Reviewing my journal to find my goals

Reviewing My Journal To Find My Goals

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Everybody has a story. It is just a matter of us finding our personal story. I walk through Life looking for that mystical thing called a goal. Some of us know early on what we want to be when we grow up. Even then, our stories might change depending on the season of our life. One of my first life goals when I was kid was trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.

I want to be an astronaut.
I want to be a professional wrestler.
I want to serve my country.

Some of us don’t even know what we want. I asked my 12-year old daughter what she wanted to be when she grows up. She’s not sure. Mommy tells her to be a pharmacist because the money is there. I joked and told her to be a funeral home director. She’s guaranteed to have business all year round (groan). She hates my daddy jokes but she loves me all the same. :nerd_face:

. My kid’s future is limitless.

I wasn’t sure what I was looking for. But I can retrace my steps in my journal. The answers to my future were in my journal. I just didn’t bother looking there. Look into the past to find direction for the future.

Reviewing my journal wasn’t something that naturally occurred to me. I just wrote because there wasn’t anything else to do. I had long train rides with my Sony Walkman playing a mix tape of my favorite songs. (How’s that for an old man reference? Our kids won’t know what a mix tape was). Writing seemed like an interesting way to pass the time.

I might encounter something – an event, a photo, a conversation – that would spark an idea. But it would disappear into the journal and I wouldn’t take action on it.

I was in Fukuoka, Japan recently. I left my travel mate and just started wandering around the city looking for a story. I took out my old iPhone and took pictures, recorded a singer on the sidewalk, and entered a Day One entry about a couple that I saw on the rooftop. I wanted to save this moment and time and try to find some kind of meaning.

I have journals at home sitting in a box waiting for me to open them. I took the Christmas holidays recently to go through some of those memories and was stunned by my thoughts at that time. I was able to create a bunch of brand new projects that rekindled some parts of me that I didn’t realize were smoldering inside. I’ve discovered a new use for a journal other than to just take photos and kinda vaguely remember an old event. I’ve taken to the habit of reviewing my Day One journal entries and my journal for the last month and find patterns or moods. I might be feeling frustrated about a recent turn of events and need to write it out to find an answer. I might try to analyze a friendship I’ve had but feel stuck in. I might be inspired by a fleeting moment that made me happy. Reviewing my journal on a monthly basis has led me to create new projects to work on and new hope to improve my life.

Work on my relationships

Couple sitting on a rooftop. This photo reminded me to keep the lines of communications open with my wife.

I have relationships with my family, friends, coworkers, and customers. Sometimes, I want to talk with someone about an issue but didn’t have the courage or didn’t think it was the right time to share. Maybe I should think about it and then I can get back to them eventually. But I forget to do so and it fades away in my memory. Then I let it fester from a small cut into a full blown infection. Using the journal has helped my relationships before a small issue becomes a full blown problem. Writing a list of things to discuss with someone has always been a communication tool that helps me remember anything that’s been on my mind.

Create new systems or workflows to deal with friction points.

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Sometimes I’ll get frustrated and record an event or process that bothers me. It might by irritating but I wouldn’t take action. I encounter something that I hate doing (doing my own tax returns or roof painting). I find a lot of things that I just don’t want to do but I need to get it done. I can buckle up, create a new project, list all the possible next actions and just get it done.

Crazy ideas come out of nowhere

I might have a spark of inspiration or an idea and I’ll enter it as a Day One entry or Drafts entry. I keep my stream of thought open for as long as possible before finally saving it. When I process this journal entry, I’ll create a new Someday/Maybe project and present it to my wife for consideration. Crazy ideas can sometimes become a reality.

Remembering my core values (or even changing it)

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I encounter situations or have a discussion that made me rethink some of my personal viewpoints or unveil a new train of thought. Capturing it allows to me ponder at a later date about what I’ve discovered. It’s interesting to see my life documented and when my personal/political/world views have changed because of a series of events.


I’ve always had difficulty in creating my own goals. My goals might change over time. Developing a voice through journal entries has given me food for thought. The journal serves no purpose if I don’t review what has happened and figure out how I can change my future. Who knows? My goals might change because I wrote something in my journal. My bullseye changes when my life changes.

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If you’ve found some use for journals, please share.

Love this concept, Wilson!

I can’t say this is one that I would have thought to try but I may give it a shot this weekend. Though, my concern is that I’ll get a lot of cool ideas out of the mix. And we all know Joe has a problem with new and shiny. :roll_eyes:

:joy: My girls are too young to roll their eyes about puns and my silly jokes. But I know my day is coming.

I wish I did it more often but there are points when a team I’m a part of is making a tough decision and I’m not sure how I feel about it. I try to take 30 minutes and just free-write my thoughts on the topic. That seems to be a great way to synthesize how I feel and give me clarity on how to direct my conversations about the topic.