5 Step Journaling for Success Practice: Reduce Overwhelm & Feel Great | By Lynda Monk

Woman Journaling for Success on Desk

Coaching clients often have goals like losing weight, getting fit, de-cluttering, cleansing, growing their business/career, taking a dream trip, journaling more, writing a book, sparking more romance in our relationship, moving beyond procrastination, letting go of perfection, forgiving someone or ourselves, making more money, saving more money, being happier and many more.

Until turned into goals, these are ideas really - loosely held possibilities; if all the stars align, courage comes, willpower stays and a boost of inspiration flows at just the right time.

Now, as a Virgo, organization is my thing. And I love goals and goal setting. Dreaming big. Planning it all out. Making lists, mind maps, and a calendar filled with coloured post-it-notes to see all my intentions and activities out in front of me. I have more pens, papers, folders, systems than your average office supply store. And I have tons of journals. I also have affirmations, quotations, heart cards like this one: "Reclaim your power and regain your freedom" and more taped to my walls, desk and throughout the pages of my journal. I am an inspiration junkie!

I also love to learn, attend teleseminars, webinars, courses - both in-person and online.  I read every day. My mind is constantly being filled with new ideas, new knowledge, and some old ideas that feel new. Information and inspiration are fuel for my goals!

Success is about more than just doing...

I have systems, inspiration and learning. And I also take a lot of ACTION.  I get lots of things done in the average day - serve clients, create new things, write, run my business, care for our sons, our dog, love my husband, talk to my mom most nights, try to keep up with friends, exercise regularly, eat healthily and more.

All good, right?

Well, after a lot of soul searching and journaling, I realized I wasn't getting the RESULTS I want. I wasn't achieving my most important goals. I'm busy doing lots of things all the time, but not necessarily focused on the right things - key actions in service to my top priority goals.

And it came down to overwhelm. Information overload. Not enough down time or still moments. Having too many goals, and some goals that don't light my fire. Being spread too thin. Not paying enough attention to how I want to feel along the way. Does this sound familiar?

So, how do we get the RESULTS we want?

There are always obstacles along the path to being and doing our best. Overcoming these is how we grow and succeed.

I realized that in order to achieve my most inspired, specific and meaningful goals, I have to take the RIGHT ACTION consistently. And that needs to align with how I want to feel in life and my business.

Consistent action towards a very specific goal and desired feelings = Results, Balance and Success!

So I created something new to help me achieve my goals and take the right actions - a simple process that keeps me on track, helps me prioritize and keeps me accountable.

I doubled my revenue using this "Journaling for Success" practice as a key tool to ensure my actions and behaviours aligned with accomplishing my top priority goals and desired feelings.

Here are the 5 Steps of the "Journaling for Success" practice:

  1. Reduce the number of goals you want to achieve at any given time. In other words, plan to achieve less!
  2. Get really clear on your top priority goals. These are the goals that will make the biggest positive difference in your life, vitality, joy and business.
  3. Focus on this simple truth, "If I want to achieve different results, I have to change my behaviour". There's no way around it. If I want to lose weight (which I did last year - 20 lbs) I need to exercise more (daily) and eat less. If I want to earn more revenue in my business (which I do) then I have to market wisely and consistently (daily). And on it goes!
  4. Each day ask yourself, "Do I like the results I'm getting?" and spend 5 minutes or so journaling your response.
  5. If you notice you don't like the results you're getting (or not getting!) then ask yourself, "What behaviours do I need to change? What do I need to start doing, and/or what do I need to stop doing in order to achieve the results I want?" Then spend a few minutes journaling your responses to these questions and course correct based on the answers you receive from within. Tip: These answers always come when you give time and space to listen within and write - your inner wise guide is always available to you!

This simple check-in and reflective journaling practice not only helped me get really clear on my goals, but also helped me to simplify them. And it helped me stay focused on taking the right actions that lead to the results I desire.

Try it!  I hope this "Journaling for Success" practice will help you achieve your most inspired and meaningful goals for this year and beyond!

Lastly, remember to be kind and compassionate with yourself. Don't beat yourself up for not taking action. Simply pause and ask yourself, "What do I need to have success with this?" Maybe you need more support, a heart to heart conversation, a buddy system, a bigger "why" (more motivation for achieving your goal). Whatever it might be you need, seek it and move towards your deepest desires and goals – one action step at a time!

Additional Reflective Journaling Prompts

Woman Journaling for Success on Desk

You may also like to use these reflective journaling prompts to help you get clear on your goals, desired feelings and support needed.

  • What are your top 3 goals at this time in your life? Write them down.
  • Why is this goal important to you?
  • How do you want to feel?  For example, I wanted to release weight (20 lbs) because I wanted to feel energized, fit, healthy and at my personal best. I want to grow my business because I want to feel more free and prosperous, and like I am having a greater impact and reach with the work that I do.
  • How will attaining this goal help you feel that way? Tip: Our desired feelings propel us to take action!
  • How will you know you have achieved this goal? Be specific.
  • What will be different (better) when you achieve this goal (desired feeling)?
  • What supports do you need to achieve success?
  • And finally, we can't get different results by doing the same things – change is essential! So, how will you celebrate your wins and acknowledge your success towards your goals (desired feelings) along the way?


Remember that you are powerful!

You can achieve anything you put your mind to, feel how you want to feel. You can take the necessary actions to achieve your goals (no matter how big or small your goal might be, they just have to matter to YOU). And you deserve to achieve your deepest desires and highest dreams.

You are enough! You can do this - whatever "this" means to you. Your goals - your happiness, health and fulfillment matter!

If you're drawn to take some time for yourself to dive into the art and heart of expressive writing and journaling, join Lynda's inspiring Transformational Writing for Wellness Salon. Create, write, reflect and replenish, nourish your mind, body and spirit! Accessed online with self-guided or group coaching options.

If you liked this article on success, journaling and journaling practices, you may also like:
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Contributing Author:

Lynda Monk, MSW, RSW, CPCC is the Director of the International Association for Journal Writing. Lynda regularly writes, speaks, and teaches about the transformational and healing power of writing. She is the co-author of Writing Alone Together: Journalling in a Circle of Women for Creativity, Compassion and Connection (2014), and co-editor of Transformational Journaling for Coaches, Therapists, and Clients: A Complete Guide to the Benefits of Personal Writing (2021). Lynda is also co-editor of The Great Book of Journaling (2022). You can find her FREE gift for coaches here: Gratitude Journaling for Coaches & Clients Workbook.

Learn more about Lynda & see all their articles here >>

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