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Here’s “Part 6” of my series on creating an awesomely intentional life, and this one’s all about the first tool in my arsenal… which is my journal. I’m on journal #50… and my habit of recording my thoughts in my journal has been a super-important part of my success.

Video Transcript and Relevant Links

So the last few videos have been talking about intention, about the idea of intentionally thinking about the life you want, designing the life you want, and then going and creating that life. And I’ve shared some of the tools, some of my practices, that I’ve developed over the years, or have learned over the years. And now, here’s one more.

And that is my journal and the idea of journaling. So this is something I started out… this is probably the first practice, or the longest-running practice I’ve got in this whole intentionality piece. Because this is actually journal number 50.

So one of the things I do is, each new journal, I’ll actually write down which journal because I’ve got a lot of these sitting around. This is … Well, I’ve got 49 other ones sitting around. So I don’t want to mix them up, so I always just write down what number it is. I put my name in the front, what number it is, the date, and then I go with it.

So over the years, I’ve used many different types of journals. This is a Moleskine (brand), probably the last 25 or 30 have been Moleskines. A lot of people are using Moleskines now, you can get them pretty much anywhere, at almost any bookstore. It used to be hard to get these, so the world has caught onto that idea.

One of the things I do, is I go through, and I put page numbers in. I don’t know if you could see that. I’ll actually number the pages, and then I’ll always, when I start out, I’ll leave a few blank pages. Here I’ve got three blank pages at the beginning, and then when I’m done with the journal, I’ll create an index.

So I’ll go back after I finish (after I fill this up), I’ll go through it, and I’ll go through and I’ll find if there was a significant idea, significant thought, significant memory, or whatever, I’ll write down what page that was, and what the thought was. So I just create an index so I can always go back and find them.

Speaking of, like do you actually go back through these things? Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. It all comes down to, and this is the number one thing I want to convey, is that there is no right or wrong to this. Well, there is one wrong to it. And one wrong is being militant about it and saying, “I have to journal every day, and if I don’t journal every day, I’m a loser.”

There’s too many of these things I’m talking about. I’ve talked about the morning ritual, and I’ve talked about planning your year, and I’ve talked about meditation. And every single one of these, you don’t want to be too rigid. You don’t want to be too rigid, and you don’t … It’s not about judging yourself negatively if you fall down for a bit, if you get out of the practice. It’s about coming back to the practice.

And so there have been days, many days, most days, I don’t journal. There have been weeks I don’t journal. There have been gaps of months where I don’t journal. But I still … I’m working on filling out number 50 here. And usually takes me about three or four months to go through one of these. But it’s the number one thing, is you’re doing this to create an amazing life. You’re not doing this to create a yardstick or a weapon to beat yourself up. It’s about making yourself better, not about feeling worse.

So journal when it’s right for you. I typically, it’s usually something that’s towards the end of my morning ritual, if I do it. I’ll sit down, I’ll write for five minutes, sometimes 15 minutes, sometimes it’s longer. But it’s usually just five to 15 minutes, and it might be me reflecting on what’s happening in my life. It might be me recording stuff because I get to do amazing (crazy amazing )stuff in my life, and I want to remember them.

And I especially want to celebrate them because I think too many times, we don’t celebrate the great things in our life. We don’t appreciate, we don’t have the gratitude for all those amazing little things and big things in our life. So this is a place to actually make sure you know those great things, and then, you can go back and reflect on them.

Sometimes I’m simply trying to figure out what I want in my life, what I want for that day. Sometimes it’s planning a work project.

One of the things I do is, I’m actually not doing this now. Sometimes I’ve done this, it depends on how integrative I feel. Is sometimes I’ve gone front to back, start here and go through it with personal stuff, and then I’ll flip it over, and I’ll go back to front with work stuff. It’s like if I feel like creating a separation in between personal and work. Right now, it’s all integrated, so like this is all personal stuff here. This is a work project. So this can be anything, for me. You can do it any way you want, it’s your life, it’s your journal, define it how you want. But just make sure you define it in a way that you win, not in a way that you’re making yourself feel bad.

But I will tell you, this has been huge for me. It’s been huge, it’s been great to be able to go back and see where I was back at a certain time in my life. Where my brain was, where my heart was, what my feelings were, what I was thinking.

And it’s also great to go back and sometimes look at some of these, where I’ll record goals, and say, “Wow. I did that. I got that. I got that.” Or, “I’m still in alignment with that.” It’s just, it can be an amazing journey. So think about it, and then get, and it doesn’t have to be a moleskin, it doesn’t have to be fancy. But just … If you’re going to lead the life we’re talking about, the life you want to lead, an intentional life, then it’s worth recording. So try writing it down.

I’m Jeff Walker, wherever you’re watching this, scroll down, leave a comment for me. We’re … I don’t know how many. This is like, whatever, our sixth video on intention. And I’ve been enjoying doing them. Let me know if you’re enjoying them. I’m actually, I’ve been having enough fun, where I might end up creating a product around this.

So let me know if that’s something you’d be interested in… Or, let’s say, not a product, but a training, to make your life even more intentional. I don’t have anything planned right now, but you never know.

So scroll down, leave a comment for me. Let’s go get them this week.

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29 Replies to “Designing an Incredible Life (Part 6)”

  1. I think it’s a great idea. I have a whole practice that I do every day. I’ve had 35 major operations from two very bad car accident one I was hit as a Pedestrian. I have seven certifications and alternative medicine modalities. And seven certifications in fitness. I think doing this writing for 25 years. It’s a wonderful idea. I just had four fusions to my neck December 12. And I’m doing incredible. I was an actress and a fitness model. I worked through the first 22 operations. But when I was hit as a pedestrian when I was 40 I lost my memory for year and a half and was bedridden for years. I’m 56 I look like I’m about 40. And believe it or not I have the same figure out that I did at 19. I figure this whole thing out. I do not take any pain medicine. My pain is about two. Sometimes worse if I do too much. But like I said I figured out I have 31 years to practice. Now I’m going to help everyone else who needs help healing from physical emotional and spiritual trauma. So they can live a happy healthy grateful life!!! Like me.
    Peace and love I think you should do some type of program on this.
    Stacy

  2. Hi Jeff, it’s Adriana from Bolivia here. I always connect with you on your videos, you are an amazing communicator. I journal my significant thoughts and memories since almost 20 years ago. I can say it is a wonderful practice, and as you said, it helps me a lot to track myself, my evolution in this life journey. It’s been almost 5 years since I got a copy of your book Launch, and since then I follow you everytime you set up a video. This particular series of intentionality has been very productive to me, please keep on it.

  3. Thanks Jeff. I am hoping to do a series with poetry as well as just the usual journal bits. Still have a long way to go. Currently working in Saudi Arabia.

  4. Frank Hopkins

    Reply

    This series has been very helpful and I am a fan of and use journals as well. Thank you Jeff!

  5. Absolutely great video presentations loaded with useful information! I’ve enjoyed every one. Your genuine sincerity to want to help others is obvious and appreciated.

  6. great ideas! I always make big mind maps and they come into being – converting some of that into journals would probably give it more reference longevity! thanks for sharing 😉

  7. I received a journal last year as a gift and loved it. It was my first. I decided to continue with it again this year. My journal last year was formatted and it made it so easy to use. There were just three pages for an entire week. I loved the format so much I’m using it again this year even though I couldn’t find another journal like the one I had. I just wrote the sections into a blank journal. I mix personal and work stuff in each week and spend anywhere from 30 seconds to a couple minutes recording things in it. The sections are: date (example – 1/20/19 – 1/26/19), In 3 words this week was, Highlights, Something that Challenged me, something I learned, Progress toward my yearly goals, Dreams I’m working toward, Next week I’m going to, and then I leave 1 page for notes. Each section is short. Highlights I give 1/2 page, and same for progress and what I’m doing the next week. The challenge, something learned and dreams section are short – just 3 or 4 lines. I love this format and it’s made journaling quick and easy. It’s really helpful for keeping me on track with what I’m doing and where I’m going. Oh, and at the beginning of the year I write my big goals in the front of the book. I can’t recommend journaling highly enough for anyone who wants to grow both professionally and personally.

  8. Thank you, Jeff, for these ideas: index pages, numbering pages, flipping the journal. And thank you for being you. You are kind and inspiring.

  9. David Murphy

    Reply

    nice Jeff, you are very inspiring I wish I could figure out the first thing

  10. This is a GREAT post on journaling. Thank you for sharing some of your best practices. These bite-sized posts on intentionality make it easy to include one more positive change at a time.

  11. Hey Jeff – love this video series on leading an intentional life. I’ve been journaling now for a number of years, off and on. Within the last two years, I journal every morning for about 15-30 minutes. I can say that journaling has been one of the more helpful aspects in leading and designing an intentional life for myself. The great thing about journaling is capturing my thoughts in the present moment. Being present, focused and persistent in everything I do is my new mantra. I credit this to the habit of journaling every morning. And yes, designing a course on creating an intentional life would be another PLF best seller! Wishing you all the best…

  12. I love journaling also. It helps me be intentional and it lately I have been using it to help me build an abundant life. I write about what I am grateful for, about my marriage, about my business
    …everything! I find it helps me to talk to God in my journals as well. I recommend this for everyone!!

  13. Man thanks for this Jeff! I really needed to hear someone say it’s ok to not do it every day. I am totally one of those guys that uses these practices as a way to beat myself up when I don’t do it. Hearing you talk about using it as a way to build yourself up and not a way to tear yourself down hit home. So thanks again for all you do man.

  14. Carl Harris

    Reply

    I use Michael Hyatt’s ‘9 questions’ for the basis of my journal. Question 9 is: What can I do next to move forward on my goals and important projects? and I’ll sometimes do a sweep of all of them periodically to make sure I haven’t missed anything. While I like setting big goals I find what gets me there is the ‘Kaizen’ approach – little things done differently every day. I’m job hunting at the moment, for example, and working on improving my interview questions so have just made a note about ‘when discussing how you organise your day focus more on how you organise yourself at work – last interview you spoke too much about how you organise your personal life’ (didn’t get the job!). A tweak here; a tweak there. I also find asking/answering questions in my journal will trigger new ideas when I’m away from it which I otherwise don’t get. I think having a journal habit gets your mind unconsciously searching for ‘things to put in the journal’. I think if journaling works well for you you ‘miss it’ when you miss it but you’re right about not using negative motivators to get you back to doing it again.

  15. I guess, to be truthful, I’m surprised. So cool that you journal and have a record of your thoughts. Like the practice of meditating, journal writing has its place in helping us deal with life and in bringing clarity to our lives. I started journal writing during some of the darkest days of my life. The practice helped me sort it out, what had happened, its effects, and how to move forward. It became life-giving to me. Besides recording my thoughts, on the journal’s back pages I write quotations that impress me. When I am discouraged, I reread these quotes, which then encourages. The value one receives by writing one’s thoughts, concerns, and questions is unquestionably meaningful and beneficial. Appreciate this. Blessings.

  16. Great idea to number the pages and write an index when you have completed your journal. I shall do go and do that. Thank you

  17. Thanks Jeff, I’ve been writing in a journal or diary for approximately 40 years since I was about 15 years old. Like you I didn’t write in my journal every day but it is so interesting to go back and read what I was doing and thinking back then. It so helps me clear my mind, and get clarity about things I’m wondering about. I like your idea of turning the book around to record a different aspect of life, almost like 2 journals in one. I’m certainly going to give it a go.

  18. James Klobasa

    Reply

    I like the Index idea…
    Something I’ve done for years is go back and re-write all the key points into another journal specifically created to hold all the gold. But I like the Index idea, saves a lot of time…

    Thanks Jeff…and hope you and all yours are well.

    James

  19. Jeff – intention is a word that can be filled with hope and discovery and possibility. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on journaling. I also number my pages and highlight significant ideas. But something you brought out I really liked. …it’s also great to go back and sometimes look at some of these, where I’ll record goals, and say, “Wow. I did that. I got that. I got that.” Or, “I’m still in alignment with that.” I don’t do that and it certainly would help my melancholy spirit. Thank you for these words!

  20. Hi Jeff,

    Thanks for posting this 6 part series. Really very interesting and inspiring!

    Trying to apply some of the things you’ve been talking about.

    Bye
    Maurizio

  21. I journal every morning Jeff and love it. One of my copywriting clients is Mari L. McCarthy who wrote the international bestselling book, Journaling Power. She has an amazing story to tell about how she ditched prescription drugs and mitigated her multiple sclerosis symptoms with journaling. You can learn more about her at www.CreateWriteNow.com. She’s all about using the power of journaling “to heal the issues in your tissues” as she says. Best – Casey

  22. amazing stuffs. thanks jeff for sharing your journalling ritual. i have a lot of old notebooks filled out over the years but i have not numbered them or indexed them. those are great ideas to practice. this year though i tried using evernote to organize my ideas a little better.

  23. Awesome, thank you! Hey Jeff, would you be willing to share your Koble A score? I’d love to know so I can align my work better with your processes. I’m a 3-2-10-4. Thanks!

  24. Hi, I love watching and listening to your stuff! Regarding journaling, I’ve been doing it for a few years and it’s a great tool not only to record and then review how I was and what I felt back then, on a daily basis, it’s this “friend” who I can “talk” to without any judgement. Whether I am excited of great things that I experience or when I feel “low” or negative, I just pour my words on the paper and immediately feel better. Highly recommended!

  25. Eve LEPICARD

    Reply

    Hi, Jeff, this is Eve from France.Thank you so much for your inspiring videos. I’m starting a business, trying to find the right balance between my private life (two kids, 4 and 6, demanding their everyday dose of love and joy) and my work life as a consultant in life sciences. I’m craving for something stable in my everyday life, something that regenerates me in order to keep my motivation at a high level, to stay focused on my work programme and to avoid too much discouragement when things don’t come my way. So your advice on having a routine caught my attention. I’m grateful for your serie on being intentional. I’ve already make changes in my morning start, it already improves my day. Thank you again !

  26. Carol Joyous

    Reply

    What a great idea to create an index and to number the pages! “Define it (your journal, your life, your intentions) in a way that you win, not in a way that will make you feel bad.” This is so true! Too many times we beat ourselves up about what we haven’t done. When I don’t write in my journal (I started my first journal when I was 12), I write a brief summary of what’s happened since I last wrote in it, then start writing again. I absolutely love what you said, Jeff, that “An Intentional Life Is Worth Recording.” This is so true for so many reasons, not the least of which is so that we remember what we’ve done, achieved, enjoyed, but also for the days when we’re feeling stuck or thinking we haven’t accomplished anything . . . those are also the times to look back in our journals and see how far we’ve come. It provides a boost to your self image and your self confidence … it helps you jump back into your life with enthusiasm and hope and focus. I also like to go back to my journals to harvest the creative ideas (article ideas, projects, product ideas) that I’ve written there. Journaling helps me give my ideas, dreams, and thoughts life. Thank you for this series, Jeff! Awesome sauce!!!

  27. Hi Jeff. Been listening to the series and really enjoying it. When I go to video #6 it plays #7… any way of checking this out. I have also found journalling a life changing practice and have been doing this for nearly 30 years now.

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