LifeJournal™ Newsletter – December 2010

The last couple of weeks in December  and the next ones in January are exciting times for journal mavens around the planet. We’re using this time of year to look back, to reflect on our lives. It’s the harvest season for journal writers where we gather the fruits and glean the wisdom of our journal writing for the year. Although we can do this any time, the weeks around the New Year call us to action.
It’s also a great time to renew our interest and dedication to journal writing, breathing new life into the process. We’re here to encourage and support you, and so we bring you a suite of truly exciting, thought-provoking classes that will shift your view of the world and yourself in the world.  You couldn’t ask for more experienced, dedicated, and knowledgeable teachers to bring you new perspectives, new energy, and tangible shifts in your lives.  Each of these world-class professionals will work with you, responding directly to you–and they love doing it. These classes have value way beyond their six or eight week class time, bringing everlasting change to your life.

Don’t Delay: Enroll in a Journaling Class NOW!

There are a few spots left in these classes, but hurry, they are filling up!

Mark Matousek’s Spiritual Journaling—This class is packed with stunning perspectives, break-through writing exercises which help you to discover new ways to view your life, and helps you explore below the surface of everyday existence of your life to something deeper and more meaningful. Mark is a fabulous teacher, very responsive and works with you from exactly where you are. THREE SPOTS LEFT!

Beth Jacobs’ Writing for Emotional Balance—This class is one-of-a-kind! Psychologist Beth Jacobs has 25 years of experience working with people’s emotions and researching brain functionality. In this outstanding class she combines scientific knowledge of how the brain works and applies that to writing exercises to help you successfully manage your emotions. If emotions are a recurring issue in your life—if they either can overwhelm your life, or if you can’t connect with your emotions—this class will likely change your life. FOUR SPOTS LEFT

Joyce Chapman’s Live Your Dream—Joyce has worked with thousands of people over the years helping them find and then truly live their dream lives. This is the first time that Joyce has taught this landmark class online with us, and we’re thrilled to have this grande dame of journaling with us. SIX SPOTS LEFT!

From all of us at LifeJournal, and from my family to yours, wishing you a peaceful, prosperous, and healthy New Year!

Ruth Folit

Setting Goals for the New Year: Use Your Journal for Course Corrections
By Ruth Folit

Life is a lot like sailing a boat.  Getting from Point A to Point B doesn’t mean that you move along a straight line. Depending on the way the wind is blowing, the depth of the water, and the water current, you zig and zag your way from your beginning point to your destination. Tacking—or zig-zagging through the water—is the tried-and-true method of sailing. However, when we find ourselves zigging and zagging away from a goal, or perhaps even standing still, there’s a bit of embarrassment perhaps with a dollop of fear and shame and a sense of failure often accompanied by grumbling and muttering. This isn’t the way we imagine navigating through the world.

This kind of thinking isn’t helpful, is it?  There are so many variables in the world, circumstances are changing constantly, personal situations and priorities are constantly shifting. The trick, I believe, is to learn to catch the wind of life, by being attentive, flexible, and responsive. You can use your journal to help. It’s nice to have some structure and plan, yet also be flexible to adapt to changing conditions. Below is one way to approach setting your goals for the year.

First, re-read your journal entries. Here are some questions that you might ask yourself as you review your journal:

  • What did you accomplish this year?  Make a list—perhaps annotated with encouraging comments. Spend some time honoring yourself, fully feeling pride, satisfaction, fulfillment, and all of our other positives about all that you have done. They can be accomplishments of any size–from the cleaning out of the front hall closet to the writing of a book: They are all worthy or your own recognition. Write yourself a letter congratulating yourself.I imagine that you will be surprised at what you have carried out this year. This journal entry can be a supportive reference entry that you return to whenever you are discouraged by colliding into the inevitable challenges.
  • What attitudes have helped you achieve your goals?  Being determined? Being persistent? Being playful? Willing to work hard? Being open to risk? Being open to opportunities? Note what worked, and what didn’t work in the attitude department. You’ll find golden keys to success when you answer that question.
  • What did you set out to accomplish that you are still working on? List those goals, as those are important to continue working toward in the upcoming year.  If you are at a standstill on a present goal, ask yourself:  Is it still worth pursuing? Do you want to modify that goal to make it more attainable?  Do you want to shift your attitude about that goal to make it more attainable? Can you hire someone to take on that goal for you, if it’s getting you down?
  •  Where are you frustrations and challenges? Turn them around and make them positive goals for the coming year! Hate to speak in public? Sign up for a public speaking class.  ( I know, this stuff is scary, but also liberating once you’ve jumped the hurdle!)
  • Are there new things that you’d like to do that are extensions of projects that you are working on? Note that some of your goals are explicit and other implicit.  For example, I go on a 20-30 mile bike ride every few days.  My goal is to stay active and fit—not necessarily ride my bike.  Perhaps it’s a good time for me to try a new physical activity that I can do when it’s raining outside—like tai chi or yoga. Get creative with how you view an extension of a project; it might broaden your horizons.
  • Are there totally new areas that you’d like to explore and work on?  If you need some help on that, when you are reviewing your journal entries, note life tangents that piqued your interest, and/or that raised your energy.  Is there something that you have always promised yourself that you’d do, but still haven’t done it?  Write it down, make it explicit, and perhaps even set a date for beginning work towards it.

Once you have a list of goals—ongoing ones that you are still working on; extensions of recent accomplishments that build on what you’ve done; goals that you re-ignite as they are currently stalled; new goals—in similar areas or brand new goals—read them over.  Are they realistic, attainable, worth the effort, exciting, valuable, balanced?  I think it’s laudable to have a spectrum of goals—perhaps some humdrum, but necessary; one or two that are a big stretch for you but worth the hard work; and those in between, that have some parts that are challenging as well as areas that feel comfortable. Also, consider whether all the goals are in the same category, such as  work-driven, or health-driven or financial-driven or interpersonal-driven goals.  Do you want to balance out those areas?
And it’s important to mention that it’s wise to be open to new goals along the way. Things shift before your eyes and to be rigid and have to stick to a pre-set of goals doesn’t allow you to sample the full buffet that life offers.  Also, note that the other side—shifting your goals too quickly because you are bored or frustrated or too challenged – ultimately takes you nowhere.  So use your good judgement in finding the balance setting goals for the year. And remember that the process of reaching your goals is almost never a straight line. Allow–even embrace–the zig and the zag.

End Quotes:

“Use missteps as stepping stones to deeper understanding and greater achievement.” –Susan S. Taylor

“Questioning is an art form in itself.  Inquiring, who are you today, for starters—and what is it that you want most intensely? Where is the intuition leading?  Questions till the ground of “beginner’s mind,” plow fresh road, scrap outdated agendas, help us to reimagine our way.”—Mark Matousek

“Emotional management skills are usually small and simple behaviors or adjustments.  At the same time, the accumulation of these skills leads to profound changes in the quality of a life.”—Beth Jacobs, PhD

“Your dream is as close as your own mental image of it. How many of us go through our lives troubled by a vague sense that the person we are is not the person we really want to be?”—Joyce Chapman

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