Words of Wisdom 013: On journaling as a skill

Thanks to master organizer Marie Kondo, many of us now evaluate our belongings based on the principle that things we love should spark joy in our lives.

But we so easily miss out on bringing an intentional process of reflection to the rest of our lives. Just as passivity can leave us buried under many possessions we don't actually need, so can we unintentionally fall into patterns of behavior that don't serve us or others well.

You know about journaling, you may have even done it here or there, but do you practice it?

Journaling is a way to help deepen your awareness, deepen your gratitude, improve your perspective, and enjoy the world.

Like anything else, journaling is a skill. One only developed with intention over time. Without creating a consistent practice, you haven't yet seen the benefits of journaling.

Without intentional practices for reflection, we end up leading a diluted life.


Practicing the AEIOUY Journal, in particular, will help you over time by growing how you engage with yourself and with the world.

AEIOUY Journal

•A=Have I been •A•bstinent today? Include if you are going to 'edging' behavior. Are you abstinent but going right up to the edge without acting out? Surrender that by journaling it. You need to decide what you will be abstinent from: drugs, alcohol, junk food, sugar, selfish sexual behavior, over-work, over-exercise, or the computer/social media or TV. If you're unclear about what selfish sexual behavior means for you, do the 3 Circles exercise.

•E=Have I •E•xercised today? You can include your total step count for the day if you track that. Tracking your movement practice is a powerful thing, even if it's a few minutes of intentional movement or stretching.

•I=What have •I• done for myself today? Include any self-care. Self-care isn't selfish; it's sharpening your sword daily, so you are more effective in the world. It means being present for the little things that bring you joy. If you want to better reflect on your self-care, take this free assessment.

•O=What have I done for •O•thers today? Include any kindness or any way you serve others.

•U=Am I holding on to •U•nexpressed emotions today? Anything you haven't expressed or processed, any resentments, fears, worries, regrets, or upcoming stressors.

•Y•Yeah! What is something good that's happened today? Include anything you are grateful for or want to celebrate.

(AIEOY checklist created by Brene Brown, Ph.D.)

If you commit to doing this daily journal, first set your sites on doing it every day for a month. You won't see the most benefits this journaling will bring unless you practice it consistently over time and deepen your skills in self-reflection.

Decide who is trustworthy that you can send your journal. Who can you trust to be rigorously honest and vulnerable with? Sharing your daily journal will significantly increase the likelihood of long-term success. It will also help your friend or friends better know how to support you.


"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you."

Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

“Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open.”

Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones

"Honesty leads to healing because people can now express their love for us in practical ways. Honesty leads to healing because we no longer have to pay the high tariffs that pretense demands. We heal because the experience of acceptance counteracts the contempt we so easily heap on ourselves. We heal because we are no longer alone. We heal because we are known and loved. Honesty is a discipline with a promise. We will be healed."

Dale and Juanita Ryan, Rooted in God's Love


What do I need?

What is most difficult for me to be transparent about with my friends?


Journaling is a practice of being honest, and sharing it with a trusted community is a powerful and intentional way to be known more deeply. Take a bold step and begin to journal today!

If there is someone that you think would be trustworthy to share your journal with, they might also be the type of person interested in the Words of Wisdom newsletter. Send them here!

Until next week, live wisely,


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