The Diary is a Powerful Tool

It has been six months since I completed the No Limits Worksheets. There is no race, just the need for a review. How can I know if I am truly achieving ‘whatever’ without a reminder of where I was at? What was I thinking? Where to now?

Go to the profile of J. Spencer
Jun 21, 2018

Lately, I have read so many books about setting goals and targets. I’ve even visited a few digital courses with Future Learn, The Open University. I am learning so much new knowledge, and equally having a lot of past knowledge that I would once have used in the everyday, reinforced.

Recently, I began to wonder why I needed to read these books, and why did I place myself onto the Future Learn courses? Where on earth was I headed?

It is quite normal to have these moments. I often become so consumed within the process of doing, that I fail to see the goal. The goal drifts away because I am completely enjoying what I am doing. Then, something will shift or maybe connect (I haven’t decided yet) and I will stop myself and think, what was the point in all of this again?

Personally, since I was quite small I have loved writing lists, notes and prompts. I had a diary. I liked to write about me. Doesn’t that sound narcissistic? But it wasn’t. I wasn’t alone, I wasn't self-obsessed. I had plenty of family around me, I wasn’t depressed - I didn’t know what the word depression even meant. I wrote lots of notes and a diary because I wanted to understand myself.  In noting down times, situations and past experiences, I would often go back and review my old-self and think: Why was I thinking like that?

Why talk about it here and now?

I am choosing to share my recent findings on Life Labs because I’ve learned something and wanted to share it with others.  This piece of learning happened whilst I have chosen to participate in something even greater than and in addition to diary notes. I am actively participating in the completion of the Life Lab Worksheets because I wanted to.

It was back in January 2018, that I completed the No Limits Worksheets.

I was a little daunted at first, here I am, an educated female in the subject of English Literature with Creative Writing. I often have an internal-battle with myself since achieving in this subject: Do I write for others, or for myself? I am a female, often very deep and profound in thought, and on occasions I wondered whether it would be safe for me to complete the worksheets without a guide? What would I unearth? Was I ready?

Thankfully, I recognise that these thoughts are all quite natural responses when trying something new.

I ended up writing quite a lot in week 1, and concluded June 2018:

·         Try not to dwell or overthink

·         Career, but what?

·         Shift envy to purpose

·         Believe in yourself.


Deeper still:

1.       The Comfort Zone I happily live in, why does it often suffocate me?

2.       What would you be doing if you were without your partner?

3.       Even though I love writing, why does every day feel like groundhog?

To answer these deeper questions, I had to dwell a little, I had to think about career, touch base with envy,  and start to listen and believe in myself. What testing times!  This isn’t something I'd ever had to consciously do prior to having my own family, especially in my own early-years as an adult; single, professional, learning as I went.

I revisited my childhood and the diary writing I once did as a teen. I had taken the diary with me when I travelled to Rhodes, Greece and worked as an Administrator and Hospital Representative for three summers.  The most amazing years in growing up. I filled the diary with so many real-life stories and adventures, and I would choose to write a little prayer every night, because the process of writing gave me time to pause and reflect.

Sadly, the company I worked for didn’t survive past 1994 and liquidated. In returning to the UK, my notes and stories became sorrowful, then a romance happened. I stopped writing and I stored the diary in a box at the bottom of a cupboard in my old bedroom at home. When I was 19 years old I left it there. When I moved out and became a partnership, starting out. I forgot about the diary for a while. Life was happening. I was too busy to write, but at the back of my mind I knew I was supressing who I really was to ensure a pleasant co-partnership and connection.

The perceived contented comfort zone was so far away from what comfort was. Today, I identify the persona I portrayed as ‘people-pleaser’, I was living, but still had a lot to learn. 

Prior to becoming a partnership, I had never

·         dwell nor overthought, I just wrote in my diary

·         worried about career, I followed my intuition and went with what felt right

·         never considered envy, nor purpose, I enjoyed every second of opportunity that arose

and I had never had to tell the self 'to believe in myself' I just 'naturally or maybe conditionally' did it.

After a few live-chats on the Psychologies Facebook Page this year, and a little, or maybe a lot of thought, I realise, I was granted so many wonderful opportunities when I wrote in my diary. I had also been surrounded by people that wanted the best for me. Family and friends wanted me to find out about life, for myself.  So, when in later life I returned to my family and asked, “Do you still have my diary?” I felt sadness in so many ways when I heard the answer.

They didn’t have my diary, nor any of my other personal possessions. My mum had chosen to throw them away when I never came home. I found out after a chat that my mum had found it quite tough keeping my things, she had wanted me to return home. She told me it was very difficult watching her children grow up and go off in their new directions. I was also a little mortified to learn that my mum had read my diary before throwing it out. After she had read it, she had concluded that I would be okay and could look after myself. I had looked after myself in Greece. Now, only a bus-ride away rather than a flight, it was time to let go of the past.

In taking a look back at the reflective self, thanks to the worksheets offered to all subscribers with Psychologies Magazine.  It has been six months or self-research, there is no race, just the need for a review. How can I know if I am truly achieving ‘whatever’ without a reminder? 

Lately, I have read so many books about setting goals and targets. I am learning so much new knowledge, and equally a lot of the past re-prompted knowledge that I would and should use in the everyday, reinforced. I may be content in my comfort zone, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t step outside of it every once in a while, for myself. I am a nut for forever-learning. I adore new experiences. If I haven’t already said it in my many blogs and social media links, thanks to Psychologies Magazine and the team for coming into my life, and reminding me that writing in diaries, completing notes and filling in self-help worksheets can be really good for us, or maybe purely just for me! 

Onward to personal mastery – a forever work in progress.

Next time: That was just a review of week 1 in January 2018. What about Week 2!? Can’t I talk?   

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Go to the profile of J. Spencer

J. Spencer

Creative Writer

Proud to be an Ambassador for Psychologies Magazine. Practised in self-publishing eBooks and blogging. Method of Practice, I-Ching. In search of a creativity niche, maybe it's Lifestyle Choices? I hope to encourage and empower others to write and journal creatively, it's possible to find a sense of self through words. Being kind to others and ourselves is my motivation and I value professionalism, and integrity.

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