Sneak Peek: A Look Into My Journal (05/01/2017)

Here’s another look inside my journal… so you can learn what I’m learning, alongside me!

sneak peek

Lord, my problem isn’t trusting You that you CAN do things — I believe You are fully capable. My problem is that I always have a hard time believing in Your WILLINGNESS to help me, or to do anything for me.

I guess it’s because I view You as a parent… with human parents, I’ve been taught that I will be “rewarded” for doing things correctly; for obeying.

And while -yes- You bless my obedience… it’s what that obedience CONSISTS of that is different, right? Instead of me striving to earn “rewards” by doing things right, obedience (in Your eyes) consists of SURRENDERING to Your Spirit — correct? No more striving or doing… just releasing control to Your Holy Spirit (within me), trusting Him to handle things… Seeking You is the most important thing!

Have I got it, Lord? Is this the answer?

“Seek ye FIRST the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness,
and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33)

( ^^ this verse came to my mind ^^)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean 
not on your OWN understanding; in all your ways
acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths
straight.” (Proverbs 3:5,6)

“A mind set on the Spirit is LIFE and peace…”
(Romans 8:6)

So, if I stop worrying about ___, and instead just trust You, Lord, that You will provide what I need in Your timing… and I instead focus on both seeking You, and serving those I come into contact with, You will help me succeed? Is that what You’re telling me, Lord?

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
and all your plans will succeed.”
(Proverbs 16:3)

….Aha! Seeing this verse with “new eyes”, right now! Instead of it meaning “ask God to bless what you’re going to do“, that word, “COMMIT” means GIVE IT OVER TO THE (SPIRIT) — in other words, SURRENDER — and then, of course, “your” plans will succeed, because they’re really God’s plans FOR you, and He is the one accomplishing them … not me! Wow.

Thanks for these insights, Lord!

 

Bullet Journaling: An Updated Look

A while back, I shared a post about Bullet Journaling, and why I chose that method for planning out my time. Today, I wanted to give you an updated look at how I’ve come to use my journal.

Bullet Journal updated

Note: If you haven’t tried Bullet Journaling, just yet, feel free to visit my previous post to learn more about the system.

So, in the beginning of using my journal, I had to try several different layouts. I wanted to be able to track my health, as well as my business activities, and then my personal items, as well. After a while, I decided that I liked this layout best:

bullet journal | a life unleashed

On the left-hand page, I have just the days of the week listed Monday through Sunday. This gives me lots of room to note what I have going on. Then, on the right-hand page, I have the “week of…”, a large “Notes” section (where I jot down what went well, or what didn’t, and that sort of thing — anything important I want to remember), and below that, a section for 3 things I’m grateful for that week, and my weight-loss progress.

bullet journal update | Life, Unleashed  bullet journal update | Life, Unleashed

(^^ a couple of closer-up views)

I also have a color code that I use when making notes (though, all you see in the pictures above are the “Gym” reminders).

And, that’s it! That’s how I’ve chosen to do my Bullet Journal system, for now. Everything else (the monthly pages, brain dump area, etc) is all the same.

I’m still using the same book from 2016, as I stopped tracking for a while, and only recently picked it back up. So there’s still plenty of room. Once again, this is why I love the bullet journal — for its flexibility!

Want to see more about Bullet Journaling? Check out a few of my favorite posts done by others!

Tiny Ray of Sunshine’s “Thorough Guide to Bullet Journaling

(as well asThe 8 Stages of Bullet Journaling Addiction“, on that same blog^)

Modern Mrs. Darcy’s “My 3 Favorite Tips & Tricks After 3 Months with the Bullet Journal

 

ROUND-UP: The Scientific Benefits of Journaling

There have been a lot of studies done on the benefits of journaling. It’s great not just for your mental and emotional health, but also for your physical health!


“I never travel without my diary. One should always
have something sensational to read on the train.” ~ Oscar Wilde


RoundUp: The Scientific Benefits of Keeping a Journal | Life, Unleashed

For today’s round-up post, I’m sharing links to articles that will give you more information on the benefits you can glean from journaling:

 

Why should I bother journaling when I’ve already got too much on my plate?” The following facts may convince you. {The Health Benefits of Journaling, PsychCentral | read more…}

 

“…[Journaling is] a great tool for just allowing some new perspective and a space to vent without judgment or advice. But for all of those skeptics out there who don’t understand how something like this could actually help, well, there’s science to prove it.

It’s so simple you might as well give it a shot! What do you have to lose? It just might help you more than you might have imagined.

“…Aside from drastic improvements to your mood and emotional well-being, writing out your thoughts and feelings regularly can actually benefit your physical health as well. Journaling can increase your chance of fighting specific diseases like asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, AIDS and cancer. Amazingly, it can even help physical wounds heal faster.” {…How Writing in a Journal Can Actual Benefit Your Emotional & Physical Well-Being, Collective Evolution | read more…}

 

“…The benefits of journaling are long-term. Not only will journaling help you recover from an experience in the moment, but it will also prepare you to face future similar scenarios.” {Science Shows Something Surprising About People Who Still Journal, Connections.mic | read more…}

 

“Setting time aside to write, whether morning or evening, is an act of discipline. And discipline begets discipline. Like a muscle, the more you exercise it, the stronger it becomes. And habits formed in one area of life have a tendency to spread…” {10 Surprising Benefits You’ll Get From Keeping a Journal, Huffington Post | read more…}

 

“As my tasks started to align with my goals, I felt more organized—more focused—on what I was doing and why I was doing it.”

“…Journalling has actually been studied intensely over the years. Psychologists have looked at everything from daily creative writing exercises to a structured, standardized question-and-answer format to expressive writing as a means of therapy.” {The Science of Journaling: Why Writing Things Down Makes You More Productive, Shopify blog | read more…}

 

“…there is no wrong answer. No matter what you’ve decided, a journal can help you with it. That’s how flexible and useful a tool a journal is: it can help shed light on achieving any possible goal out there.” {Journal Writing: 5 Smart Reasons Why YOU Should Start doing it TODAY, LifeHack | read more…}

 

“The importance of committing our desires to paper cannot be overstated. It is a simple process, but it pays great dividends.”

“… we are forced to think through our process on a deeper level. The discipline forces us to answer the difficult questions of “why,” “how,” or “why not?” The answers to these questions are not just helpful as we move forward to repeat successes and avoid mistakes, they can be therapeutic as well.” {8 Reasons Keeping a Journal Can Help You Reach Your Goals, BecomingMinimalist | read more…}


“…unless it is committed to paper, you can lose an idea forever.” – Will Self


 

A Sneak Peak: Into My Journal (02/17/2017)

Here is yet another installment of the “Into My Journal” series, where I share a snippet from my own journal in order to show you the benefits of journaling, and to (hopefully) encourage you through the lessons I’ve been learning through my own writing.

Sneak Peek: A Snippet from my Journal | Life, Unleashed

This past week, I’ve been researching “giving yourself permission to succeed” (and to earn money), and it has been really insightful. I so often subconsciously wait for “permission” before I move forward. And mostly, it’s because I am afraid of making the wrong choice — of having to start over again. I hate doing something “for nothing”.

Though, really, there are 2 truths here:

1) It’s not really “for nothing” if I’ve learned something from it (for example, this isn’t the way for me)

2) Failure and making mistakes are a part of success and moving forward in life! The choice is either (a) play small, never risking anything in order to avoid all mistakes — but then dealing with the end-of-life regrets (and never truly LIVING), or (b) taking the leaps of faith, trying and testing and tweaking and learning, and continuing to move forward, having experienced this thing called “LIFE” and all it has to offer — and being able to say, at the end, “WHOOHOO! What a ride!

So the choice is obvious. I need to stop being ruled by my fears, and just go out and live… accepting whatever results may come from my choices.


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Sneak Peek: Into My Journal (02/06/2017)

Here is yet another installment of the “Into My Journal” series, where I share a snippet from my own journal in order to show you the benefits of journaling, and to (hopefully) encourage you through the lessons I’ve been learning through my own writing.

Sneak Peek Into My Journal | Life, Unleashed

So, here is an entry from December 13, 2016:

…It’s not like I don’t have any ideas on what to write — I have TONS of ideas!!! It’s just this dang fear… fear of my writing being “not good enough”, and fear of doing all the work and not getting anything from it (eg. comments). I guess part of that is impatience, too, as the longer my content is ‘out there’, the more likely it is to be found.

God says that I should be writing, anyway, because I at least have an “audience of One” — “Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31). It’s all for Him, in the first place (or, it should be).

And — AHA! — this is a TRUST issue, too! By worrying about my writing not being seen, not being good enough, or not getting comments, I’m in essence saying that I don’t trust God to take my writing and accomplish His purposes for it! Not to mention, I’m being selfish by wanting my writing to give me something in return for my efforts (that’s entitlement), and prideful in expecting it to all be so good that people can’t help but comment.

I’m people-pleasing… seeking my readers’ approval, rather than God’s. Yet, God’s approval is the only thing truly necessary or important (or, it should be).

Thanks for all of these insights, Lord. Please renew my mind so that I write for You… give me the desire to do so, please. And help me to trust You to do with my writing what You please — to use it for Your purposes. Help me to see & remember that my job is solely to faithfully write and be obedient, and to leave the outcomes to You.

(FYI… other than omitting the first part, which was too personal to share, this is exactly what had been written in my journal.)

Sneak Peek: Into My Journal (01/02/2017)

Once again, I’m sharing a snippet from my own journal, in order to show you how you can get clarity through writing, and how God can use your journal to teach you things.

Sneak Peek Into My Journal | Life, Unleashed

This entry is from July 20, 2016:

…That makes me wonder if my whole blogging premise is worth it? But, I know that it is not me who will change people’s minds. In fact, it’s like God and I are tag-teaming! All I can do is write about my own beliefs, experiences, and perspectives. Then God can step into the lives of my readers, and help open their minds to what He wants them to see.

My job is not to be successful, or to change people’s lives. My ONLY JOB is to be faithful and obedient to God, and to write. He will do the rest.

(FYI: nothing was changed… this is what I’d written in my journal. Though, I had to omit the first part of my entry, as it’s too personal)

Sneak Peek: Into My Journal

In order to give you guys an idea of what journaling can do for you, I’ve decided to be really candid, and let you peek inside my journal, once in a while. I’d like to show you how my journals help me get clarity, and how God speaks to me through the pages.

Sneak Peek: A Snippet from my Journal | Life, Unleashed

So, here is an entry from November 17, 2016:

I’m back to the same old sticking point — the “quicksand” that stops me every time I try to move forward…the fear of writing content that others will read.

And, as I just wrote that last sentence, God whispered, “Why don’t you give Me that fear, just like you gave Me your fear of flying?” He reminds me that I’ve never offered Him this fear, yet.

So yes — here you go, Lord — I am handing over my fear of writing to You. Please take it from me and don’t let me try to grab it back! I’d really love to move forward, and this fear needs to go! It needs to get out of my way!!! (Get behind me, Satan! In Jesus’ name!).

After all, God does NOT give me a spirit of fear & timidity (that’s Satan’s work). Instead, God gives me self-discipline, along with His power & love. So I am ABLE to write what others need to hear from me (through Jesus at work through me).

Please, Jesus, take this spirit of fear from me. Help me to be BOLD like the lioness that You are calling me to become! I want others to see the transformation in me, so that they will have the courage to pursue it for themselves!

(FYI: nothing was edited… this is what I’d written in my journal)

ROUND-UP: How to Start Journaling

One of the things I’ve been told I do well is curating (gathering) information. Because I am constantly reading and researching, I tend to come across a lot of helpful information. But it’s not the most helpful if I keep it all to myself! So, I’d like to share what I’ve found by providing the occasional round-up posts where I link to others’ content.

Round-Up: How to Start Journaling | Life, Unleashed

For today’s round-up, I’m sharing others’ posts on HOW TO START JOURNALING:

 

journalingroutine-belletriste  journalistajournalingmythspin   journaling-tips-pinterest-1

 

And two (2) more, with one that’s more specifically about writing for healing:

How to Get Started Journaling (Elsie Road Magazine)

4 Ways to Write for Healing (Darcy Leech)

Journaling: Why It’s Beneficial & How to Start

If you have ever thought that journaling just isn’t for you, or you don’t think that you would get anything out of keeping a journal … or, heck, maybe you do want to start a journal, but have no idea how to go about it … this post is for you.

Journaling: Benefits & How to Start | Life Unleashed

I have been a journaler since grade school, when an older friend gave me my first diary as a birthday gift. Nowadays, journaling is a practice I can’t live without.

There are so many benefits to keeping a journal! To name just a few of my own personal favorites:

SELF-AWARENESS

You can start to see patterns in your behavior, if you journal on a regular basis. And once you see them, you have a better understanding of yourself and how you act in certain situations.

PROCESSING

I am one of those people who needs time to process things before I can give my full opinion on them. One of the best ways I know to do this is through my journal. Often times, writing out my confusions, troubles, worries, and anxieties in my journal allows me to gain clarity and peace. I can’t even tell you how many times the journaling process has helped me figure out how to move past blocks I’ve had in my understanding of things!

REFLECTION & GROWTH

Somewhat similar to what I said regarding self-awareness, keeping a journal is a good way to notice patterns in your behavior. When you are frustrated with yourself for continually making the same mistakes (or the same kinds of mistakes), your journal can help you figure out what to avoid doing in the future, so as to make course corrections and change your behaviors. It’s only in learning from our mistakes that we grow!

MEMORY-KEEPING

Obviously, when people talk about journaling, this is one of the top things that comes to mind. Many people use journals as a way to keep a record of special things that have happened in their lives.

For me, it’s been very helpful to have a written record to go back through, especially from certain periods in my life. For example, the years when my kids were newborns and toddlers, and I was a walking zombie due to the lack of sleep! Without my journals to remind me of things, there would be a lot from those years that’d be lost.

STRESS-RELIEF

I have often been very much a lone wolf — I don’t get out all that often. So, when I’ve had major upsets, I have turned to my journal and written out my stresses and frustrations. Not only did I get clarity, but I also found that the stress melted away through the pen and onto the page, and I ended up calming down quicker than I would have, had I not had that outlet.

elegant-1769669_1280

So, you see, there are great benefits to becoming a journaler!

My friend, Judy — a lady from my church who is in her 60s — never liked journaling. So, when we were asked to keep a journal throughout the weeks of our one Bible study, Judy made a fuss. Yet, she agreed to try for the sake of getting the most out of the study.

Several years later, after her house had survived an electrical fire, Judy recounted how worried she’d been that she would lose her journals! She had kept up the habit since the study had ended, and she’d grown to love it! For her, journaling had become her way to spend time in prayer with God and, in going back through them, she could see how God had been faithful to answer prayers. Her journals were a precious record of both her relationship with God, and her own spiritual growth.

So, while you may think that taking up journaling isn’t for you, I challenge you not to give up on the idea so easily! You just never know. Maybe you need a new perspective on what journaling could look like for you. Or, perhaps you just need to try a different method than one you’ve tried in the past. Consider the following ideas:

  • Instead of writing daily, try writing only once a week
  • Rather than keeping a record of what went on during the day, just write about the best part (or, reflect on what could have been done / gone differently)
  • Try writing just one sentence each day, instead of a full page
  • Keep a gratitude journal. Each day, just list 3 things you are grateful for (studies have show this to have numerous benefits to your health!)
  • Keep a “work journal” where you write out your to-do’s/schedule, and even reflect on successes or mistakes that happened

There is no right or wrong way to keep a journal. Experiment with different methods to see what could work best for you.

For more on how to get started, and an expanded view of the benefits of journaling, check out these resources:

 

IF YOU HAVE ALREADY BEEN A JOURNALER FOR SOME TIME, LEAVE A COMMENT WITH WHAT YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT IT IS! AND, IF YOU ARE ONE OF THOSE WHO IS SKEPTICAL ABOUT THE PRACTICE, LEAVE A COMMENT AND TELL US WHY!

Bullet Journaling: Why I Chose This Method

Have you heard of the Bullet Journal system? It’s a method for planning that was developed by Ryder Carroll, and I have come to really enjoy it!

Bullet Journaling: Why I Chose This Method | Life, Unleashed

I have always loved the idea of being organized and using a day planner. I’ve previously written posts about using the popular planners, and also about DIY planners. Suffice it to say, I’ve tried many times — and many planners — to be someone who keeps track of their days in some sort of written fashion. But I hadn’t yet found the “right” planner — or system — for me.

…Until now.

Last year, I discovered Bullet Journaling via Pinterest. Basically, you use a notebook or journal (the preference seems to be for either Moleskine or Leuchtturm 1917 journals), and you create your own planner layouts, etc.

For someone like me, who is constantly changing things up ((grins)), the flexibility of this system cannot be praised enough!

With my first attempt, in 2015, I bought a Moleskine (squared) journal from Amazon, and set it up like I’d seen others do via Pinterest. However, after a while, I found myself using the book as a “brain dump/ideas” notebook, more so than a “planner”. That, and I’d fallen behind on indexing everything, which is a key part of this system.

I’d really thought that this method was going to be “it” for me, but this “mess” that my journal had become left me discouraged. And so, I set it aside for a time. Meanwhile, I kept saving pins about bullet journaling on Pinterest — I guess the hope hadn’t completely died.

A short while ago, Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy started using the Bullet Journal system. And, since she’s a blogger who I find to be extremely similar to me, both in personality profile (INFP) and interests (books, psychology, faith), I was super interested in hearing her take on things!

After Anne posted her 3-month update of using her Bullet Journal, I was inspired enough to try again. So, I ordered a Leuchtturm 1917 journal (dotted, this time) from Amazon, and avidly searched Pinterest for ideas while I waited for my new book to arrive. By the time it got here, I was armed and ready with a solid plan.

Part of where I went “wrong” with my first attempt was that I didn’t section anything out; I just tried to go page-by-page. As I said, though, this left everything too scattered for me, and because I’d fallen behind in indexing, it really made my book more time-consuming, rather than time-saving.

So, this time, I chose to create different sections for the various parts and layouts. This was partly thanks to Anne’s update of how she usesher journal, but also partly based on my own idea, given what didn’t work for me the first time around.

I should mention that the first thing I did, before I even got this new journal, was think about what I needed this system (and book) to do for me. Honestly, I don’t think anyone who tries the Bullet Journaling method should skip this step — it’s really key. After all, they say that “if you don’t know your destination, you’ll never reach it”, right? Same thing applies here. You need to start with WHY you’re using a Bullet Journal — what do you need to track? (credit for this goes to Kim at Tiny Ray of Sunshine for her post, “The 8 Stages of the Bullet Journal Addiction).

My own needs (at least, right now) were to track my business & blog-related activities, as well as my healthy-living pursuits. There are other things, too, of course, but those are my two BIGGEST reasons for wanting a place to keep track and plan.

With that said, I chose to set up my Bullet Journal with the following sections, and in this order:

  • 12 pages for the Monthly spreads
  • 52 x 2-page spreads for Weekly
  • a “Lists” section
  • a “Brain Dump & Ideas” section

Here are some pictures of my Bullet Journal, so far:

cover    index  weekly view

weekly view  monthly view  lists view

lists / books  tabs  braindump

(click any of the images to see them larger)

 

The nice thing about the Leuchtturm 1917 (as opposed to the Moleskine) is that its pages come pre-numbered, and they also give you three (3) pages already prepped for your Index, which is super-handy! I also like the two ribbon markers, and the pocket in the back (similar to the Moleskine).

So far (a few weeks into using this new method), I’m loving it. This time I have a “plan” for my planner, and it’s making things so much more enjoyable.

And again, I cannot tell you how awesome it is to have such flexibility! I only set up one week’s spread at a time, thereby allowing me to change things up as I go along, should the need (or desire) arise. And, of course, it already did! LOL. The first week, I found the “to-do” section too small for everything I wanted to note, and the other space too empty. So, for week 2, I added a second column for ToDo’s (one for personal, and one for business), and it’s worked out a lot better. But again, I can still change it up (later), if I need to.

Lastly, the addition of the “brain dump/ideas” section in the back of the book was kind of genius (thanks, Anne!). It allows me to jot down any random thoughts or doodles, without worrying that I’ll “mess up” my weekly spreads, or the order of things, as I’ve set them up.

So, there you have it. I think I’ve finally stumbled upon something that works for me!

HAVE YOU USED THE BULLET JOURNALING SYSTEM? If so, what do you like or dislike about it? Share in the comments!