5 Ways to Use Journaling for Motivation



image by claypole


People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.

– Zig Ziglar 


Motivation is usually underrated or misused (particularly in corporate settings). Motivation is not about manipulation. It’s not about carrots and sticks, and fooling yourself or your employees to believe they want something (that’s what marketing is for). Motivation is about genuinely finding the inspiration, drive, and desire for something within you. 

Motivation is about being authentic towards what you want. If you are going to achieve your dreams, you need to have strong enough motivation. If you are going to be successful at something you want to do, you need to be motivated. Often, it will come naturally simply because you are working towards something you want, but there will be times when you have to deal with rejections and defeats, and that’s when motivation disappears. 

You need to be able to rediscover it. You need to be able to tap into the infinite resource that is somewhere inside you, and use it during your darkest hours. 

You can do that by journaling. 


5 Ways to Use Journaling for Motivation 


1. Write about what you want more than anything else

What is it that you want? Is it your dream job, or the perfect partner? Is it to have a child? To travel the world? To have more money? To lose weight? To be more intellectual? To be a better person?

If you are like most people, you probably want most of the things from above. Of course you do. But not all of that will be of equal importance to you at this point in your life. So think about what is the most important.

What is currently, the one thing that you want more than anything else?

2. Why do you want it

Why matters. Why is what drives you to action. If you want something bad enough, that you are willing to suffer for it, to work your ass off for it, there is usually a reason for that. It may be a logical reason or an emotional reason, it may be a reason derived from need or love or fear or something else, but it is definitely there.

Figure out this reason. Why do you want this thing?

3. Visualise the benefits in words. Paint yourself a vivid picture of how you will use this skill or thing or money.

It’s a human tendency to want a better future, and yet be unwilling to compromise the enjoyment of the present. That means that even if you want a richer future – whether financially, socially, emotionally, intellectually – you need to put in some work now. You need to create that future for yourself, which would require some form of hard work, some sacrifices. But most people are unwilling to make those sacrifices today, in the hope of a tomorrow. That’s why most people don’t achieve their dreams.

To be fully in accord with the part of you that wants to achieve things that may cause you temporary inconvenience, you need to be able to feel the benefits of having that prolonged gratification. You need to be able to envision that your life will indeed be better if you achieve this thing that is important to you.

That’s where visualisation comes in. Now, you don’t need to literally just sit there and visualise, though you can do that if you are a visual person. I am a word person. Visualisation just does not work for me. So I create my future in words. I write about it, and imagine – by writing in the present tense – how I feel as I experience that future.

You can do that in your journal. Put yourself in the shoes of your future self, and write from their perspective, how they feel about having achieved this one thing that you – in the present – still haven’t.

4. Set a timer, and make a list of 100 ways to achieve this goal. Tiny steps you can take.

Just start writing. Keep your mind centred on the goal you want to achieve, and your subconscious will automatically supply you with ways to achieve it. It may seem hard to come up with a 100 things, but keep going. Even if you end up repeating items, don’t worry about it. Don’t stop writing until the timer stops, and by the end of it, you will have several good ideas amongst many bad ones. 

5. Take at least one step, and journal about it as an ACHIEVEMENT.

You know what you want. You know what steps you need to take to get it. So start doing it. One step at a time. No matter how tiny. And every time you take that step, make a note of it in your journal under a heading that says “ACHIEVEMENT”. Because it is an achievement. You are now one step closer to reaching your ultimate goal, then you were yesterday. 

BONUS: Do this every day, for every tiny step you take, and you will have a constant resource for motivation. 




2 thoughts on “5 Ways to Use Journaling for Motivation

  1. Dolly,
    I love this multi faceted approach you provide here to tap into using journaling for motivation. I think determining the Why is essential, since it gives you a stronger sense of purpose. And if you see a strong why as a result, that can certainly motivate you to keep moving forward. I also love the idea of writing as if you’re already doing it; that can certainly set the tone for how you might feel in this position, very intuitive. And the list–but of course! Lists are a great way to see something in a new light or appreciate the subject matter in more depth. I love this whole post and think it might come in handy for when someone needs to determine if doing something is worth it or not and then stay motivated when they figure out that it is.

    I have chosen your post, 5 Ways to Use Journaling for Motivation, for Dawn’s #JournalChat Favorite on 9/11/14. I will share the link on my website, in Refresh Journal and on the social networks, including on our new #JournalChat Live Facebook Group! :)

    Thanks for such fab ideas, Dolly. I love your approaches and content in the journaling community. Glad to share!

    Be refreshed,
    Dawn Herring
    Host of #JournalChat Live

  2. Hi Dawn,

    Thanks for choosing the post. It’s essential to see journaling for what it is – a really useful tool for a well-rounded life. That’s what I am trying to tap into here in this post, as well as generally on Kaizen Journaling.

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