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Tracy Winchell

Why it's not your "fault" if you're not journaling consistently

published2 months ago
4 min read

Hey Reader,

If you're reading this, you likely have read about the benefits of keeping a journal.

I have a question for you.

Are you now, or have you ever, felt guilty, attacked your own character, or felt like you're missing out when you don't log an entry?

It's ok if this is you. It's true of many ambitious human beings, especially those of us interested in being happier, more reliable, less anxious, and the list goes on and on.

Here's what I have found after talking about journaling with thousands of people around the globe:

Those of us who feel guilty or say, "We aren't focused or motivated enough" to use the most effective self-reflection practice on the planet" are the ones who can benefit most from a consistent journaling practice.

Why people who want the benefits of self-reflection don't actually keep a journal

I think part of the problem is that we don't count the cost of not engaging in a simple journaling practice.

You've read a ton of information about the benefits of journaling, so you're frustrated and perhaps down on yourself for not being dedicated to improvement.

Counting the costs we do not recognize

My guess is that you have yet to count the cost of not engaging in consistent self-reflection. When we know we are losing something, we are much more motivated to make a change versus when we know we "could" be some nebulous definition of "better."

Perhaps you have read about the negative impacts of little to no self-reflection. The words never hit home because you're functioning.

You do not see the long-term impacts on your health, mental and emotional wellbeing, and how past trauma keeps you from living up to your capabilities. You don't see the "dangers" as personal, and you convince yourself it's ok to think you don't journal because of negative thing x, y, and z about your character.

Tough love

Um, when we blame our character for not being able to do something we want to do? That's a sign that limiting beliefs are also holding you back in other areas.

The good news is that journaling can help you identify & crush limiting beliefs, negative self-talk, and perceived character flaws.

You are not unmotivated, lazy, or incapable of reducing the cost of carrying unnecessary burdens through life.

Introducing a new 4-week series

Beginning today, we begin an email course called
How to Root Out Friction & Build a Functional Journaling Practice.

We are exploring the real obstacles that keep us from seeking out and engaging in our behaviors, thoughts, and emotions.

Let's call the series a prequel to all the articles you've ever read about "x easy steps to journaling."

Principles & Frameworks

This entire mini-course falls into the principles & frameworks category and applies to digital and analog journalers.

What you will learn

Our first lesson (this email) is about the most common myths & points of friction that keep you from continuing your practice or getting started.

Next week we provide the antidote to the real obstacles you're facing -- and they have nothing to do with your character, motivation, or work ethic!

The following week, we introduce the science of habit.

Habit design is a component no other journaling "expert" has ever bothered to explain to you.

Stanford professor B.J. Fogg's extensive research has helped him develop the frameworks that help us design successful habits.

When designing a new habit, you are designing for consistency. And for that result, you'll find that simplicity is the key. Or as I like to teach my students: Simplicity changes behavior.
-- B.J. Fogg, Tiny Habits

In the final series, we show you how to implement your new journaling practice using the Fogg model of habit construction.

New skillsets from this email course

You will have the foundation of a practice that will help you unearth:

  • Your hidden costs of not taking time for written self-introspection
  • Remedies that are already in your heads (you just can't see them yet)
  • Loving, trusting, and being kind to yourself

What journaling does and does not look like

Have you seen the journaling glamour photos?

The ones that show a beautiful human with a campfire, a hot cup of coffee, and the most fabulous notebook ever nearby? It's dawn, and that person has climbed a mountain for a gorgeous sunrise.

I used to think this was "real" journaling. In most cases, the images are "fake" journaling sessions.

While this is how some people journal, it's rarely an everyday occurrence (unless you live atop a mountain).

The messiness of everyday written introspection

Real journaling often happens:

  • On public transit
  • With morning breath
  • Before getting dressed
  • Before bed, when you're exhausted
  • With kids screaming at the top of their lungs
  • Waiting for your facial peel to do its magic work

This brings us to the most common fallacies I hear from wannabe or frustrated and inconsistent journalers.

The point of sharing these fallacies is for you to identify a point of friction you are experiencing but don't know it yet.

The 3 most common types of friction

Tool friction

  • Digital or analog?
  • Which digital app do I use?
  • Which paper & pen products should I use?

Myth friction

The list of potential myths is lengthy. The four most common are below.

Perfectionism friction

  • I must follow precisely the rules from journaling guru x.
  • I'm not very good at this, so I shouldn't try.
  • I can't miss a day -- ever.

The 4 most common myths about journaling

Written self-reflection must be practiced:

  • In the mornings
  • On pen and paper
  • As an hours-long pouring out of one's soul
  • Every day without fail (perfectionism, again)

I hope this lesson helps you ease up on yourself. You're not an inferior human because you aren't journaling consistently or at all.

Heck, you may be one of the few who see no value in a journaling practice. Good! This means you are at peace.

Peace, reducing guilt, shame, or attacking your own character; are burdens you may be shouldering. They come at a cost to relationships, personal and professional growth, and health.

This week's reflection assignment

Which of these fallacies do you believe to be true for you? Explain.
If none apply, list what's holding you back.

🚨 Bonus points if you share your response with me

Next Wednesday, I'll share four truths that debunk the myths & ease the friction you learned about today.

P.S. This series will not be published. This content is exclusive to subscribers only. If you think someone may benefit, forward this lesson.

PP.SS. Much of this email course is an abbreviated companion of an ebook to be released in the next week or so. If you're interested, reply or DM me on Twitter. I'll make sure you get an early-bird price (A $5 discount on the public release price of $20).