Four Game-Changing Journaling Styles You Need To Know & Why
Clodagh O'Mahony·September 08, 2021
What if we told you there were two things that could transform your life and you don’t need a fancy qualification or a bulging bank account to get them? We bet you’d be pretty psyched. Those two things? A pen and The Head Plan Journal.
Whether you’re jotting down your thoughts and feelings, committing your goals to paper or making a meal plan for the week, putting pen to paper is incredibly powerful. Journaling is like a cheat code for life, it allows you to focus on and prioritise what’s important, organise your thoughts, and make plans that set you up for success.
The good news is, that not all journaling practices are the same. There’s a style (or styles) to suit everyone and you get to choose which ones work best for you.
We have rounded up four of our faves and included all their life-changing benefits as well as a pro tip for getting the most from each one.
In the words of Zig Ziglar “A goal properly set is halfway reached.” Likewise, Stephen Kellog says, “It’s better to be at the bottom of the ladder you want to climb than at the top of the one you don’t.”
Basically? Goal-setting not only gives you a leg up; it also ensures you’re moving in the direction you actually want to go – and using a journal to set goals and chart your progress is pretty much guaranteed to secure your success.
But don’t just take our word for it: According to research, people who write down their goals have an 80 per cent higher chance of achieving them, not just because the process inspires you to think practically about your goal and create a plan to get there, but because it triggers the brain’s Reticular Activating System (RAS). The RAS filters out all the non-essential messages and hones in on the stuff that will help you achieve your goal.
In other words, when you use a goal-setting journal like our Productivity & Wellness Journal you’re not only keeping yourself accountable, you’re priming your brain to be on the lookout for opportunities for growth. It’s a win-win!
PRO TIP: Be flexible with your goals. It’s normal for goals to shift and evolve over time. Six months from now you might be ready to set a bigger and better goal or you may have had an inspired idea that’s taken you in a slightly different direction.
The important thing is to keep taking steps that bring you closer to where you want to be – so whatever goals you’ve set be sure to review and remind yourself of them regularly.
You can’t be angry, sad or fearful in the same moment you’re grateful. Think about that for a second. It means that the fastest way to alleviate any negative emotion is to focus on something – anything - you can feel grateful for. No matter how bad things get, you always have the choice to shift from negativity and lack to joy and appreciation.
That’s why we created The Head Plan Gratitude Journal, to help you make gratitude a daily practice in less than five minutes a day. Doing so, not only helps you find more joy in the present moment, it also ensures you’ll have even more to feel grateful for in the next moment too. Why? Because gratitude has a compound effect.
Oprah puts it best. She says, “The more thankful I became, the more my bounty increased. That’s because – for sure – what you focus on expands. When you focus on the goodness in life, you create more of it.”
Put simply, the energy of gratitude amplifies all that is good in your life. It multiplies your blessings and ensures you have even more to appreciate. To top it all of, counting your blessings is also shown to increase mindfulness, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve your relationships with others too.
PRO TIP: Use The Head Plan Gratitude Journal morning and night and remember to keep gratitude with you throughout the day. Waiting for the kettle to boil? Say thank you for water and coffee! Received some good news? Say thank you for it.
Here’s a bonus tip: If you notice your mood has dipped during the day, grab your gratitude journal, flip through the pages and remind yourself of everything you have to be grateful for.
‘You are what you eat’ and ‘eat your greens’ are nuggets of wisdom that can set you up for success in every area of your life. Why? Because how we nourish our bodies directly impacts our energy.
Creating a weekly meal plan with our Nourish meal planner helps you make more conscious food choices, allowing you to prevent energy dips, fuels your mind to perform at its best, and gives your body what it needs to flourish and grow.
Meal planning is associated with better nutrient variety and diet quality that contributes to improved physical health. It can also reduce your grocery bill spend, help you reach health goals, and free up mental mindset, allowing you to focus on other things.
PRO TIP: When meal planning, aim for a broad spectrum of nutrients spread across the week. Think fruits and veggies, nuts and grains, lean protein and Omega 3s. The more colourful your plate the better! Remember, it’s not about being super rigid or strict with yourself, but about making more mindful food choices that set you up for a good day.
Get ready to have your mind blown. Researchers say we have around 60,000 thoughts a day and – get this – the majority of those thoughts are the same ones we had yesterday and the day before that. Most of us have been operating with the same limiting beliefs and negative thought patterns that we’ve had since we were children, and without proper investigation, they can hamper us in all sorts of ways.
That’s where free-writing in a blank journal comes in. It’s a way to uncover your limiting beliefs, cut through uncomfortable feelings, and make sense of stuff that, for the most part, is hidden in our subconscious. It can also be used to jot down inspired thoughts, record observations and make plans.
This style of journaling has been scientifically proven to improve emotional wellbeing, boost mental clarity and reduce stress. It’s also great at helping you break through your limitations, solve problems and shift a sorry mood. It’s even a form of therapy, prescribed by psychotherapists to help their patients work through tricky emotions.
Our thoughts can feel heavy at times – free-writing is like lifting the load.
PRO TIP: Make free writing a regular practice. Think of it like a brain dump before bed and get all those niggling thoughts and worries out on paper. You don’t need to have all the answers right away and it’s okay if the process feels a little messy and uncomfortable. Just by writing down whatever is on your mind, however seemingly complicated or trivial, you’re clearing the mental clutter and making space for clarity.
Write It Down And Make It Happen…
Ever heard the phrase ‘the pen is mightier than the sword’? It’s true of journaling too. In life, there are often so many things battling for our attention that it can be tricky to stay focused on the stuff that matters. But you don’t need to fight against the distractions; Journaling gives you back your power.
Whether it’s creating a meal plan that allows you to share the most shiny and energetic version of yourself with the world, clearing the mental clutter with a regular free-writing practice, or setting aligned goals, journaling allows you to make the best of your life now. Not tomorrow or next year, now. The pen is, quite literally, in your hands.