How To Reach Your Goals By Keeping A Journal


January 6, 2010   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

I recently opened my journal to jot down my thoughts at the day’s end. This is fairly normal as I write in my journal often. However, I only journal when I feel like it; it’s never a forced action. So, while I am writing articles and academic related papers daily, my journal is more of a refuge, a place for stress relief, and to record my aspirations and goals.

Earlier this November, I had just gotten home from work and was in need of some serious winding down, so I started writing effortlessly and carelessly. I completely forgot what I’d written about that night until I cracked it open two weeks later. You see, I’d made some pretty lofty goals for myself earlier in the month of November. I mainly wrote about how I needed to finish some work on my website and my goal to complete a certain project that I’d put off for far too long; it was simply time to be finished with it.

I was shocked when I read my previous journal entry because everything I had written concerning what I wanted to accomplish had come to pass. I achieved all of my short term goals for the month, and the best part was that it all seemed effortless. I began asking myself, “How can journaling help us reach our goals?”

As I pass over previous entries, I can locate multiple instances in which I’ve set out to do something and written it down, only to find it’s been accomplished and taken care of.

So, why record our goals in a journal?

  • It Keeps Us Accountable
    When you write something down, it serves as a commitment. Think of it like a contract; when you sign a contract, you are participating in some form of agreement – you are now obligated to fulfill your end of the deal. As you write your goals, they become visible; they possess meaning. If you recorded them with some form of emotion; they now have sentiment.

Upon my discovery, I could vividly revisit the moment I crafted every single word. I could recall the cold air against my cheeks as I sat on my back porch; I remembered how anxious the moment was as I scribbled out what I hoped to accomplish by November 22nd 2009. The intensity was obvious, due to my sloppy handwriting, as I felt the need to record every detail as quickly as possible.

  • Writing Our Goals Makes Them Believable
    Writing your aspirations serves as a starting block. It’s the foundation of getting anything worthwhile completed. I’ve often found myself in a state of uncertainty; a place in which I have so much I wish to accomplish but feel so behind and overwhelmed. That is until I write out my goals, and begin working backward from the desired result.

An example of this is how I wrote my first eBook. I’ve written many articles over the last year but every time I thought about writing anything over 2000 words, I would panic and self doubt would set in. I then, just imagined a small eBook was nothing more than 8-10 of my usual articles, all lumped into one. Now, I was onto something. I started to believe how easy this might actually be – publishing my very first eBook with no stress or extra effort.

This was actually one of the goals I managed to accomplish by November 22nd. I simply broke the task into manageable chunks and executed like nobody’s business. I made the eBook into 9 sections and treated each one like an article in itself. Before I knew it, I was performing the final edit and publishing the PDF. What a wonderful feeling it was; I’ll never forget it.

  • Journals Serve As Record Keeper
    I began journaling my first year of college, but I wish I’d started sooner. I love to sit back and read all of my previous entries, simply to see what I deemed important at any given time in my life. I love retracing previous aspirations that have come to fruition and the long(er) term goals I am still working toward. 

The ability to recall my personal ramblings reminds me of where I long to be, and more importantly, where I’m headed. It also serves as a kick in the pants when I get distracted from my personal and long term goals.

  • My Encouragement To You
    If you choose to use journaling as a method to reach your goals, make sure you keep these principles in mind. 
    • Write when you feel like it – never force anything. 
  • Write the date at the top of your entries; this serves as the record keeping part of the equation. You will appreciate it 2 years down the road when you gleam over your accomplishments. 
  • Write whatever you like. There are no rules and you have complete freedom. Write anytime you wish and make sure it’s authentic and real. Never hold back. 
  • Write your long and short term goals. Work backward from the goal and set dates accordingly. Nothing compares to gazing over previous entries and smiling because of your accomplishments.


Remember, journaling is only one method to achieve your goals. It’s not the only way, nor is there a best way to make things happen; it’s simply the way I do it.

Written on 1/6/2010 by JC. JC is the author of JCDFitness, where he writes about fat loss and a No BS Approach To Looking Great Naked. Follow him on Twitter. Photo Credit: basykes

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