I’ve recently purchased a journal (affiliate link) that is designed to help the user improve themselves and get things done by setting goals and reviewing them periodically. I’ve been journalling since I was something like 9 or 10, and I still find it helpful, so I decided to try this new experience starting from this new school year.
I want to see if I can survive the busiest time at school without becoming as stressed and bad tempered as I did last year. I’m hoping this journalling process will help me find focus and put things into perspective in the long term. I am writing this post to note down my impressions about it after using the journal for a bout a month, so that I can later go back and review them when I’ll have been using it for 6 or 12 months.
How it works
Basically, before setting goals and journalling you are encouraged to reflect and think deeply about your life, what’s important to you and what you want to make of the time you have. I found this part the most exciting and refreshing, as it made me look at the bigger picture instead of always concentrating on daily problems and routine.
From this bigger picture, you are then guided in imagining what your life would be like if the things that are holding you back changed. This is designed to give you motivation throughout the year to keep pursuing your goals.
From the big picture, you then write down smaller, reachable goals in a 90-day planner, that you will then revise and work on every single week and day. For every day (excluding Sunday) you have a few questions for the morning to help you focus your mindset for the day, and more questions for the evening to make you reflect on your day.
On Sunday you then reflect back on your week, and compare it to the goals you set. Basically you see where you’re at, and decide where to go from there.
As I mentioned before, I really love the idea of bringing my bigger life goals into focus, and then breaking them down into smaller, reachable objectives. It helps me put things into perspective when I feel caught up in everyday routine and keeps me motivated during bad days.
I also like the fact that every single day you are encouraged to see the good things that happened, how you created value, but also to think about where or how you could improve. It really gives you a sense of self-worth and achievement.
On the other hand, when you see that you keep making the same mistakes, or neglecting the same things, you start wondering whether it is working. It might feel demotivating to see that you actually went in the opposite direction to what you had planned or hoped for in the morning.
In addition, it takes up quite a lot of time. I don’t mind it because I love journalling anyway, but I can see how this can be difficult for someone who is not used to writing every day. It could just feel like yet another thing that you have to do.
So far I’ve found the experience quite enjoyable. Thanks to this system, I have started exercising more regularly and reflecting more on what I do. I think it would be a great idea to have something like this for my teaching too (if only I had the time), to help reflect on my lesson and my development as a teacher.
The only problem is that I am not sure I will be able to keep it up once things start to get crazy at work. I guess I will just have to wait and see.