Journalling as a mindful practice


Journal Habit

-Andie Leslie.

Creating a journal entry once a week or every few days is an enriching practice, although writing everyday is what I find the most potent.


The ‘journal habit’ is an extremely powerful and strategic mindfulness practice that can transform your life; a tool to discover and dive deep within your inner world and reflect on your outer world. Journaling can act as a compass in the process of navigating your own personal maze, no matter the inevitable number of challenges and dead-ends that may lay in your path.


This practice has positively impacted my life in many ways such as: heightened my level of mental clarity and sense of self-awareness, enabled me to be more driven and confident and has illuminated my core values, priorities, dreams, and goals.


Below are the practical journaling strategies that have positively impacted my life.

I hope to inspire you to create your own Journal habit.





Journaling as a mindfulness practice

Mindfulness is the art of bringing your awareness into the present moment. It’s my belief that journaling is one of the most insightful and powerful mindfulness practices for the modern day human.

Journaling creates a safe non-judgemental space for checking in with yourself. Just as Ice Cube once famously rapped “chickity check yo self before you wreck yo self.”

We live in a fast paced world, where we are over stimulated and busier than queen bee’s. It’s hard not to get lost in a vortex of thought, emotion and feelings of overstimulation from the use of technology. The journal habit allows you to check in with yourself regularly. Why is it important to check in with yourself? Large percentages of our population suffer from prolonged stress, anxiety and depression. I have found that keeping a journal can assist in managing waves of high stress and anxiety. It’s almost like having your own therapist in a sense to flesh out your internal experiences, in a healthy way. I’ve also found that my state of mental clarity while journaling is especially pronounced when listening to nature sounds or chilled music, or even by lighting candles, (I’m all about those candlelit vibes!).

Journaling provides a place and space of solace; you can determine and label your emotions, take note of events and/or, even traumatic experiences in your life. Journaling has helped me to organise events and experiences in my mind, and make sense of darker times and trauma. To me it’s a truly therapeutic process, reducing unhealthy and unhelpful rumination after a stressful or traumatic experience.



Values and priorities

Mapping out and knowing your core values and priorities makes you more grounded in who you are, granting you a better understanding of your purpose and aspirations. Establishing core values provides you with a guide to follow in order to fulfil your own chosen path and goals. Discovering your core values can be achieved by simply creating a list of qualities or aspects of your life that you value highly in dot points, for an example my list is….

  • Health | Fitness

  • Love | Happiness.

  • Family | Friends.

  • Creating positive impact for people and the planet | leading by example and sharing knowledge

  • Dope alchemy (my eco skin, body and self care brand).

  • Creativity

  • Authenticity | Being Real

  • Alchemy

Yours could look like something like this….

  • Health

  • Contribution

  • Family

  • Love

  • Creativity

  • Success

  • Trust

  • Integrity

You can also write or print this list out and put it somewhere that you see, so you are reminded regularly of your values.

On a whole, I have found that discovering my own values has helped me figure out what I really want in life; what sparks motivation and excitement, cements how I want to live, and how I don’t want to live and what does and doesn’t serve my purpose in life or me as a human being. It makes me feel powerful, confident, strong, proud and enhances my self control. It makes me feel more loving and kind toward myself, and to those around me.

And lastly, it gives yourself this platform to create yourself. One of my favourite personal mantras is “create yourself”. Because in my belief system, i believe in every moment you can re-create yourself, and journaling has kept this belief instilled in me.



Dreams and goals

If you’re serious about becoming a wealthy, powerful, sophisticated, healthy, influential, cultured, and unique individual, keep a journal.


Jim Rohn - Powerfully Transformative Keystone Habit

When you microscopically analyse your habitual behaviours, particularly your sabotaging behaviours, you are identifying and pin-pointing what is serving you or not serving you in your life. This awareness enables an opportunity to change and swap those habits.

Journaling daily and writing out a “serving and not serving” list it is one of the most powerful journal practices you can acquire (in my humble opinion). If done consistently and correctly you can show up better in all areas of your life. For me I personally changed and debugged my procrastination habits and exercise, or lack of exercise routine. Here is the system I learnt to identify and generate new habits.

One: define the problem/goal. Two: define the barrier to reach your goal. Three: come up with 1- 5 creative ways to reach that goal. Four: pick 2-3 new habits with your logical mind. Five: write down what you're intuition says.

Now it’s time for what I call radical action. This is the process of creating steps toward forging new habits. You have explored your logical and intuitive ideas, and it’s time to turn these ideas into daily habits, rituals and practices.

Example for changing a procrastination habit:

One: Identify a procrastination habit on social media. Two: create set times to go on social media. Three: put a timer on social media use. I have set times in the day that I use social media. Four: When I go to use social media unnecessarily, do ten star jumps or 50 squats instead. Use the iPhone feature that sets a limit on social media. Put my social media app on a single page on my screen so it takes more swipes and clicks to get to it so I have more time to stop myself. Five: Use the phone’s limited time feature and create set times if you have lots of social media posts for business.

Now you have created a game plan for creating a new habit, so rather than being a victim to your habitual behaviours you are now aware and empowered to create that positive change. This is such a simple way to clarify what actions you need to take from that moment onwards to change the trajectory you’re one, especially if you know what doesn’t serve you in your life. it gets your excited and inspired by the future, and gives your a vision of re-creating yourself in every moment and in the future. It keeps you pursuing your greatest version.


One to five year goal I create a one to five year goal and break it down to these categories: finance, health, relationships, fun, leisure, purpose/meaning and charity.


- Write down all the aspects of your life that you are trying to improve down to a T. be detailed. I learnt to break it down into this system by answering these prompting questions…


Financial

If you have a job, how much would you like to be earning? What’s your vacation policy look like? Who do you work with? What are your work hours? How much do you have saved already? How often do you take vacations and where do you go? Maybe you even want a completely different job (haha)?


Health and fitness What weight would you like to be? How would you like clothes to fit? How do you want to feel? What do you want to be eating every day? Do you workout with anyone? How do you exercise? Gym, yoga, Walking your dog's? Do you have an illness that’s been healed? Do you have an illness that needs healing? Is there someone or people who are able to help you to heal if you need support?

Relationships What’s your relationship status? Or if you want a new relationship/person, what is this person like? How do they make you feel? What things do you do together? What about the relationship with your parents, your current spouse, your kids? Do you have lots of new friends doing exciting things, or a core group of people you love that you can rely on?

Leisure

What do you do in your spare time? Do you have a side business that you’ve started?

Do you work less hours at work, so you can afford the luxury of time - but make the same money? Do you go on vacations? Where? What do you do? Do you volunteer at a charity? Or donate?


The look and feel of success You can also do a exercise and ask yourself “ success looks for me like” and write:

Attitude of gratitude. Perhaps this concept might sound lame or even a bit too spiritual for you, but I ask you to hold no judgement to the power of counting your blessings and showing daily gratitude. An attitude of gratitude puts your mind into a positive mindset. Gratitude allows a fulfilment of the present moment. I have found writing 3 - 5 things that you’re grateful for makes you feel happier and more compassionate and has the ability to snap you out of a negative mindset or thought trail. I personally practice gratitude everyday, whether it be by journaling, or in my head while I'm driving, brushing my teeth or walking.





Guide to my personal daily bullet proof journal practices. Here are some practical journal practices to enhance your life in a minimal, yet effective way. ‘Keep it simple stupid’, as they say… well here are my simple bullet proof journal to optimise your self awareness, emotional/mental state, creative potential, and ability to determine and accelerate your ability to manifest your goals.

Checking yo self. “How am I?” or a title of “feelings and vibes” Here is the way I structure the following section: One: I write down in dot points identifying my emotions and feelings Two: I elaborate and explore some of the feelings, and become my own detective as to what has triggered these emotions. Three: After writing down the dot points I just write wildly, a stream of consciousness approach, and write whatever comes out of me for a few pages.

Tip: you can just do one of these, two of these or all of these.

Serving - not serving. This is a way to keep tab, and reflecting on habits that are serving or not serving you. -keep a serving and non serving journal page. Drew Manning, a Health and fitness expert and a New York Times best-selling a says that in keeping a serving and non serving journal list you “understand the process of habits, rather than the results. It means you’re taking care of yourself”. example: you can micro manage the food you eat, bad habits.

The most important thing with habits, is to either keep or drop them.

Take time to learn how you best compact and most effectively establish new habits, intergrade and keep them. If you do work your mojo, and stick to your guns, you’ll become more and more empowered over time.


You did good. Write down bullet points of mini achievements that you’re proud of. A positivity segment in each journal is about cultivating optimism. For this method, I create bullet points of three or more good/positive things that are occurring or have happened from the day. example: doing that workout, finishing that book, smiling at a stranger.

I also like to draw smiley faces, and love hearts next to these because it’s a nice, extra self lovin’ gesture to yourself. Sometimes I’ll do a “you did good, real good” list. This is a list that you are super proud of. Like doing that 10k run for the first time after training for 4 months.


Forgive yourself. Be kind to yourself guys, we can hold so much self judgement and we can forget that we are humans, and that we learn and grow from mistakes. Mistakes are my catalyst to level up. In this section you can write down bullet points of things to forgive yourself for. This might have been when you were 5 or 25, the time and place is irrelevant. Forgiveness allows you to let go of the past, and a huge weight can be lifted, fuck yes. Holding on to the past and self judgements can debilitate you and leave bitterness within you, or even others. You can also do this list for other people who have done something that hurt you and it’s still lingering. Forgiving others is a very powerful practice. Forgiveness is one of the greatest tools I given to myself.


A self loving sign off. I usually finish my journal session with an affirmation, “you got this”, “go girl, you got this”, “I’m proud of you Andie” or an “i love you, you got this”.

Writing a self loving sign off after your journal session can assist you in staying on your a-game and leave you feeling extra, and on top of the world. For me this sign off practice has been a game changer. Over the years I have noticed it has influenced my belief system, self love, and sense of wroth, and kept me on track with my life. If I have spent a session purging a lot of negative emotions or thoughts, despite being a good and healthy practice, I sometimes feel a bit drained and down. Signing off with “you got this” sets a new tone in that very moment.


A tip: I encourage you to make your own up that resonates with you, or an affirmation that you know will benefit you.


Other tips:

  • Fuck spelling and grammar. Pfft, forget about about grammar and spelling: Just go with the flow, get whatever you need down on the page.

  • Be real. Be yourself, be real, write truthfully and honestly, the key is being completely authentic, which enables you to truely on our what going on in your inner world. Remember a journal is a place of privacy and solace, somewhere that you express anything, you don’t need to worry of what others might think of you, so go wild.

  • Length of sessions I find journaling to be most effective in bursts of 10 to 20 minutes, this makes the journaling an easier habit to practice on a daily basis but there are no rules with journaling write for as long as your heart desires.

  • Hand written or digital journal I keep a digital and hand written journal. I go into a flow state using both mediums.



One last thing!

Before you dive into a journaling habit, I encourage you to start slow with journaling, take day by day, or week by week. Start small, ten minutes a day, or even ten minutes a week if you need a slower integration of journaling into your life to become a habitual behaviour. Choose a few strategies to start with, or just one, and remember there are no rules with journaling. In time your habit and practice of journaling will grow and take it own journey that bests suits you. The way i personally journal works and resonates with me, you can draw from the strategies and use them as inspiration to develop and create your own journal habits.

Love,

Andie Leslie.

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