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?

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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, today, there is a simpler word 'self-awareness'.  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, call it a chain-reaction.  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? A mother, 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 late-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 in Greece, it 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, a diary in a box. 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. I missed writing for myself. 

The perceived contented comfort zone I was living within, it was so far away from what comfort was. I've grown to realise that People Pleasing can be a strength, but only when the one who is doing most of the giving is contented with what they're being asked to give. 

In taking a look back at the reflective self, thanks to the No Limits worksheets they have offered to all subscribers with Psychologies Magazine,  I've accomplished 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 or a prompt? 

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 feel safe 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 individuals, 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?   

Image by and loaned from my own Wordpress Site. Thank you.


Julie Spencer

Ambassador and Learning Support Assistant, Psychologies Magazine

Proud Ambassador for Psychologies Magazine. The magazine encapsulates many of my core values: being kind, have compassion, look after your health and wellbeing, be professional and be supportive of others. A little self belief can go a long way. I have studied as a mature student. I went into a writing frenzy and spent 3 years writing in solitude. I was a stay at home mum, too. What I learned: being alone for long periods of time is bad for your health and wellbeing. Thanks to a little nudge from Psychologies Magazine I am reconnecting and rebuilding my C.V. I'm a creative. I have lots of ideas and I need to constantly realign my focus onto one project at a time. Until recently I had a real fear for public speaking, but after reading a book that suggested I acknowledge my fears and challenge them anyway; with the support of the Psychologies community and more I'm working through my fears one blog at a time.