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One Way to Use A Journal to Change Your Life

Most of us have a journal collecting dust somewhere in our house.  We purchased it and one of those pricey gel pens with the best of intentions.  We wanted tools to build our dream lives, but when we cracked open the cover the only way we could remember to start was “Dear Diary,” and that seemed pretty lame and ineffective.

But there’s hope!  Here are 4 steps to executing the one journalling strategy that’s transformed my life last year: 

1. Open up to Possibility: Write About Your Perfect Day

  • Dust off that overpriced notebook and grab your fancy gel pen.
  • Begin writing with no judgement – anything goes.  (If someone finds and reads your journal they should think you’re crazy – that’s the only way you get to the really good stuff.)  This is a rough draft not a final document.
  • Daydream about your perfect day and document it – from the time you wake up until the time you go to bed.

Write about an ideal 24 hours you could actually see yourself living within the next year-or-so.  I journalled about mine maybe three months ago, thinking I might live it within a year or two.  A few months later I looked back and was amazed by how much my life already mirrored that perfect day (even though at the time felt like such a stretch).

Part of my perfect day is walking down the street to a badass yoga studio.

.2. Go Deep: Don’t Skip the Details

Most people avoid being precise when doing this activity: go deep to really reap the rewards.  To give you an idea of how exhaustive your writing should be, here’s only the beginning of the morning routine I wrote about:

  • Wake up and hop out of bed at 6 am with energy in my super cute apartment.
  • Drink fresh beet and apple juice from my juicer, and then 1 L of water while I read an inspiring book for ten minutes.
  • Light candles, put on chill music, and practice a quick yoga routine (choosing movements based on what my body needs) while facing my windows and the sun rise.
  • Meditate about self-love for ten minutes and journal for 30 minutes about my perfect day (see what I did there).
  • Get ready with intention and love for my body.

By using detailed gel pen strokes, you’ll begin to feel the kinds of feelings that you’ll have when you’re really living life like that.  Deeply experience the gratitude and joy that accompanies the vision you have for your day.  You’ll naturally want to take the steps necessary to create it.

3. Close the Gap: Implement Your Perfect Day

Once you’re done writing, look for little ways you can close the gap between your dreams and your reality today.  One of the things I wrote about was eating local and organic meat and produce, and meals prepared with love.  I realized this was something I could change that day.  I increased my grocery budget and cut back on eating out.  I ordered my first delivery from an online local farmers’ market and got my first week’s worth of meal-prepped food from one of my friends.

I want to eat local and organic food – like these red-wine braised short ribs.

There are ways to begin living your dream life that don’t require making more money.  If you have a business or a hobby, consider doing a trade.  Be like the pioneers.  Or, seek sponsorship.  Money doesn’t have to be the gatekeeper to your dreams.

Trading services with hair stylists, estheticians, energy workers, and meal-preppers was one of the best things I’ve ever done.  One day, I even walked down to the local tattoo shop to see if I could trade personal training or nutrition coaching for a sleeve.  (They had an eight-month waiting list and weren’t booking appointments for three months, but you just never know.)

Seize little moments for yourself to ask, “What can I do to make today look more like my perfect day?” and then do the thing!

4. Maintain a Healthy Level Of Obsession: Remember Your Ideal Day is Only a Benchmark

Perfection – as a state of being without any flaws – does not exist.  Learn to see the chaos that’s sprinkled into your life as part of the beauty.

In my perfect day, I never wrote that I’d be standing in the middle of my apartment, surrounded by dirty dishes (aside from the spoon filled with peanut butter in my mouth) staying up until midnight to finish a blog for the next day.  But in those moments, I step outside myself to see the beauty in them.  “Life’s a beautiful mess,” I think to myself.

Sure, I didn’t plan midnight writing or dish disarray, but my morning routine was by-the-book, I got to go to the 1 PM yoga class like I’d planned, and I crushed amazing calls with clients just like I’d envisioned.  

Real life messiness is so much lovelier than predictable perfection. 
Real life messiness is so much lovelier than predictable perfection. via @idealistisabel

In Summary

  1. Write about your perfect day today.  
  2. Use details to feel and harness the power in your life’s vision.
  3. Take small steps now to close the gap between your ideals and your reality.
  4. Overcome your perfectionism.  Recognize the beauty of your life that loosely matches the ideal one you envisioned.

Revisit this process often.  The more often you do it, the faster your life will duplicate the perfect story you put on paper.  Your dream life is only a few gel-pen strokes on a dusty diary page away.

Want to lean out in 2017?  Click here to get my entire 14-week nutrition program for the special January price of only $27.

Yoga photo credit: Jesse Godin

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