A couple of weeks ago I purchased one of Myleik Teele’s “Learn More to Earn More” journals and was trying to find a strategy for how I’d use the notes portion. Coincidentally, I came across an article (I can’t remember where) about affirmation journaling. This particular definition encouraged the writer to recap their day as if they were living out their dream life. So instead of journaling about what actually happened that day, you would create a journal entry and describe the kind of day your future, successful self would have. I thought this was a great idea that I just had to try!
Recently, I’ve started to reconsider some of my previous career plans. I’ve been re-evaluating my definition of success, reviving some old goals, ditching some new ones, and trying to get back on a clear path. So without hesitation, I whipped out a piece of paper and started my entry for the day. I imagined that I was about 5 years down the road and working as a consultant, providing trainings for other higher education professionals. I imagined that universities all over the country would contact me to host workshops for their staff. Sometimes I would fly out to the school, other times I’d host a teleconference. On this day in my affirmation journal, I was hosting a training via Skype. I let my imagination run wild, because hey- I’m creating my dream life, right? And in this dream world, I worked with universities in parts of the country that I had never visited. I began writing, “Today, I hosted a webinar for staff members at the University of Wisconsin on personal branding”
But all of a sudden I stopped.
Something about that statement immediately felt wrong. Maybe it was Wisconsin (I don’t know what made me choose that state) or was it more than that? Sure, national consulting sounds fun but once I started writing, I wasn’t so sure that it was a life meant for me. I didn’t feel connected with that statement. This made me wonder how many times I’d made that same mistake.
Sometimes a goal sounds fabulous and seems glamorous so we assume that it is something we should be striving for but we never take the time to imagine ourselves really living out that fantasy. Many times we visualize goals as if we were watching a movie and not as if we are personally involved in it. Try this: instead of just “seeing” yourself driving a new car, imagine it as if you were inside the car driving it. How does it smell, how does the steering wheel feel, what can you see out of the window, what music do you have playing? Feels different, right? That’s the same effect that this activity had on me. It was a very powerful moment because it helped me realize that as awesome as that goal was, it wasn’t actually what I wanted to experience. I’m pretty sure it was Ms. India Arie that said, “Now you know the truth but the way it feels” and indeed she was right. I was not being honest with myself about this goal. I even went as far as journaling all of my goals as if they’d happened that same day then I’d read it aloud and see how it felt. Did it feel like something I actually wanted to achieve or did it just sound good?
Now it’s your turn. Give affirmation journaling a shot and let me know if you discover any goals that you want to ditch or if you realize that there are some that you’re even more excited about after the activity. Happy journaling!