7 Ways to Use Journaling to Light the Fire in Your Belly


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Do you wake up every day, feeling like your life is filled with purpose? Do you feel like there is a reason to get out of bed? Do you want to be up and about, doing things, because the fire in your belly is burning hard?

If you do, great. If you don’t, then there is a problem.

To be alive does not mean just breathing. To be alive means being filled with passion. Passion to work. Passion to live. If you don’t have that fire burning within you, driving you towards something then something is missing. But just because it’s not there, does not mean you can’t discover it. Here are some ways to use journaling to light that fire:

1. Make a list of what motivates you

What are you motivated by? What really fills you with intense desire to do something? Is it money? Fame? Pursuit of happiness? Dig deeper. Some people run after money because they think having more money would make them happier. So it’s happiness they are after, not money. Some people run after happiness, only to discover that it’s contentment they want. What is your base motivation? What is it that you actually want? You will need to reach a high level of self-awareness before you can accurately figure this one out.

2. What do you feel passionate about?

What are the topics that get you heated? If someone starts talking about orphans, or poverty, or literacy – do  you get all fired up? Perhaps it’s creativity that drives you, or travel, or politics. Figure out what pushes your buttons. Then figure out how to incorporate your passions in your daily life in a positive way. There is no point whining about the state of society. If you actually care, do something about it. No matter how small, an action speaks louder than words.

3. What were some of the most intense days of your life?

When you are intensely focused on something, it is usually because you have a purpose and you are driven to achieve something. Perhaps it was university dissertation, or a project you did at work. Perhaps it was planning your wedding, or renovating your house. Whatever it was – even for a day, or a week or a month – think back to the days when you were intensely focused on something. Be specific as to what these things were and why you were driven to achieve them. Find the motivating source for that kind of focus.

4. What demotivates you?

If you are currently not all fired up about life, if you are not really motivated to get out of bed, and just living for weekends and holidays, then figure out why. Why do you feel this way? Do you feel stuck? In what: work, relationships, routine of your life? What exactly demotivates you? What does this demotivation feel like?

5. What is on your bucket list?

Our long term dreams and objectives can often be the driving force we need. If you don’t have a bucket list, make one. Not just a mental one, but in writing. Put it out there in black and white. Stick it on your wall so that you are constantly reminded of things you want to achieve.

6. Be self-aware

Often the sense of unfulfillment comes from not having fulfilled dreams and objectives that other people or even the society sets for us. Know yourself. Do you feel a lack of purpose and lack of drive because you have nothing of your own to drive towards? Do you feel resentment because the things you are required to accomplish are the things determined by others? What burdens of responsibility are you bearing? Whose dreams are you  carrying?

7. Know that not having THE life purpose is okay

Seriously, most people don’t have just one single purpose. And it’s okay. You don’t need to have a mega thing that encapsulates your entire life. Your life purpose can be driven by emotions, by a sense of purpose, by achievements, by familial relationships. It can be anything that makes you feel fulfilled and that makes you feel alive. It can also be transient. Your life purpose today may not be your life purpose five years from now. And that’s okay.

Keep a record of things that drive you. Note changes overtime. Are they organic changes, or are they forced upon you?

Journaling gives you a deeper awareness. Our memories are malleable. When you keep mental notes, those notes may change to suit circumstances and you may find it easy to make excuses. However, once you have written things, and discovered your motivations in black and white on the page, then there is not much room for argument.

He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.

-Friedrich Nietzsche

So light that fire. Don’t just plod along in your life. Live it. Live every day to the fullest, because you never know how much time you’ve left. 


Make your journal your personal development tool. Start with one of the seven exercises mentioned below.