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Masterclass

Journaling Strategies For Self Mastery

By | Advice, Masterclass
Reading Time: 9 minutes

NOTE: This is an audio version of similar content where I dive into the journaling strategies for self-mastery.

Journaling Strategies For Self Mastery

If you’re here, there is no doubt you’ve heard of the power of journaling for clarity and personal growth. It’s been a pillar of our world and is one of the most talked about practices and routines for those looking to grow and create exponential results —in all areas of life.

During my decade inside the trenches inside personal growth, self-mastery, entrepreneurship and living my best life —I’ve used this practice time and time again. And yet, I realized only during the last 18 months did I really harness the true power of journaling which I wanted to share with you today.

Because like anything else —you’ll get out of journaling the same energy you choose to pour into it. For years, I’d engage in random journaling: no system, no routine, and predictably…little results I could touch and feel.

But 18 months ago I decided to give journaling everything I’ve got —and it has transformed my life. What I’m going to share in today’s post is some things you’ve likely heard…but also some I haven’t seen anywhere else.

These journaling strategies for self-mastery are designed to help you create clarity, release obstacles, paint the vision of your future —and navigate the daily ebb and flow of life and business.

I’ve also added an audio version of this post in the form of an Academy Podcast Quick Hit —which you can access above.

Let’s dive in.

journaling for self masteryJournal Strategy #1: Celebrating Wins

Where did you kick ass, take names and step into your courage this week?

I was in the middle of a virtual training call for one of my programs —the 3P experience. I’d already asked this before but challenged the individual to truly “own” their win. We repeated this 7 times until I felt the right level of inflection and truth in their voice.

The first strategy for journaling success is simple: celebrate your wins. On the surface, it may not seem like much (and rather obvious) and yet this is extremely rare. Instead of celebrating wins, you and I focus on what’s missing in the bank account, how we don’t have enough followers and how our results aren’t happening at the speed which we want.

This is the simplest practice of all: every day, identify at least 3-10 wins you experienced in those 24 hours. It’s not about the magnitude of the win —it’s about authentically celebrating what you created, accomplished or how you tackled resistance and did it anyway.

Here’s why this is powerful: it primes your attention to focus on what is working, and how you are making progress. As you know, seeing our own progress in real time is next to impossible —and often takes feedback from others or deep reflection for ourselves to recognize how far we’ve come.

Even during the most arduous of days, there are wins you can find. You could have had the most challenging day of your year, and if you look closely enough: there are wins waiting to be owned.

Journaling For Self Mastery Action Step: Identify at least 3-10 wins every single day and take a moment of gratitude and ownership for creating them.

 

Journal Strategy #2: Paint Your Vision

The second strategy for journaling success is all about painting a vivid vision for your life: the feelings you want to feel, the experiences you want to be a part of —and the people, places, and opportunities designed to make you feel fulfilled and excited about life.

If you’ve followed any of my work, including the podcast or have done The Integration Experience audio training or grabbed The Best Year Guide, you know I’m relentless about doing this exercise often.

Because again, in my world —too many people set their vision once a year and then forget about it. This is where journaling to paint your vision comes in: taking time to explore the infinite possibilities of your desires and noticing the common themes and patterns that come up.

Often, I’ll engage in this practice through the use of various prompts, including:

This year was my best year ever. Here’s why…

I wake up one year from today. I’m amazed at what has happened in my life —and the opportunities I’ve experienced. They are…

The key to this journaling exercise is to play around with space and time. Meaning, you’re going to journal about your one year vision one day….and then step back and take a 10-year view.

Personally, I pour a ton of my focus and energy on the one year vision as it’s close enough to create urgency —but far enough to give me time to produce significant results. My quarterly targets sit at the front of my journal and my life mission and purpose statement at the back.

This makes it convenient and easy to remind myself where I’m going: what I call the North Star vision. You’ll be doing the same, and creating the space to journal about where you’re headed and why.

Journaling For Self Mastery Action Step: Paint a vivid, specific and detailed account of your vision…one year, three years and even twenty years down the line. Think big and bold —let yourself get lost in possibility. 

journaling tommy baker 1% ruleJournal Strategy #3: Emotional Release

All transformation is emotional. I’ve said this countless times as a reminder: when you want to create something you’re not currently experiencing, you’re going to brush up against your emotions.

Often, this is the biggest obstacle in the way. For most people, it’s not a lack of strategy, tactics or mechanics. Those are easy, simple and they work…for the most part.

What gets in the way as we stretch our comfort zones is being pushed to our emotional edges —and feeling uncomfortable in this process. Because our egos want to re-affirm what we believe to be true and our current reality (as a safety mechanism), it’s going to do anything it can to keep you where we are.

Enter the third strategy for journaling success: emotional release. If you pick up any of my journals, you’ll find some intense entries where I’m questioning everything, circled by darkness. Sometimes, I’ll look back at these and wonder what the hell was going through my head.

Writing down our emotions has been proven to make us feel better and act as a healing mechanism —shortening the time for recovery. Furthermore, as we get the emotions out of our heads and onto paper, they start to lose their power over us.

We can examine them with clarity and contrast and they lose the grip they had on us. This practice is crucial for practicing our emotional intelligence, and ultimately, emotional resilience.

But don’t wait until you have one of “those” days to use this practice. Often, I’ll ask myself a simple question —even if I’m in a great state of mind:

What can I let go of right now that’s no longer serving me?

Then, I make a list of all the possible emotions, thoughts and beliefs that I can and choose to let them go.

Journaling For Self Mastery Action Step: Release your darker or negative emotions when you’re going through a challenge in your journal. Don’t judge anything you write…this is about the release.

 

Journal Strategy #4: Life Deconstruction

Take a moment and go back to a time in your life where you were incredibly present, connected and felt fulfilled on a deep level. Go into the specific moment right now and focus on the intensity of what you felt.

What was happening around you?
Who were you with and what was your environment?
What were the core ingredients to bring this experience to life?

The fourth strategy for journaling success is all about deconstruction. I first learned about this from Robin Sharma, and even though I’d already done it —he defined it as deconstruction and added perspective to why it matters.

When we deconstruct peak experiences or great moments in our lives, we’re more likely to experience them again. Not only do we re-engage with the peak emotional state (and thus, change our state now) —we start to notice the patterns leading up to the experience.

Armed with this knowledge, we’re more likely to make similar decisions and choices to repeat these feelings —leading to a powerful cycle of expansion. If you’re new to this practice, start with some of your big life moments: the day you met your significant other, a career breakthrough, the best meal you’ve ever had, a time you overcame fear and stepped into your courage, etc.

Once you’ve done this for some of your bigger life events, practice doing it on the smaller things: a great conversation you had, an amazing hike, watching the sunrise or sunset, a yoga class that left you inspired and more.

This has become a near daily practice for me and the benefits have been enermous. What I’ve noticed is I re-create the peak emotional states more often —and I become much more likely to step into action instead of overthinking.

For example, if I’m feeling sluggish and drained after a long day, I’ll get a desire to hike a mountain. Resistance comes in and says I don’t have the time or energy and I start to believe it. But then I remember the times from my de-construction where I shifted my environment and felt incredible after. Then, I’m much more likley to repeat this cycle and you can do the same.

Journaling For Self Mastery Action Step: De-construct the most powerful moments of your life, then do the same for smaller peak experiences. Paint a vivid picture of how it came to life, who was there and how you felt.

journaling tommy baker leapJournal Strategy #5: Affirmation Overload

If you follow me on social media at all, there’s no doubt you’ve seen an example of affirmation overload: picking a statement of belief and writing it down hundreds of times.

This one is one of my favorites to re-wire the subconscious mind, embed a belief deep within my spirit and re-affirm who and what I am. The research is clear on this one: putting pen to paper is extremely effective for behavioral change and belief —which is why I double down and fill out an entire page, or pages.

I’ve taught this method to tons of people, and most won’t do it. I get it: it’s not easy, and after your first 25…you’re ready to move on. Your mind is attempting to talk you out of finishing. However, overcoming this resistance is powerful and the feeling of accomplishment when you’re done is incredible.

Journaling For Self Mastery Action Step: This one’s simple. Pick an empowering statement of belief and write it down to fill your entire journal page. Stay focused and present during the process.

 

Journal Strategy #6: Transcribe Greatness

There was a time in my life where I knew radical change required radical change…obvious, right? This is when I chose to throw away my TV and go deep into the study of the great minds and thinkers of our times. I’d listen to the same exact audio recording every night as I slept, effectively re-wiring my subconscious mind when it was most malleable. In the morning, I’d wake up and put on the audio version of a classic text, and start to transcribe it.

I’d fill up journal pages with the words from these texts, and the same ones would come up time and time again: Emerson’s Self-Reliance, Thoraeus Walden, Seneca’s On The Shortness of Life, Marcus Aurelius and his Meditations.

Mind you, I wouldn’t transcribe the entire text: I’d pick empowering sections and write for 30-90 minutes as much as I could.

The last practice for journaling success is transcribing the great texts, and the one I do least often. Typically, I’ll engage in this one a few times a month. However, it’s also incredibly powerful for immersing yourself in great wisdom while opening up your own.

Journaling For Self Mastery Action Step: Pick a text that resonates deeply with you. Grab your journal and transcribe it…I pair the audio while looking at a digital version for maximum effect.

Journaling Strategies For Self Mastery

So, there you have it: my favorite ways to use the undeniable practice of journaling to create clarity, momentum, release obstacles in the way and live a purposeful life. As I mentioned earlier: you’re going to get what you put into it. Often people will get excited about journaling, order a bunch of new tools…and then do it for a couple days.

When I started to hang around those on a powerful life trajectory, I noticed something else: they’d bring a journal with them everywhere they went. My friend Seth Mattison has done this every time we’ve hung out, and I started doing the same: because we never know when inspiration is going to strike, and we may miss it.

Pick one of these and get started now, and watch what happens.

Journaling Strategies and The Leap Of Your Life!

tommy baker leap of your life

Lastly, I wanted to remind you that my upcoming book, The Leap Of Your Life is now available for pre-order on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, your local bookseller and on this page for massive bonuses. This book was written for you: to help you identify the bold move in front of you and not just dream big…but live big.

What did you get from this? Post to comments!

change your life

How 60 Minutes on Sunday Can Change Your Life

By | Advice, Masterclass, Writing
Reading Time: 10 minutes

NOTE: I did a Quick Hit episode on this topic, which I’ve linked above. The audio is a simpler version of the in-depth process I’m sharing below, but can be a great companion to listen to.

How 60 Minutes on Sunday Can Change Your Life

Monday morning comes around —and there are typically two types of people out there:

95% of people wake up in a fog, scattered, and putting out fires. They have no clarity on where they’re going —they simply want to make it through the day as fast as they can, so they can come back, “relax” and/or lay on the couch, binge-watching Netflix.

(Not that there’s anything inherently wrong with Netflix…but distraction is usually a feedback mechanism for a lack of clarity and purpose.)

Then, there’s the 5% of people who wake up with intention —they’ve designed their day based on a broader desire or vision. Their actions, rituals, habits, and environments support where they’re headed. There’s a peace and calm, balanced with a deliberate focus to start their week.

Now, there’s no question who is more likely to create meaningful progress in their life and business between these two. But if you’re an entrepreneur, freelancer or work for yourself in some capacity —this becomes even more important.

One of my most prized rituals which I teach all of my clients and constantly share on the podcast, here on the blog or social media is simple: If you do it right, taking 45-60 minutes on a Sunday to reflect, course correct, commit and prepare can and will change your life.

In this post, I’ll share the exact process I use and teach —as well as tools and resources to help you do the same. Because if you do, you’ll create the clarity and momentum most people wish for.

And as you know, wishing is never a strategy for success. But first, let’s get clear on why this matters in the first place.

tommy baker change your lifeWhere Will You Be One Year From Today?

Barring some type of physical catastrophe in your life —you’ll be waking up in one year. And you’re either going to be in a radically different place than where you find yourself today…

Or most likely —you’re going to be exactly where you are now, but worse. If you’re in a career that isn’t working, you’ll be worse off. If you’re finding yourself lacking momentum, you’ll be even more stuck. If you’re not making the money you want in your entrepreneurial or freelancing gigs…your bank account is bound to look the same.

The truth is: success is quite predictable, and sometimes even boringly predictable —look at someone’s mindset, behaviors, and habits and you’ll get a clear picture of where they’re likely to end up. Sure, there are outliers. But I’m not going to bank my life on unicorns, even if they’re kinda cute.

But there’s also another possibility: you wake up, and you’ve seen tremendous progress over the last year. The little decisions you made to adopt a morning routine, get clear around your goals and invest in some accountability are now paying off.

Remember: this Sunday routine, like anything else —can seem insignificant in the moment. Because this Sunday, if you do it or you don’t, you likely won’t see monumental change. But if you take this practice and compound it over a full year, you can be living a radically different life. You could have finally achieved the momentum you wanted, made the extra $20,000 you dreamed of —launched the platform or written your first book.

Like I said earlier, during the thousands of hours I’ve spent in the trenches obsessing over peak performance, human behavior change and results —the Sunday ritual came up time and time again.

Now let’s explore exactly what you’ll be doing on Sundays to maximize your success and never look back.

tommy baker change your liifeStep 1: Reflection

When was the last time you pushed the pause button on the freight train of your life and asked some deep questions, such as:

Am I on the right path, and do I know where I’m going?

What is my level of excitement and enthusiasm for life?

Why am I doing this all for anyway —what’s my bigger why?

Now, here’s what I’ve known to be true: we all ask these questions, but rarely create the necessary container to answer them. Meaning: we may contemplate these riding high above the clouds at 37,000 feet, but then we check our phones or fall asleep.

We may have a moment after a workout where we tap into something deeper —and then start our workday. Put simply: because we live in a shallow, caffeinated, non-stop stimulus world —true reflection is rare.

So the first step of your Sunday Reflection protocol is all about reflection —and taking the time to check in with yourself by asking yourself the following questions:

What was your biggest win(s) of the last week and how did you make them happen?

The first part of the reflection process of Sunday Reflection is about one thing: celebrating your wins. Because too often, we either conveniently forget the places we won, or choose to focus on what isn’t working. I don’t care how challenging, hard and scattered the last week was: there are wins in there, and plenty of them. It’s not about the magnitude of the wins, this is about celebrating yourself.

Once you’ve identified at least three wins, take a moment to de-construct how you made that happen. Think of how’d you teach someone else the principles and tools you used to bring it to life.

For example:

My biggest win this week was making a decision on my next project —and completing the research phase.

Deconstruction:

How I made this win happen was by setting boundaries and taking focused action —even with a busy week, I created the time by planning and saying “no” to other opportunities.

Or, let’s use another example:

My biggest win this week was connecting with my significant other and kids with an amazing date night experience where we laughed and were all fully present.

Deconstruction:

How I made this happen and the lesson I’d teach others is: if you don’t schedule something in, it probably won’t happen. I’d noticed we hadn’t done a proper date night in months, because we were “busy.” By planning it out in advance, I made it happen and it was incredible.

By doing this, you’re not only putting your focus on what’s working (which as we stated earlier, is rare), but you’re teaching yourself how you made it happen. This re-wires your neural circuitry in real time and will help you replicate these results in the future. This is the path to self-mastery where you build on your successes time and time again.

Now, it’s time to move on to the second key question:

What was your biggest challenge(es) of the last week and what did you learn through them?

Once we’ve celebrated your wins and de-constructed how you brought them to life —it’s time to identify your biggest challenge. I usually keep this to the one big stressor or adversity experienced during the week.

Often, we don’t face our challenges and take the proper time to reflect on them —missing out on valuable lessons and growth. Often, the act of releasing our challenges on paper (or digitally, if you prefer) means they lose their emotional charge on us. In fact, research has proven

The same process applies to the celebration phase, but now you will identify the challenge and de-construct the lesson and perspective it provided.

For example:

My biggest challenge this past week was not securing new revenue or clients in my business and feeling financial scarcity and stress.

Lesson:

Don’t focus on what’s not working. Most of the week I kept checking client proposals, and there was nothing there. I felt depleted and lost my confidence by placing my attention in the wrong places. Because of this, I didn’t make any new proposals or finish the marketing plan.

Or, another example:

My biggest challenge this past week was only doing my morning ritual two out of the seven days. I felt stressed and the kids were sick —and I reverted back to old habits.

Lesson:

Simplify the routine when there’s less time, and/or wake up 20 minutes earlier. I was able to see the contrast of when I do the routine, and when I don’t. I need this “me” time.

Can you recognize the power of reflection after reading the above? This is how you supercharge your learning and use your wins and challenges as catalysts to faster growth.

Lastly, the key here is to completely own your win(s) regardless of their size and scope —and do the same for your challenges. But instead of judging yourself for the challenges, seek the lesson they taught you.

Because now you’re wiser for them and have the ability to make a new choice.

Step 2: Course Correction

The second step of how 60 minutes on a Sunday can change your life is about course correction. Because often what I’ve noticed is after we set our targets and goals —we rarely take time to ask some crucial questions:

Given where I am today, am I still on the right trajectory?

Am I behind, on or ahead of schedule with my targets?

What is something that is working that I can double down on, or something I must delete?

There are two parts to course correction. One, you must know where you’re going —personally, I break this up into my North Star vision (you can learn more about that here) and current quarterly targets based on the vision.

For example, if my goal was to bring in $100K of revenue in my business this quarter and I’m 45 days in and sitting at $25K —I may need to course correct to ensure I get where I’m going.

tommy baker leap of your lifeStep 3: New Commitments

Once we’ve done the first two steps, it’s time to look forward to the upcoming week —and create our new commitments. Notice the word choice here: this is not a hope, a wish or something you’re merely interested in:

This is a commitment, and there needs to be a powerful intention to bring this to life. The system I teach is based on doing this same process with countless mentors of mine —as well as leading my own programs.

Diving our lives into 4 areas, we ask a simple question:

What am I committed to this week in regards to my business and career?
What am I committed to this week in regards to my relationships and connection?
What am I committed to this week in regards to my physical vitality and health?
What am I committed to this week in regards to my spiritual practice and growth?

The key with these, as you’ve likely heard with most goal setting is to ensure it’s specific, and connected to your quarterly (and yearly) targets.

Here are some examples:

What am I committed to this week in regards to my business and career?

I am committed to reviewing our marketing and crafting the new plan.

I am committed to making 50 sales calls and follow-ups to potential clients.

I am committed to recording 3 podcast episodes and releasing one blog post.

Business is easy, so let’s show an example of the spiritual side of things (however you may define this):

I am committed to 10 minutes of daily meditation and reading 10 pages a day.

I am committed to one floating tank session (sensory deprivation).

I am committed to journaling every single evening about my wins of the day.

Once you’ve identified your commitments for each bucket of life, you should have a clear vision for the week. You know what you’re going to be creating, and this should fill up a decent chunk of your week. Because now, you’re part of the 5% who have clarity around their priorities, have identified specific behaviors in line with those —and have put pen to paper (and paper to the calendar, as we’ll do here in a moment).

Now it’s time for the next step: daily integration.

Step 4: Integration

The last step of this process is simple: integration. What I mean by integration is ensuring all the work you’ve done is going to turn into the real world, tangible behaviors.

The version of integration I teach and my clients use is ensuring all of the above goes into their weekly calendar. I know this is where most people stop reading, but what doesn’t get scheduled, doesn’t get done. At least not long term: and if you’ve never used a calendar, this will be painful.

But it’s also going to be worth it. Because when you prioritize every part of your life, you don’t have space for the clutter. You don’t have space, time or energy left for gossip, mindless information, useless meetings or idle time where you’re left anxious, scattered and stressed.

Here’s an example of mine:

Don’t get stressed: because within this calendar, I have plenty of time to recharge. The yellow block above in the afternoon is called afternoon white space: no one can schedule me in here, and I get to do what I please (benefit #111 of being an entrepreneur.)

What I do after I’ve done all of this is add the little things that aren’t priorities, but still have to be done: email stuff, social media, checking in with my team and other efforts.

How 60 Minutes on Sunday Can Change Your Life

Every single mentor I’ve ever learned from directly or from afar has created the space for reflection. They all create a ‘bookmark’ to their week —and it happens on Sundays.

Whether it was Robin Sharma, Brendon Burchard, Dr. John Demartini or countless others —this is a life-changing practice. While we covered a ton of ground here, what I’ve found to work best is spend the next 66 days (the time it takes to build your habit) with your Sunday Reflection using a specific system and then start to make it your own.

Below, I’ve listed some tools and resources that help me with my reflection, as well as some research I used to bring this post to life.

I’d love to hear how it goes in the comments or if you have any questions about how to maximize your time and harness the power of this Sunday practice.

Pre-Order The Leap Of Your Life!

tommy baker leap of your lifeIt’s time, it’s time…it’s time. There’s a bold decision you’ve been waiting to make —one that will change your life. Maybe it’s quitting the job that’s eating you up inside, asking him or her out, launching your own platform or taking the risk calling you.

But you’re waiting, and every day that passes is a missed opportunity.

My latest book, The Leap Of Your Life is designed to help you identify the bold decision, execute now and ensure you don’t wake up years down the line wondering what could have been.

Learn more here, or order on Amazon, Barnes & Noble or support your local independent bookstore.

 

60 Minutes Can Change Your Life Research and Notes

  • Journaling about stressful events: effects of cognitive processing and emotional expression. “This study indicates that journaling about a personally experienced stressful or traumatic event may facilitate positive growth from the event.”
  • Study focuses on strategies for achieving goals and resolutions, including the power of sharing your goals with others for a 70 percent increase in results.
  • Cal Newport Blog: Deep Habits: Plan Your Week in Advance. 
  • Brendon Burchard, High-Performance Planner. One of my favorite tools that has a simplified version of the above and I always do both.
  • The 1% Rule. In this book, I also write about the Sunday Reflection process, why it matters and how to connect all the dots to reserve engineer your success.

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Written by Tommy Baker.
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