Today, I want to share with you the story about the journal that literally CHANGED MY LIFE! If you read until the end you will find out what you need to do to achieve the same amazing results.
How to live a GOOD life?
Start every day with a GOOD morning!
To be completely honest with you, for a long time I did not jump on the bandwagon to follow the “hype” of journaling – being it a gratitude journal, bullet journal, travel or food journal, … you name it. Until one day one of my holistic therapists suggested to try writing about my story. She adviced me to write down all the events of my past to remember and recapture what I have experienced. I actually found joy in writing and a new passion in expressing my thoughts into words. This is how my blog was birthed.
BUT the problem was that I always felt worse as soon as I started journaling; re-experiencing all the devastating thoughts and emotions that came up in my mind. It seemed like my journal was recapturing my recovery journey, but left me captured in my negative belief system at the same time. It felt like I was moving backwards and not forwards on my healing journey.
My therapist insisted that getting the thoughts out and on to paper would finally remove the tension from my life. So I kept on writing. But writing down my destructive thoughts and feelings did not solve any problems at all. Instead, it allowed me to dwell on anger and frustration even more. Writing down the negativity was only helping to fuel the tension. So I was using it as a way to justify my reactions to present situations (what psychologists consider as “inner child reactions”).
Shifting the focus from past to the present & future experiences
This is when I decided to try something different – without the initial approval from any therapist. I searched the internet in hope to find something that would support me on my healing journey. I soon stumbled across the law of attraction, manifestation techniques and visualization tools. No one ever introduced me to these tools before. Not any doctor, therapist or teacher. And I doubt that this is part of any curriculum university. At least I never stumbled across them during my 6 years at psychology school.
With the ambition to start all over again, I bought myself 5 different journals – and many more would follow during the next year. From the classic “bullet-journal” to the “90-day gratitude journal”, the “freedom journal” and the “five-minute journal” – believe me I have tried them all. None of them focused on the past, but rather on the present and the future.
That is, instead of writing down my past experiences, I started to visualize my (dream) future. Apart from journaling, I made a list of everything I wanted to accomplish in my life. What I wanted to look like. How I wanted to feel and who I wanted to be. During the process of finding what worked best for me, I tried a lot of different guided journals over an extended period of time.
Unfortunately, none of them really resonated with me or ‘changed’ anything either. Some journals where simply too long to keep me motivated to stick to every day. Others involved questions I consistently left out, because I just couldn’t find the words to answer them. Nevertheless, I learned a lot about manifestations, visualisation and how it impacts the way we think and feel. But I was still not making a lot of progress.
The time everything started to shift
One day, I came up with the idea, to create my very own little journal. A journal that would be easy to fill out every morning without spending hours writing and thinking about what to write down. I actually prefer the idea of calling it a daily “worksheet” opposed to “journal” as I like the idea of having a sheet of paper every day that I can “work on” – opposed to “have to fill the blanks”. 😉
So with the ambition to create my very own daily guidance, I deepened my research on different topics concerning positive psychology, mindfulness practices, gratitude, manifestations and the law of attraction. Then I finally stumbled across a fairly new method called “future self journaling“, which is now a big part of my “GOOD LIFE Journal“.
Unlike “tell the universe what you want, and it will provide” kind of advices that seem to spread all over social media, I wanted to create something that would actually make a real difference in my life.
So I did.
After gathering all information I needed, I put everything into action – and everything slowly started to shift.
It took me over 2 months to perfect my personal journal. Yes, I am a huge perfectionist, so I wanted this project to be perfect as well. When I was finally pleased with the result, I started filling in the empty spaces on a daily bases.
EVERY SINGLE DAY!
As some of you may know, research suggests that it takes approximately 30 days to create a new habit and stick to it. So I followed my journal for 30 days straight.
You want to know what happened?
How keeping a daily journal changed my life
I’ve practiced so many different techniques to condition my mind and heal my body. I studied psychology and nutrition. I became a yoga teacher and practiced mindful meditation. But none of them seemed to work for me on the long-term. As I believe in a holistic approach to healing, I think all of them helped a little bit to overcome my self-destructive thoughts and behaviour. So I will not say that “none of them worked at all”. Yet, the greatest shift evolved after approximately 20 days into following my newly developed habit of journaling.
The biggest difference from ‘traditional journaling’ is that I started to focus my mind on my goals – not on past experiences that harmed me in one way or the other. By simply shifting my attention from a state of lack to a state of abundance, I immediately started to attract more positivity into my life. And I could finally feel it. So I kept going.
When you can feel it, it is real
Did you know that your brain does not distinguish between the experience of an event and the mere thought about an event?
For this reason, visualizing your aspired future and linking it to desired emotions is actually signaling your brain that it is already happening. Every thought and vision has an impact on your brain and body. So if you start to constantly signal your body your desired circumstances are already real, you’re actively creating this future reality, because you start to actually live your reality.
Ever since I started this specific GOOD MORNING routine, I noticed that it really helps having a precise guideline to follow to create a new habit and to be consistent with it. Yes, I do believe that self-discipline is an essential part of your (healing) journey. This is why I want to share with you what helps me every morning to rock the rest of the day and to feel happier and healthier than ever before!
Remember my Mantra: Life is not about find yourself. It’s about consciously creating yourself! You are the CREATOR of your own life. You can make EVERY day a good day. And trust me, these days will add up to your very personal GOOD – if not AMAZING – life. Believe me these tools have turned my entire life upside down!
No magic over night
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle
Please keep in mind that this is not a one-pill-fix-all solution and that it takes time to make long-lasting changes. But your “future-self” will thank you!
The first few days after starting the GOOD LIFE Journal, I felt ridiculous. Writing things down that I wanted, made me feel rather pathetic and selfish. It felt pointless looking at the life I was living right now, which seemed galaxies away from my visions. My ego continued telling me that this wasn’t going to work.
In all honesty, it took about 20 days before I slowly started to notice the shifts. They were subtle but powerful. The more I journaled about how I wanted to feel and what I wanted to achieve, and the more I wrote about ACTUALLY achieving them and what it would feel like, I realized that my life wasn’t so limited at all. In fact, there was still plenty of time to create the future of my dreams.
I don’t think my days suddenly looked brighter by mistake or some “miracle of manifestation.” Instead I believe that this shift happened, because I actually identified with the things that I really wanted to do. When I realized that every morning, every day, every week of every month, I was writing down the same things over and over again, I graduately started learning what I really want and who I truly wanted to be.
What does the “GOOD LIFE JOURNAL” look like?
Now you may wonder what exactly my “magical” journal looks like. So I will give you a short overview down below.
I have initially created this journal with no intention to share it with anyone. But as I slowly started noticing small changes in my life, I started to think about showing it to someone else. So I printed 30 worksheets for my best friend, and another 30 worksheets for another and another until it was slowly making the round. Some of the people had never used a journal before, while others were already ‘journal-experts’. The one thing they had in common though, was that they had never applied the collected exercises on this worksheet as a whole. Of course, there is a reason I chose only 5 daily excercises and a reson for their arrangement and wording. (Keep in mind that I did a lot of research on the human brain and the mind-body connection – in both traditional and ‘untraditional’ form.)
So here is what the journal involves:
The first 2 exercises solely focus on the present moment. They are intended to show you 1. how many amazing things are already in your daily life, that you can be grateful for and 2. how awesome YOU already are.
Exercise 3-5, on the other hand, shift your focus from the present to the future. They are intended to make you envision and manifest your future self and help you become that person you are dreaming about, that is the best version of yourself. (Remember that if you can dream it, you can do it!)
One really important thing though: I believe that you cannot create a (dream) future with the same thinking that you used when you were creating it. This is why getting pleased with the present moment and your present reality is an essential part of creating and becoming something better (see exercises 1 & 2).
With that being said, your “future-self” is not an optimistic version of your past-self nor an idealistic version of your present-self. Instead, it’s as realistic as you can possibly make it. So do your best to envision it as specific as you can.
This powerful Good Life Journal builds on the wisdom of many years of self-development -improvement to help turn knowledge into a daily practice that’ll help you start living a better life now.
5 reasons why this journal is better than the others
- Quality over quantity. It is simpler and shorter than most of the other journals and takes no more than 3-5 minutes each day.
- Backed up by science. Don’t let the simplicity fool you. It is build on proven principles of positive psychology, based on tested and validated scientific research, and learnings from some of the best self-development teachers around the world. I have created this journal by combining modern scientific research with ancient wisdom traditions that have been proven out for hundreds of years into practical elements that can actually make a positive impact in your life. It’s all in here and made easy for you to implement into your daily routine.
- For EVERYONE. It’s a journal that is even suited for people who usually don’t write journals – or have never tried it before. Even kids can use it! No matter how young or old you are, what background you have in writing or psychology – I have your back!
- No set time limit. Whether you decide to do it for 30 days straight (as I would highly suggest!) or decide to extend your practice. I leave it up to you how many sheets you print out for yourself. I know from my own experience that it is easier to start something new without any pressure to do so.
- Clear instructions. Even though the 5 daily exercises are very simple, I give you a detailed outline of how you should work on each of them. Moreover, if you happen to have any questions, please feel free to contact me at any time! 🙂
What other people say after 30 days of using the GOOD LIFE Journal
Here are some personal e-mails I received after sending my Journal out to others:
“I used to be a skeptic of journaling, manifestation and visualization tactics. Mostly because I saw people using them as a type of mysterious “hack.” A way to make them feel good about themselves and their future without ever taking any real action beyond writing down the things that they want. But I trusted Nila, because she seemed to make such big progress herself. Now, after almost 40 days of journaling, I would not want to miss a single morning without these simple exercises “ – Christina, 26
“Before starting to work on “The GOOD LIFE Journal”, I would mostly journal about my negative thoughts and believed that writing them down was taking them out of my brain and allowing me to move on. I hate to say that everything changed when I started using Nila’s journal, because I never truly believed that it yould work. At first, it was difficult to envision a future version of myself, but I kind of liked the idea of thinking about a future that you would love to live one day. This is different from dreaming, because you are actually conscious when you paint your future self. I will definetly continue with this journal. Thank you Nila for opening my eyes to this amazing tool you have created.” – Hannah, 33
“These excercises are simple, yet highly effective as they gave me a whole new perspective on life. They showed me that it is ME who can chose, at any moment, how my life will turn out. It is a quick one page practice that serves as a touchstone in my pursuit of living a life of intention. Spending just a few moments in the morning make an enormous difference any given day. I highly recommend anyone who is searching for more meaning in their life to give it a try.” – Sofie, 27
Before you now think: “Give me that JOURNAL. I want to try journaling myself!” Here are some important things to consider before you start.
My top 5 Tips on journaling:
- Write it down with pen on paper (not on a digital device!). Doing it the “old-fashion” way not only makes the writing more intimate as emotions and feelings are expressed with much more depth. Studies also show that when it comes to learning and remembering, the pen is much mightier than the keyboard. Writing entails using the hand and fingers to form letters. The sequential finger movements activate multiple regions of the brain associated with processing and remembering information. Moreover, writing on paper will slow you down and force you to think a little bit longer about what you are doing and what you are writing down.
- This is not a quick fix. Repetition is key in this practice. In order to re-wire the neural pathways, you’ll need to commit to doing this EVERY SINGLE DAY for at least the next 30 days. Positive affirmations require regular practice if you want to make lasting, long-term change to the ways that you think and feel. Plan your days accordingly so that you don’t skip a day. Set your alarm earlier and keep the journal right next to your bed. Be compassionate and patient with yourself. Spend time doing things you haven’t done in a while and just enjoy the process.
- Backed-up by science. As a psychologist myself, I can assure you that this is not just idiocy! Neuroscientific research shows that writing things down is a powerful tool to re-wire the mind. Self-affirmations have been shown to decrease health-deteriorating stress, improve sleep and boost self-esteem in numerous studies. As you are writing, try to stay present and focus on the words and emotions those words bring up.
- Work through the resistance. Whenever you begin a new ritual, the brain will create a lot of ‘mental chatter’ around it. This is because the brain does not like new and uncertain situations. Getting past your mind to show up for yourself is a valuable practice. Trust me, it will get easier when you keep on following your goal. Set daily intentions – no matter how small they may be. Trust me, every little step will bring you closer to your future-self.
- Journal in the morning. Future-self journaling is best done when the mind is in a clear and peaceful state. Before you do anything else, commit yourself to writing. Do not look at your phone, because this will distract you from your imaginations. Do not try to do this when you’re in the middle of a stressful state or feeling emotionally depleted. Just take a couple of deep breaths before you start. But ner ‘force’ yourself to write. No one will kill you when you skip a day!
Last but not least: Journaling does not work, unless you do.
“Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” – Roald Dahl
This is by far the most important advice I will leave you with. In order to turn your words into reality, you need to act on them as well. This is not easy, but with your positive mindset it will be easier to act in accordance to your visions. Example: When you wake up and start your day with being grateful for your body that can lift you out of bed (excercise 1). Then tell yourself: “I am strong.” (excercise 2). You will notice yourself moving with more grace and brightness through the rest of the day.
Trust me, with these simple journaling exercises you will soon be better than you used to be yesterday, (but hopefully not as good as you will be tomorrow!). Believe me that by following this guided journal for the next 30 days, every day will be a really, really GOOD DAY! Just start with a GOOD MORNING, one day at the time.
So when people ask me: How to live a GOOD life?
My answer is: (Just) start every day with a GOOD morning!
Life is too short to wait
Are you ready to change your own life for the better?
This journal is your guide. Take action and make the magic happen!
Grab your journal
Let’s share this with our friends and family. Let us all inspire the world to make each and every other (boring, hopeless, hurting) day into a (beautiful, amazing, awesome) GOOD one!
Be willing to be a beginner. EVERY SINGLE MORNING!
Love & Light
Ps: Did you know that studies show you are 42 percent more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down? ✏️
So why not start today? 😇