Transform Your Life
Use the Power of Journaling
With Sarah Birnbach's 52-Week Best Self Program
Sign up for Sarah's FREE 52-Week Best Self Program to receive weekly inspiring and thought-provoking journaling prompts.
Choose a journal that fits your style and determine a day of the week when you will dedicate your time to journaling at least 15 to 20 minutes. Your Welcome email will include some ideas to help get you started.
Show up to your commitment to journey towards your best self and realize the insights you will gain over the next 52-weeks.
I believe in the transformative power of journaling.
During my 10 years in the banking industry and my 34 years as a consultant, I used the power of journaling to help me be my "best self" -- to work through my fears and insecurities, my tough life decisions, relationship challenges, and make sense of my experiences -- to the benefit my colleagues and clients.
Some of what I have learned (and shared) along the way came from my education – an M.B.A. in Human Resources -- and some came from my personal philosophies and beliefs about people and relationships. The rest came from what we affectionately call OJT (on-the-job-training). Ultimately, I have always enjoyed supporting people in the workplace to become more successful supervisors, managers, team members, and customer service providers.
I share what I learned from my own experiences – first, of becoming a first-time supervisor with no training, reporting to a man who threw me into the position believing that “you either sink or swim.” If I sank it was my failure, but if I succeeded, he had made a good hiring decision. To becoming a manager and finally the youngest Vice President in the bank’s history managing an 82-person department. The things I learned along the way helped me to succeed with my own consulting company for 34 years.
My focus is to share the transformative power of journaling in the hope that you and others can use this easily accessible, inexpensive tool to become your best self.
Why Keep A Journal?
Many folks ask why journaling is so powerful and transformative. Here are a few reasons you might find it beneficial for your life:
Keep a record for the future of how your life unfolds. Soren Kierkegaard once wrote, “We live life forwards; we can only understand it backwards.” Being able to go back into your life and observe it from the vantage point of a future date can be transformative.
Track the cycles, patterns and trends of your life. As I fill the pages of my journal, I glean valuable information about the degree to which I am working toward becoming my best self and realizing my goals and ambitions.
Get to know different parts of yourself. Each of us is like a diamond with many facets that shine differently depending on our circumstances. The mental and emotional parts of ourselves are sometimes public and sometimes private. Your journal gives you a place to identify these different facets and find the ways to befriend them.
Heal relationships. Your journal gives you a safe forum to ventilate strong feelings that may not be appropriate to express aloud. It gives you a safe place to calm your emotions and control the reactivity you may feel.
Access information stored in your subconscious and unconscious minds. Journal writing is an excellent way to access and draw information from hidden levels of awareness. Using my journal has often enabled me to become aware of the sources of anxiety or to identify issues that I struggle with.
Develop your intuition. Sometimes the noises of society drown out our ability to hear our intuition and to connect with its power. Journal writing gives you access to your intuitive gifts.
Develop communication skills. The more I reveal/connect in my journal, the better I become at framing the language I need to communicate with others.
Get in touch with feelings. Journal writing has enabled me to move through emotional periods in my life and to process the feelings that I might otherwise bury.
Work through life choices, decisions and alternatives. When I have difficult decisions to make, using my journal to consider all sides, pros and cons helps me to visualize my options and potential outcomes. I have made wiser and more well-thought-out decisions in my life from having first journaled about them.
Gain neutrality. There are often situations in our lives in which we don’t feel objective. Journaling offers a place to gain greater objectivity.
Remember our blessings. By recording my gratitudes on a daily basis, I am reminded of the blessings in my life, especially when I am inclined to lose sight of the trees for the forest.
JOURNALING APPROACHES: A Note from Sarah
There are many ways to fill a journal. Some of the approaches that I’ll be encouraging over this next year are:
I’ll suggest a subject or provide a prompt (questions and/or thought starters) and specify a time for the write. When we have a time limit, our brains feel a sense of pressure and I find they work harder. It also reassures me that journaling doesn’t have to take a lot of time.
I’ll provide a sentence or question to help you focus and clarify. A jumping-off place for you to get started.
This is a description of another person, or of yourself, a part of yourself, or an emotion.
Lists of 100
This is one of my favorite journaling methods. By writing fast and making the longest list possible within the allotted time frame, it is amazing how many ideas we can come up with.
This is a written conversation in which you write both parts. You can dialogue with anyone or anything – a person, place, object, body part, event or feeling. Often, when I anticipate a challenging conversation with someone, I’ll dialogue both parts of the conversation before meeting with the person. This makes me less anxious and helps clarify my thinking before I open my mouth.
With this process, you can write letters to people you’re mad at, intimidated by, shy around or who aren’t available to you – maybe they’ve died, or moved on or haven’t been born yet. You can express your feelings openly since the letter will remain in your journal . . . unsent. You can reverse this technique and write letters to yourself from others, which helps you to understand another’s’ perspective.
You can alter your point of view by writing as if you were someone else, or by propelling yourself back or forward in time.