My Journal has become one of, if not the most powerful tool I have to help me in almost all aspects of my life. It is the tool I use to be proactive, grateful, reflective and organised. It helps me to layout who I am going to be, how I am going to act and what I will achieve that day.
I cannot stress to you enough the power that this journal has given me. If we compare the person I was a year ago to the person I am today the changes have personally been remarkable.
A year ago today I was a personal trainer just as I am today so from the outside looking in not much has changed but here is the truth.
My productivity levels were poor. I would get home from the morning clients and have something to eat, maybe have a nap, watch some TV or play xbox before then heading back to work for the evenings clients, returning home, eating dinner and watching some more pointless TV. I had no drive to take things further or to do anymore than needed to be done. I worked hard in the job but that was about it. I was stuck but didn’t know what to do about it.
I started to journal, not just out of the blue, a mentor had advised it (I will get into how it all started later) I tried it for a day and wrote myself a to do list. That was it, my first journal. It has come a long way since then and has developed over time but that was a start. ‘Hey I actually feel more organised, I have so much time in my day that I waste.’ It was starting a to do list that lead me to actually start doing meaningful stuff with my time rather than watch TV and play xbox.
My time became more meaningful because I had developed a purpose, I wanted to use my time to become an online coach, the first reason I used to help me develop some proactiveness outside of working with clients.
Today this section of my Journal is the ‘What will move things forward?’ section. This is me setting up the actions I am going to take today.
A year ago I would wake up, and the mood I was in was the mood I was in for that day, if I woke up pissed off because it was monday morning and even though I loved my job it was cold and miserable outside and I would have to walk to work in the dark then it was going to be that kind of day.
I believe it was a series of events, youtube videos and guidance from mentors that lead me to realise ‘I can be happy if I want to be, I can be sad if I want to be, I react to any emotion I have in any way I chose to by framing my thoughts.’ If you truly believe this then you can use this to help you. If you are skeptical about this the likelihood is you won’t believe that you can frame your thought and it won’t have a positive effect for you.
If you are skeptical then hear me out. You are in control of your thoughts and actions, these are the two things in this world that you truly have control of, if you don’t believe you have control of such things then you are giving away a part of you to being reactive to the stimulus around you. Understand that you have control of your thoughts and actions, you can choose how you respond to the events in your life. You may have an initial reaction and emotion to a certain event, but you do have the power to stop, think and act upon good judgement and reason and not on emotions. You are in control.
The reason that being able to do this is so powerful and important is because you can set yourself up to feel the way you want to feel and be the person you wish to be. A year later I wake up grateful every day, let’s compare waking up in the dark, wet and cold day today as I did a year ago.
I am grateful to be alive, the odds of us actually being born and living a life are astronomical, to be given a chance to be on this earth and live a life is one of the greatest gifts you could ever receive, what a waste if you do not make the most of it. It’s dark outside, good, that means I am working hard to help people who need help, I am getting up working whilst others lay asleep, I am up getting after it rather than getting a few extra z’s that I don’t need, the day is spent alive and awake and I am ready. It’s cold and wet, some people cower to the cold, I take it on, it builds grit, strength and determination, characteristics I continuously want to develop and refine. The world needs rain and I need the world, without winter there is no summer.
This change of thought process on the world I wake up to has enabled me to be more grateful and to be consistently happy and content. You can view the world and your situation in any light you wish to, its up to you. You are in control. Be grateful for the things you have.
This section is labeled ‘What am i grateful for?’ Nothing imaginative there.
Who am I going to be?
On the day you die, how do you wish to be remembered? What kind of person do you wish to be known as?
I went through an exercise that asked me such questions, doing so enabled me to realise the person I wish to be but also I can chose to be those things and act that way, as I have already said, I am in control of my actions.
For these reason I added a section to my journal where I can express each morning the person I am going to be that day and how will I act.
A year ago the type of person I wanted to be wasn’t ever really a consideration. I felt like a good person and the person I was being was ok. It never occured to me that I can be the type of person I wish to be and it is up to me who that will be. Again it was series of events, youtube videos, books and a desire to develop my journal that enabled me to develop this into my daily activity.
Today I wake up and part of my journal is labelled as ‘To Be;’ in this section I will write down the characteristics I wish to live by, the description of the person I wish to be remembered as. (helpful, kind, listener, proactive, focused, hard working, happy).
Learning, Thoughts and Philosophy:
The last section is an area where I will write down any thoughts, concerns, worries or excitement I have for that day and try to make sense of it. Or if I am learning anything in particular I will rewrite what I am learning in this section.
A year ago I kept my thoughts to myself, any troubles would be locked away until I would explode, philosophy as a word was hippy hoodoo rubbish to me.
Today, If I have any thoughts or concerns I will either write them down or share them with my partner, she will act as a soundboard as I run the thoughts out my head and simultaneously frame my thoughts and actions to solve the issue, from the outside looking in it probably looks like she just sits there whilst I talk at 100mph. But to me she is giving me someone to talk to, to listen to me and help me develop my ideas. She might ask a questions if she doesn’t understand what I am saying but usually she just lets me flow. To have someone in your life that will help you do that is amazing so I cannot thank her enough. The power of silence, eye contact and genuinely listening is undervalued.
Philosophy has become an outstanding factor in my life. The Stoic philosophy hugely appeals to me and is the basis of a lot of the choices I make and the way I live my life. Therefore I currently read a passage from Ryan Holiday’s ‘The Daily Stoic’ everyday and rewrite the passage in my own words so that I can learn and remember the teaching. A lot of people see it as cold, emotionless and living through pain and suffering.
Personally I see Stoicism as being in control of the two things that you can control, your thoughts and actions. Being able to look at things objectively rather than through the lenses of emotions and circumstance that can so often cloud our judgment. It teaches you to be accepting that there are things in this world out of your control and you can only control what you think and do in reaction to such events. It is a way to make the most of your short time on this earth and to help serve the world as best as you can.
This section has no title, crazy I know!
What in the world has this got to do with health and fitness? I sit here thinking there is so much to write about the link of a great journal and your health and fitness, part of me is certain that you would have made the links yourself as you read this but ultimately here are my main three reasons that journalling will help your health and fitness.
Proactivity - It will help you to schedule in your training, plan your meals ahead of time and keep you in routine, and a good routine is your biggest friend in the battle of health and fitness.
Mental Health - I don’t need to say anything, if you think I do the go and read this whole thing again, if you still think so, message me and i will just read this whole thing to you again. Be GRATEFUL (clue)
Taking Control - You are in control of two things in this world, your thoughts and your actions. You can control the way you PERCEIVE an event, person, stimulus, circumstance and an added bonus you get to control how you respond to it, how you ACT. See yourself as a great person, see yourself as worthy because you are, see that you can improve who you are, learn about health, learn about fitness, take action on what you learn and implement it into your life.
The whole ‘I am who I am’ rubbish can leave, ‘that’s just me’ Go Away! ‘ I can’t change who I am’ bullshit. DON’T GIVE UP THE RESPONSIBILITY OF CONTROLLING WHO YOU ARE, WHAT YOU THINK AND HOW YOU ACT.
JOURNAL, IT WILL MAKE YOU A BETTER VERSION OF YOU.