I basically tricked my students into ‘journaling’ this year!

Journaling has become rather ‘trendy’ lately. All the mindfulness practitioners and magazines are talking about the benefits…

And for good reason!!

I’ve certainly seen the benefits of keeping a journal, however I thought I would summarise a fantastic article by Thai Nguyen (from The Utopian Life) which you can read in full here.

  • higher rates of achieving goals
  • increased IQ
  • calls a wandering mind to attention
  • greater emotional intelligence
  • boosts memory and cognitive function
  • strengthens self discipline
  • improved spoken word
  • sparks creativity and confidence
  • heals emotionally, physically and psychologically

What a beautiful list of benefits! We can almost ALL certainly agree that journaling is a fantastic way to optimise productivity and be more content with life.

A black Moleskin has been my choice of ‘journal’ since I was 16 years old. There’s something about the smell of it’s pages and leather casing that’s just a little bit romantic…

However I’d never kept a regular, focussed ‘journal’ with goals, gratitude and reflection until the past 12 months.

I’ve found the process of writing in a journal (most mornings for about 10 minutes) a clarifying, calming and most importantly enjoyable experience.

So I thought I’d start experimenting with the act of ‘journaling’ in the studio. For the past 6 months, I’ve asked my students to religiously bring their ‘theory’ book to class. Instead of simply using it for practicing ballet terminology, I’ve also asked them to use it for reflection.

Basically I tricked them into ‘journaling’ without even realising it!

Firstly, I designed these cards to encourage the students to set some goals…

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Once the goals were set and we discussed ways to reach the goals, we then asked two REALLY important questions.

“What characteristics will help me reach my goals?”

and…

“How will I celebrate once I’ve achieved my goals?”

These two questions add another layer to the process with accountability and reward. I didn’t just tell the students to ‘practise’ and ‘have a positive attitude’. That’s lazy and not specific enough.

I told them they had to embody resilience, discipline and commitment to achieve their desired outcome. And if they achieved their goal, there was a clearly defined reward.

So far, it’s worked a charm. Students seem to be more ‘on a mission’ and the mental training has definitely improved their physical training.

Almost every week we ‘check in’ with our goals in which students are encouraged to write about their feelings and reset goals if need be.

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So what does my daily journaling practise look like? 

It’s less ‘goal’ orientated compared to what I’ve been doing with my students. But it’s definitely not a ‘Dear Diary’ situation.

I focus on three main areas;

  • What am I grateful for?
  • How could I have made yesterday better?
  • What’s on your mind…

The gratitude helps me keep perspective. The reflection on the day before helps me continue to adapt, be productive and evolve (usually always related to my businesses). And the final open ended question leaves room for goals, thoughts, frustrations and questions.

Do you journal? If so, I’d love to know how its impacted your life. If not, let me know if you’re thinking about starting…

Grit & Grace,

Georgia x

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