While I enjoy creativity (cooking! sewing! taking pictures! writing for you here!) I have never done well with journal writing. I love quality pens and beautiful journals, but I never really saw the point in recording my thoughts and feelings on paper.
But I was wrong, journaling has been a fantastic experience for me, and The Freedom Journal was exactly what I needed to see the benefits of journal writing as a goal-oriented person.
What is The Freedom Journal?
The Freedom Journal is a beautiful high-quality journal designed to help you accomplish your goals in 100 days. Each day has writing prompts in both the morning and the evening that pertain not only to your goals, but also to gratitude and random thoughts if you want to include them. Below I’ll tell you how the random thoughts portion gave me some breakthrough unexpected results!
In addition to the daily writing, which takes me about 5-10 minutes in both the morning and the evening, there also are mini 10-day goal ‘sprint’ overviews every 10 days. So every 10 days you pick a few different mini-goals to accomplish during that 10 days that are part of your our overall big 100-day goal.
For example, one of my goals was to finish up the Freezer Cooking Class for you, and one of the mini 10-day goals was to record all the audio for the classes, another was to format the paperback book, another was to link to all the hard-to-find ingredients and clear up any confusion about how to use the class units. Another one of my goals was to keep an organized home, so during one of the 10-day sprints I worked on getting a laundry system in place that included the kids, another 10-day sprint involved cleanup and then establishing an upkeep system for outside. And then my third goal revolved around self care and set mini sprints to establish routines for getting enough sleep, eating correctly, and spiritual work.
How is The Freedom Journal Different?
Different from regular journaling on blank paper, or specific journals that are tied to something like a spiritual journey, The Freedom Journal is both highly specific and and completely customized to your specific goals. It gives the structure to plan, and asks needed questions to help you identify and correct anything that is preventing you from accomplishing those goals.
Each day asks:
- What you are grateful for: This helps you focus on all the good, grateful people are happy people, and happy people are productive people.
- What you want to accomplish that day: When it’s written down it can stop circulating through your head, and you can focus on doing.
- What steps you are going to take to accomplish your goals that day.
- What you actually accomplished that day.
- What you struggled with: This helps you to identify and fix problems that come up often.
- What your plans are for the next day: This helps you plan, and actually helps with sleep too. Get that running to-do list out of your head and onto paper.
- Any thoughts or musings: A great way to write down recurring thoughts that are unrelated to your current goals- maybe ideas for your next goals, or something you need to address.
If you’ve ever asked ‘what’s the point?’ to the journaling suggestion, this journal gives you ‘the point’ :)
I never stuck with journaling before…
Doing this with a friend really helped me stay accountable. We would snap (via the app snapchat) our completed pages to each other each am and pm. That helped me stay on track at first, but soon the obvious benefits of accomplishing goals was motivation enough.
Other than goal accomplishment (which is awesome!) I was able to identify patterns of things that were struggles and things that worked well because I was writing every day twice a day. From there, I was able to incorporate more of the things that worked well, and since the struggles were clearly visible, I could address them.
For me, some of these patterns that I saw written down over and over, yet I had never noticed before were:
- I do better when I make smaller goals. If I planned to take 7 pictures for Real Plans, or write 3 blog posts and schedule them out, I was much more likely to accomplish very little or nothing. Yet, if I planned to only make 1 or two recipes to take pictures of and outline one blog post, I’d get started faster and once I was started I kept going.
- Sleep and fresh air are essential for quality of life for me. One of my 10-day goals was to go to bed by 10 every night and not set my alarm until 7, which usually allowed me to wake up naturally before then. Another was to get half an hour of physical activity or more every day (by walking the kids to/from school). Both were so beneficial that I knew they were worthwhile to keep up with.
- The thoughts/musings section consistently showed that I was feeling guilt about not being involved in the kids’ schools more. I was able to identify this and give myself a little self talk, which included a ‘pass’ until my toddler is also in school rather than subconsciously feeling a little bit bad about it every day.
- I also saw the words ‘pinterest makes me feel bad’ (because my house is not Pinterest perfect) and ‘I shouldn’t have gone on facebook’ (politics, ahem) pop up in my written thoughts for a few days in a row so and I used the Facebook News Feed eradicator and took the Pinterest ap off my phone to stop mindless scrolling for 10 days each.
- Some things that I enjoy (spontaneous road trips) cause a disruption in our life that lasts for about a week after and we could benefit from better planning them, and the following week. Rather than be spontaneous, we’ve decided to use a planned road trip as our reward at the end of this 100 days and before the next 100 days.
- Having goals for 100 days (just over 3 months), and even better, 10 days, is so much easier for me to stick with than trying to plan out an entire year.
- This worked best for me starting when the kids’ started school, I’m going to plan to do two 100-day goal sessions using these books this year, once starting in September and once starting in January when they go back to school.
For the goal-oriented person in your life
If you have someone in your life that is goal-oriented, this would make a great gift! Even better, if this sounds like you, giving this gift to yourself and another to a friend to start a the same time can help you both accomplish major goals in 100 days with focus and gratitude.