T.J. Masters
Passionately Writing. Writing Passion.


The New You: Diary or Journal to Success

On your journey to that new you, there needs to be a timeline. That timeline needs to measure your journey in two distinct ways: firstly as a route map with milestones to pass plus events to allow for and to plan for, and secondly there as a record of where you have come from and all those success points along the way. Large or small, these markers are so important as nourishment for your motivation.

There are many different ways of meeting this need and everyone has their preferred options. You may like using Things To Do lists or weekly planners; diaries, whether paper or electronic; or wall planners, journals, log books or day books. Whilst you should certainly use whichever works best for you, I would recommend adopting more than one in order to help to reinforce your efforts and keep you focussed.

At the core of your organising will be either a diary or journal, or both. So what’s the difference, I hear you ask? The two words are synonymous but in practical terms they are very different. A diary may remind us of significant events and is used to record experiences we may wish to remember. A journal on the other hand can also record experiences but it does so on a much more detailed and personal level. A journal is used to record feelings, emotions, challenges and reflections on those experiences as they happen. This record can then be used to evaluate one’s life and instruct future behaviour.

The word diary comes from the latin word diarium which translates as ‘daily allowance’. A diary is a record of our daily routines where things like date, time and place are of utmost importance. Journal however, was originally a French monastic term used to describe a book which contained the appointed times for daily prayers and services. These days a journal is seen as a book in which we record day to day events in some detail, not as simply catalogue of events but of the feelings and emotions attached to them. Journals are much more reflective in nature.

Personally I believe that both have their place and in future posts I will consider the merits of both in some detail. I’m sure that some time over the Christmas period, many of you will have taken the time to diligently transfer those all important birthdays etc. from last year’s diary, to some shiny new one that you may have received as a Christmas gift. Of course the more tech savvy among you will simply have seen those essential dates roll forward seamlessly. One of the things I hope to do is to show how and why you should add some extra dates to your diary to turn it into an inspirational tool to drive your ambitions.

Of course before we start to record progress, we need to know where we are going. In the next blog I will look at setting powerful SMART goals that you can engage with and feel passionate about.

The New You: Who Will You Be?

Most New Year’s resolutions are about things, changes or achievements. More money, less weight, healthier body, new car etc. These goals are often woolly, lacking in the kind of definition which will make them achievable. What we need is a clear vision of the end goal. For many people, the simplest visualisation might be a photograph of the new car or the holiday destination. These visual aids are very useful, but there is another, sure fire way of fixing your end goal in your head.

Rather than focussing on an object, it is far more powerful if you can visualise yourself at the end of your journey. What will it feel like when you are driving that new car? What will you look like when you have lost all that weight, or got that holiday sun tan? How will you look and feel when you are holding your newly published book in your hands?

There are many visualisation exercises to be found online but essentially you need to do two things. First of all, REFLECT. Don’t dwell on the past year or your past life too much. Future success will depend on the decisions you make now, not anything that has happened in the past. What you should do is to reflect on who you are now, and where you are now. once you have established these things you have a clear starting point from which to set your compass and stride into the future.

To begin with the end in mind means to start with a clear understanding of your destination. It means to know where you are going, so that you better understand where you are now and so that the steps you take are always in the right direction. -Steven Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

The second essential task is to look at who you want to be. Picture yourself as you will be when you reach your goal. What will you look like? How will you feel? Put as much effort into this as you can. Paint the picture as clearly as you can and reinforce it with all the relevant feelings and senses you can think of. Emotions, colours, smells, tastes, sounds, relationships etc.

        I dream my painting and then I paint my dream – Vincent van Gogh

Having reflected on who you are, and visualised who you want to be, have confidence in yourself and get started. Check in regularly on your vision of who you will be. Anytime that indecision sticks its nose in, use this vision to remind yourself why the future you is so much better than the current one.

Of course your progress needs to be measurable. Unless it is recorded and specific milestones reached along the way, it will be very difficult to keep faith in the journey. In the next blog post I will take a look at using diaries or journals to measure the path.

New Year, New You?

Did you make any New Year’s resolutions? How are they all going? We have already passed the point at which, statistically, most people start to forget all those easily made promises. Stop smoking, lose weight, get fit, join a gym, have a dry January. We do it to ourselves every year. There is a great rush of enthusiasm to change our lives for the better. We’re filled with idealism about the future, but…..

By the end of January we will have had a few setbacks, yet the enthusiasm will linger on. By Easter we will have lost the motivation and forgotten those hastily made resolutions completely. We will find all sorts of ways in which the events in our lives have worn down our optimism and derailed our plans.

So, we return to the mediocrity of last year and the year before. Despair will grow as the year progresses and then in December we will have another burst of hope and begin the cycle all over again. Sounds a bit futile and depressing, doesn’t it? It doesn’t have to be so. We need not be worn down by the constant drip of indifference.

I dislike the term ‘resolution’ because it reeks of inevitable failure. I am setting serious goals for myself this year and feeling passionate about them. With this new blog series I will show you how to set achievable goals and be motivated by them, and I’ll share the tools that I find useful. They’re not for everybody, they can be used by anybody.

Join me on the journey, and regardless of all the crazy ‘stuff’ going on in the big wide world, let’s make a difference in our own lives. We’re already three weeks into the New Year and there’s no time to waste, so I’ll post a new blog every day this week as follows:

Monday – Visualisation (Who do I want to be?)

Tuesday – Diary or journal to success

Wednesday – Plan an inspirational Diary

Thursday – Setting SMART goals

Friday – Keeping a motivational Journal

Saturday – 13-week goals

Sunday – What’s next? (Motivation Mondays)