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Keep a Daily Journal: Lifestyle Practice

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This Week You’ll Keep a Daily Journal

Simple Instructions:

  1. Sit down for 10 minutes each day and write in a handwritten journal.
  2. Use any kind of journaling you like. Choose something that suits your needs and personal style. Some examples are a diary-type reflective journal, stream-of-consciousness, “free form” writing, or Artist’s Way morning pages.
  3. You can also use any of the journal cues provided below.
  4. Don’t worry about the content. This is not art. It doesn’t even have to be legible or considered “writing.”
  5. All of your thoughts are fair game — don’t censor yourself.

Some Writing Prompts You Can Try:

  • What are three great/amazing/fantastic things that happened today (or yesterday)?
  • What are three things I’m grateful for? If you’re not sure, consider the following:

    • What do I take for granted?
    • What advantages do I have that others don’t?
    • What people have helped me get where I am today?
    • What basic human needs are met in my life that I rarely think about?
    • What freedoms and options do I have in my life that others don’t?
  • How could I have made today/yesterday better?
  • What is something I learned or am learning?
  • What is something I’m struggling with?
  • What is an issue I’m having with my spouse/significant other/child/friend/colleague?
  • What are the three most important things I need to get done today? Why?

Watch this video for an explanation of this Lifestyle Practice from Whole Life Challenge co-founders Andy Petranek and Michael Stanwyck.

Why Is This Practice Important?

Most of the time, our thoughts seem to have a life of their own. They bounce around in our heads and operate on their own schedule, coming and going as they please. Some of them don’t seem to serve any useful purpose, but there can be important or valuable thoughts inside us that we’re not present to.

Whether our thoughts are positive or negative, when we don’t get them out in some way, they tend to block our forward progress. Unexpressed thoughts can keep us stuck in our past struggles or prevent our creative thoughts from launching us forward into new and exciting opportunities.

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Taking the time to get our uncensored thoughts out of our heads and onto paper can liberate our minds. If it’s important stuff, now you’ve become present to it and can make it useful. If it’s something you want to move forward from, you can even rip the page out of your journal, burn it, and be done with it!

The simple act of releasing your thoughts by keeping a daily journal can give you the freedom to take your own mind back and create new connections and new opportunities.

For More on This Practice

Teacher, speaker, and psychotherapist, Megan Devine, has been stirring up our culture’s ideas around grief and loss since 2009. That year, she witnessed the accidental drowning of her beloved partner Matt. Much of Megan’s work involves writing and journaling, which is why Andy invited her onto the podcast. For Megan’s thoughts on how the habit of journaling can open unexpected things for us in terms of healing during the grief process, click through to the podcast and jump to 17:13.

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Michael Stanwyck
Michael Stanwyck is the co-founder of The Whole Life Challenge, an idea that developed during his seven years as a coach and gym manager at CrossFit Los Angeles.

He graduated from UCLA with a BA in philosophy as well as a degree from the Southern California School of Culinary Arts, and feels food is one of the most important parts of a life - it can nourish, heal, and bring people together.

Michael believes health and well-being are as much a state of mind as they are a state of the body, and when it comes to fitness, food, and life in general, he thinks slow is much better than fast (most of the time). Stopping regularly to examine things is the surest way to put down roots and grow.

He knows he will never be done with his own work, and believes the best thing you can do for your well-being starts with loving and working from what you’ve got right now.

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