a week and build it up. Patience and consistency are crucial in forming new habits, so set time aside to write your heart out. Habits formed in one area of life have a tendency to spread. Personally, I journal right before bed, because it influences my dreams.

Writing goals and affirmations signals this is important to your brain. Your reticular activating system (RAS) flags relevant opportunities and tools to achieve your goals. More detailed goals provide a psychological map, and in turn increases the likelihood of achieving positive outcomes.

I often write down my dreams, ambitions, and action plans. I also collect inspirational quotes which help focus me throughout the day. Here are just a handful I’ve collected over the years.

On Individuality

As long as you’re still breathing, it’s never too late to reinvent yourself and to try something new. Sometimes, evaluating what’s right in front of you — your unique skill set — is the first step. Take a few minutes to jot down your contributions to the world, even if they seem mundane.

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” —George Eliot

“Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.” —Oscar Wilde

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” —e. e. cummings

On Happiness

If you’ve ever had a conversation with someone in their 70’s, they will certainly reiterate this point. Do what makes you happy, and stay true to yourself. They hardly mention that amassing great wealth led to happiness, even though it does provide more choices. They mention great loves, traveling, taking chances and most importantly doing what made them happy, even sometimes at the cost of financial security.

“Do what you love and the money will follow.” — Marsha Sinetar

“If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy, and inspires your hopes.” —Andrew Carnegie

“If you can do what you do best and be happy, you’re further along in life than most people.” —Leonardo DiCaprio

On Reputation and Legacy

This one hits home for me. The American millennial mindset is bent towards instant gratification. Sometimes, we forget that the seeds we plant today will one day sprout. Maybe, it won’t happen when we want it to, but it’s extremely important to stay focused on the long-term goal and to restrain yourself from impulsive decision making.

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” —Warren Buffett

“It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” —J. K Rowling

“Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” —Warren Buffett

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” —Alan Kay

On Curiosity and Learning

No journal of quotes can be complete without Einstein, especially with regard to curiosity and universal human truths. I’ve never met a millionaire who didn’t have the curiosity of a child. If you want to stay young, happy, and progress in life, don’t forget to smell the roses and definitely don’t leave behind your inner child.

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.” —Albert Einstein

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” —Nelson Mandela

“The best way of learning about anything is by doing.” —Richard Branson

On Progress

You don’t have to be a rich man to be a gentleman. The same holds true for actions. A few years ago, I took a self-development course in NYC. The instructor said, “Happiness is wanting what you already have.” I automatically wanted to dispute this, but then the truth revealed itself. You have already amassed personal skills, experiences, and relationships. There is no better time to get working and put your dreams into action than today, and no matter how little resources you perceive yourself having, one or two is more than nothing at all.

“It does not matter how slowly you go, so long as you do not stop.” —Confucius

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” —Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.” — Napoleon Hill

“Do what you can, where you are, with what you have.” —Teddy Roosevelt

“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.” —Michael Jordan

On Fear

The mind is a fascinating yet often deceptive muscle. All of us are guilty of staying in the comfort zone, even to our detriment, because we simply can’t predict an outcome or something beyond our control. We limit ourselves, naturally, since the need to survive is the one thing all species have in common. That is to say, we keep ourselves small because the security of knowing what is (irrespective of unhappiness or unrest) equates to safe and “good enough”.

“Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.” —George Addair

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” —Wayne Gretzky

“Don’t let the fear of striking out hold you back.” —Babe Ruth

“It often requires more courage to dare to do right than to fear to do wrong.” —Abraham Lincoln

“If something is important enough, even if the odds are against you, you should still do it.” —Elon Musk

On Purpose

Each of us has an innate, unique skill set that no one else can replicate. There may be two individuals with nearly the same background interviewing for the same role, but I guarantee that the one with his own magical touch or personality will land the job. More importantly, and I can’t emphasize this enough, always stay true to yourself.

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” —Mark Twain

“Don’t count the days, make the days count.” —Muhammad Ali

“I believe every human has a finite number of heartbeats. I don’t intend to waste any of mine.” —Neil Armstrong

On Determination

All great men speak about the importance of failure. In fact, much of the time, they emphasize the need to fall down dozens of times to finally reach their destination. Each time you get a strike, you’re one step closer to knocking it out of the park. The same holds true for closing big deals. Remember, every no you hear is one step closer to a yes.

“There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountaintop of our desires.” —Nelson Mandela

“Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.” — Babe Ruth

“If you are going through hell, keep going.” —Winston Churchill

“If you’re not stubborn, you’ll give up on experiments too soon. And if you’re not flexible, you’ll pound your head against the wall and you won’t see a different solution to a problem you’re trying to solve.” —Jeff Bezos

“You must expect great things of yourself before you can do them.” —Michael Jordan

On Others

While personal achievements are wonderful, they are incomplete without the person next to you. Our communities, and the individuals we impact are part of the whole and no symphony is complete without them. After all, your gifts are meant to be used for the greater good and not merely for the self.

“As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.” —Audrey Hepburn

“We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.” —Ronald Reagan

“When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.” —Jimi Hendrix

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” —Maya Angelou Maya Angelou

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