Ready to change your life? Could it be as easy as implementing 4 simple journaling practices?
Journaling as a Resilience Building Tool
Resilience shrinks the gap between talent and success. I saw it over and over again as a sports agent: top performers recover faster from adversity and find the hidden gifts in failure. But it is a lot easier said than done. So what can you do to build resilience and mental strength in your life? Pick up the practice of journaling. I get it—even I was a little skeptical when I first heard people talk about things like gratitude journals years ago. I mean, what does that really have to do with resilience? But what I’ve found in interviewing over 100 guests on my podcast, is that almost all of them do one of these practices! Everyone does it a little differently, so below are four journaling ideas to get you started
Four Journaling Practices I Love
Shawn Achor, the author of The Happiness Advantage, has spent decades researching happiness. And what he’s found is fascinating: there are ways that you can actually train your brain to be able to become more positive. He’s done this over and over again in studies. You get people to write down three new things that they’re grateful for, for 21 days in a row. Three new things each day. And at the end of that, their brain starts to retain a pattern of scanning the world not for the negative, but for the positive first.
When Adam Grant came on the podcast, he took the gratitude journal and tweaked it. Instead of reflecting on what they had received, Adam asks people to write down three things that they had contributed to others. Focusing on what you do for somebody else reminds you of your purpose and your impact. Reflecting on those contributions strengthens your ability to focus and invest effort even facing challenges and stress.
ESPN analyst Holly Rowe came on my podcast and shared her practice of joy journaling. Holly covers just about every sport for ESPN. In 2015, she was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma– a rare, fast-spreading form of skin cancer and she wasn’t sure if she would survive. She talked about the ways her diagnosis shifted her perspective and really dialed her into the small moments of joy in each day. When she was going through her cancer treatments, Holly said every day felt like a struggle. It’s easy to go to a dark, depressing place when you are dealing with cancer. So as she put it– “I just decided that I was going to focus on my little small joyful moments each day instead of the scary part.” It began one day when she watched a public school choir of little kids sing the national anthem at a basketball game. And she found herself weeping at how beautiful it was. So she wrote it down. And it became a practice: “Today I felt joyful when…” Each day, began documenting what her joyful moment was and this allowed her to live more in those joyful moments and less in that fear.
“Brain dump” Journal:
On the most recent episode of the podcast, Robin Arzón shared her framework for journaling. First, she does a brain dump of all the things she’s worried about. Then she crosses out the things that she cannot control and only focuses on what she can control. From there she comes up with a plan to address what’s on her list.
My Challenge to You
Here’s your homework. For the next 30 days, I want you to choose one of the three journaling techniques I just shared and stick with it. You’ll be surprised what it unlocks in you!
More on Journaling:
- Dansby Swanson on How to Improve Your Mental Approach
- Candace Parker on A Championship Mindset
- Matthew McConaughey on Unexpected Life Lessons from Hollywood and Beyond
- Tony Gonzalez on Leveling Up to Maximize Your Potential
The Molly Fletcher Company inspires leaders, teams and organizations to up their game. A keynote speaker and author, Molly draws on her decades of experiences working as a sports agent. Her company offers training and coaching programs to help leaders unleash their potential, including: Game Changer Negotiation Training, which teaches business people a framework for successful negotiating; The Energized Leader training, which teaches people how to manage their energy to achieve focus and freedom; and a monthly coaching program, Game Changer Leadership Huddles, to help members recharge their purpose and mindset. Sign up to receive our newsletter, subscribe to the Game Changers with Molly Fletcher podcast, and watch her TED Talk on The Secrets to a Champion Mindset.