First, let me introduce myself, in case you are new here. I’m Dawn and I go by Enthusiastically, Dawn as well as The Journal Enthusiast. Prior to sharing my passion for journaling and writing, I went by title The Fitness Enthusiast. Back in those days, I coached,
tortured , I mean trained and encouraged students of all ages. Ive been a bit more sedentary these days and I prefer to direct my energies towards writing, especially poetry, and encouraging personal growth through the simple exercise of journaling. Technically, journaling counts as exercise! Aren’t you glad you stopped by for that little nugget today? Putting pen to paper does have health benefits, but that’s not why I do it. I consider it the greatest opportunity one has to know themselves and understand others. Better still, journaling brings joy. So if you haven’t yet experienced joy in the act of journaling, stick around. I’ve got you covered!
What to Expect
Let’s have a chat together, shall we? The entire world is reeling a bit in the aftermath of a global pandemic. We’ve all suffered losses, and some more than others, but we can agree – it’s been slightly traumatic for most of us in varying degrees. I still knee-jerk put my mask on, and five minutes later forget about it completely. I mean, we don’t know whether we’re coming or going BUT, we can come and go more than last year- at least in the majority of the USA and our little state here in Rhode Island. However, it is the start of Summer. Ahhh, Summer- the season of rest, refreshment, sunny skies, sun-tan lines, sweet red watermelon, cookouts, flip -flops and dare I say- get togethers? And how we all need more getting together, yes? Actually getting together with one another to balance out the isolation we all have experienced during this Coronavirus crazy season. So, we want to have a journaling endeavor that fits for the now we are living. A journaling practice that gives us the freedom to move through this beautiful season with wings, not a practice that puts us in a cage as we are just beginning to stretch our wings for the first time in a long time. Aren’t we all a bit like caged birds gazing out at wide open skies of freedom. That is the beauty of journaling after all…it becomes what we need it to be IF we allow ourselves to be challenged in a positive, creative manner with a touch of realistic expectation.
Perspective is Everything
Think of applying SMART goal mentality to the next three weeks of your journaling. SMART goals are simple, measurable, achievable/attainable, realistic/relevant, time-based. Ask yourself, when I think about journaling have I applied setting SMART goals to my journaling practice? Why or why not?
When I realized I wanted to set forth a journaling challenge for June, I decided this SMART perspective might be helpful for this June’s special circumstances: post-Covid, beginning of Summer, end of school year, start of new freedoms we haven’t had for awhile etc. Feel free to add any other circumstances, I may have missed.
Break It Down
Below is how I see the journey ahead and how these steps will help you fly and NOT faulter along the way!
- Choose Your Challenge- Simply by defining how you want to be “challenged” in light of your current season of life and circumstance. The June challenge begins June 6th and goes through until the 26th. But if these dates don’t work you can take this three-week journey anytime it works in your calendar. All the same principles will apply. However we will be going through this for the first time together on the designated dates. There is something wonderful and special about all of us moving together through a challenge simultaneously.
- Choose Your Track- The Tracks are defined to help you pinpoint an area to focus on. There is no wrong way to journal. These just allow a jump off place for your three weeks. I think you will appreciate both the boundaries and freedoms contained within these guidelines. AND without sharing all the deets at this time, there will be a TRACK for that one thing you really want to try or topic you want to explore but have not yet tried or explored.
- Choose Your Timeline– This is key, so let’s be very careful about how we approach our timelinefor increasing enjoyment, optimizing freedom and yet still strengthening our journaling muscles. Pinpoint your committment of time. For instance: “I will commit to this Track ____________ for three times a week. I will schedule 15 minutes at each time- and write it in my planner as an appointment with myself. I will plan on Monday, Wenesday and Friday at 6AM. ”
- Choose Your Definition of Success– Define what success looks like to you. Is it keeping your committment to your journaling practice? Write out exactly what you do to create the environment for the practice you want. THIS is the fun part! For instance: “I will get up at 5:30 AM and, make a hot cup of tea, I will light a candle, or set my favorite pens and journal out the night before. I will tidy and prepare the space I want to write in so it is soothing for me.” Be sure and brainstorm how you want this to be, what it looks like, what will enrich and bring joy. Maybe it’s to go to an outside place, maybe away from your usual place of everyday distraction. Can I get a loud Hallelujah, for the cafe’s and coffee shops opening once again? It could be as simple as a different chair, as opposed to your craft area or bill paying desk. Or maybe you need to take a walk outside and then come into your creative space afterwards. You think about the simplicity or formality that will bring you the most satisfaction and joy. Brainstorm some options of what this might be like for you. Try something new, revive something from your past that is meaningful, or just dream of what would best support and encourage your heart now. Then do it.
- Choose Your Reward– I assure you completing this journey a grand reward all its on. You will have gained something at the end if you follow through, of that I have no doubt. However, perhaps you can determine a small reward at the end of the three weeks. Maybe a special book, journal, candle, mug or pen. Something appropriate and specific to the journey. It only needs to make sense and matter to you. Maybe a special charm or item that reminds you of your journaling journey. Or something more specific or related to your topic. I’ll trust you to figure out what it is.
- Enjoy the Journey- I promise, if you abide by setting a realistic timeline goal, whether a daily or twice weekly practice, you will find joy in it. You might also surprise yourself along the way. And if you choose the right journey for your NOW circumstances, it is gonna be like Cinderellas’s glass slipper finally finding the right foot!
- Celebrate and Integrate– at the end of th three weeks you will have your own celebration and decide whether or not this is a practice you want to continue. AT that time you will be able to intgrate it into your schedule realistically. I am also planning on mailing certificates – happy mail for those who complete the journey and would like to have a certificate of completion. Digital certificates will also be available as an option. There will be a criteria to fullfill to receive it, which will be a summary of your journaling journey e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Stay tuned for those details in the next post where there will be an opportunity to sign up (optional) through jotform.
What this Journey IS NOT…
If you are looking for a list of daily prompts on a socail media ready picture, this journaling journey IS NOT that. That is not the way I roll at all. I don’t usually follow those types of challenges, or I rarely do, and if I do- I rarely complete them- I know they are popular and so cool to look at. They just don’t work well for me. I still appreciate them for those who love them and think if they work for you, that’s awesome. My style is a bit more intuitive…organic…spontaneous, and well…random. If you are good with that, read on.
Challenge or Committment…Some Questions to Ask Yourself
So, what are you looking for in this journaling challenge? What brought you here?
By what criteria do you define a challenge? Are you up for a “challenge”, or would a simple committment to yourself be better? Or is a journey a better way to think about this three week endeavor. Words matter. Pick yours wisely and succeed.
If you already journal regularly ask yourself, what’s missing from your jouraling practice at this time? If you struggle with consistency ask yourself, what is your biggest obstacle to maintaining a regular practice? Maybe you haven’t found the right fit for you, or maybe you spend more time scrolling other people’s journals on social media than writing or working in your own. Maybe you need to nail down the details. I brush teeth, wash face and journal for 15 minutes. OR maybe you are experiencing a bit of “stuck in the ruts”. You have a preconceived idea of what journaling is, or “should be” (shoulds are not allowed here) and have not quite gotten out of the mindset, so you are basically stuck. You’re gonna need a bigger boat…or tow truck, mindset or journal! But the way out of the ruts is right before you. Here and now. Or maybe there is something that keeps drawing your interest, but you keep telling yourself, “Nahhhh. I couln’t do that.” Well… why not? Let me ask you this, what is your “Why not?”
Identify and clarify what’s missing in your life right now and I guarentee writing about it will help you discover a resolution, solution or opportunity. Just writing about what you need can help you discover what journaling practice is most needful for you at this time. There is power and possibility in that little tool called pen! Maybe that’s why the pen is mightier than the sword. It has the power to release a plethora of potential from within you, my friend. But only for those who dare. If you are here, you dare!
Ok, so I think I have given you enough to chew on and I will share the Journaling Tracks tomorrow : June 1! Right now, your homework is to focus only on what you need right now. Answer the question:
What’s missing in your life right now. More specifically what do you want more of, less of? What’s calling you?
Whatever your answer, there’s a journal and a writing practice right for you! Tomorrow I will share all the options (journaling tracks) available and the track I am exploring. Additionally I look forward to sharing some really cool posts during our journaling adventure that will have some great journals to explore, and some giveaway surprises, too.
If you join in, please share with a friend and I would love to see you- as you go- using the hashtag on social media (no pressure though) to connect: #thejournalenthusiastjune21jc
Journal Tracks will be posted tomorrow by 7 PM (EST). Plan to ponder all the possibilities!