The Most Important Tool You’ll Ever Need For Life Transformation

Sometime in your life you will go on a journey. It will be the longest journey you have ever taken. It is the journey to find yourself. ~Katherine Sharp

If I could have only one tool at my disposal to help me on my journey of personal growth, self-awareness, and life transformation, it would be a journal. (And I guess a pen too, but let’s say that’s included.)

If you’ve ever kept a journal then you know what I mean. It is an extremely powerful activity — one that is beneficial as a daily pursuit.

Through journaling, you can tap into your subconscious and your own inner wisdom. And frankly it’s our own wisdom that should serve as our highest guide. Who knows who you really are, what you want, and how to get there, any better than you do?

Through the process of journaling, you can peel back the layers of yourself by allowing the words from your soul to pour forth. It is truly transformative.

My friend Jodi Chapman who blogs at the beautiful blog Soul Speak wrote the bestselling Soulful Journals Series with her husband, Dan Teck.

They are avid journalers themselves, and through their work, both in journaling and writing themed journals, they have learned the amazing benefits of journal writing.

I sat down with Jodi to talk more about the benefits of journaling.

What exactly is journaling?

Journaling is a great way to get in touch with your inner self through writing. It’s a way to touch base and reconnect with your core – who you are beneath all of the “to dos” in your life.

Journaling is a private space reserved only for you – your writing, your thoughts, your voice. When you write in your journal, you get to write down your raw emotions, uncensored thoughts, and figure out just how you feel about your life.

How did you get started journaling?

I have always been a writer, and I have journaled throughout my life.
In my younger years, my journal was my diary. I wrote about normal things that any teenager would go through – heartaches and dramas that were playing out at school. Fights with my parents.

My journal was my confidante. I would pour my heart onto the page. It was my place to discover my feelings – until I wrote them down and sorted them out, I wasn’t always sure what they were.

I was watching Oprah many years ago and learned about a gratitude journal. This was such a new concept for me. I had been writing about what was wrong in my life – and this focused on what was right.

What a wonderful idea! So rather than using my journal to vent, I wrote about what I was grateful for.

I felt an intuitive hit inside of me. Looking at life through this lens and then writing about it was life changing. I believe that what you put out into the world comes right back to you.

And so focusing on what is working in my life and writing from my soul has definitely brought so many great things into my life – more than I could have ever imagined!

Why did you start creating journals for other people?

In the beginning, my intention was to create beautiful journals and share them with others. I focused on the outside of the journal – the pretty paper and original designs.

But as so often happens as we grow, my interest shifted from outward appearances to what was on the inside – I wanted our journals to inspire people to live their best lives by offering tools to help them go within.

This process was reinforced by our many customers who said that they thought the journals were beautiful but that when they opened them up and saw the blank page, it freaked them out. They didn’t know what to say or where to start.

Their comments inspired us to create our Soulful Journals Series. The writing prompts make it easy and fun for people to get to know themselves better, and I’m thrilled that they quickly became our bestselling products!

What are some of the benefits that a person can get from journaling?

  • Journaling helps you slow down and become more grounded. Journaling allows you the space to slow down and get in touch with your inner voice. We always have the answers – it’s just that we get so busy that the answers get buried underneath all of our multi-tasking.
  • It’s a form of meditation. You have to be present when you are journaling. You can’t be doing anything else – in that exact moment, you are writing. You are going within – you are getting in touch with that part of you who is so wise. You are allowing yourself to let go of everything else and just be right here. Your breathing slows down. Your shoulders loosen. Your head begins to clear. And you remember how wonderful a feeling this is – you remember how much you love being with yourself.
  • Writing prompt journals help guide you gently in a positive direction. For instance, they can help you remember what you’re grateful for; get clear about what you want, or set and keep your goals. They are also great tools when you’re going through a major life transition and need some guidance.

How should you go about it? Is there a good way to get into the habit of it?

  • Create a sacred space. I would definitely suggest creating a sacred space before you begin journaling – a place where you can write in private without distractions. It could be an entire room that you convert into your inner sanctum, or a comfy chair in your living room, the car while you are waiting to pick up your kids from school, on a park bench, or at a coffee shop. Anywhere that you feel you can be alone with your thoughts and be free to express them.
  • Start slowly. If you are just now starting a journaling practice, I would recommend starting slowly to set yourself up for success right from the start. You would be amazed at how much your life will improve simply by spending five minutes each day writing down what you are grateful for. It’s literally life changing!
  • Eliminate distractions. Be sure to let your loved ones know that you’ll be inaccessible for a little while. If there is a door to close, close it. Turn off your phone. Close your computer. This is your time, and you are worth giving your full attention to.
  • Breathe into it. If you sit down and center yourself before writing, your inner voice will step up and your pen will begin to move. It’s okay to close your eyes and write – this is a great technique to help your higher self step into the driver’s seat.
  • Get out of your own way. Be sure to let the words flow onto the page without judging them or censoring them. Journaling is a time to let it all out. Remember that this is just for you – only your eyes will see it. So feel safe putting the real you out there.

Can anyone journal, even those who don’t feel they write well?

Definitely! That’s one of the things that I love most about journaling – no one else will ever see it except for you.

This means that you get to write however you want about whatever you want. The point is to get it out – not to write well. Your inner voice doesn’t care how it sounds, it just cares that you are growing and learning, which will happen naturally through journaling.

What are the benefits of hand-written journaling over computer journaling?

I honestly think that journaling is beneficial whether it’s handwritten or on the computer. Just getting out what’s inside of you and understanding how you work and what you are feeling is essential and so important.

However, I will say that I love writing in a paper journal. It feels special – I feel special. I love lighting a candle, sitting in a comfy chair, and pulling out my journal and just seeing what comes out.

How are your Soulful Journals helpful tools for getting to know ourselves better?

I am a writer and am usually not at a loss for words. However, sometimes I sit down to journal and draw a blank. Our prompts are a great starting point. I like to flip through the journal and randomly start writing on whichever page opens.

The prompts are really good for expanding our writing, as well. It’s easy to get into a journaling rut where we find that we’re writing about the same things day after day – year after year. Writing prompts ensure that doesn’t happen – they encourage you to go in a different direction and in doing so, you inevitably learn more about yourself.

For me, The Commitment Book helped me reach my goal of setting up my blog, Soul Speak, and posting consistently. I wanted to commit to something that I was passionate about, and my entire world has changed because of it. I am reaching my dreams and helping others in the process.

Special Offer from Jodi

As a special offer just for Live Bold and Bloom readers, Jodi is offering her Manifestation Journal Set at a special price for my readers.

This normally sells for $22.50, and it’s just $19.95 for you!

These three interactive books are a guide to help you through three steps to creating your ideal life and keep you on track with intentions and resolutions.

Step 1: Gratitude – The Gratitude Book: 50 Prompts to Keep the Grateful Feelings Flowing inspires you to focus on the positive and appreciate all the wonderful things already in your life.

Step 2: Visualization – As If: 50 Prompts to Help Manifest Your Ideal Life helps you to clarify your vision and feel the same gratitude for things to come as you do for the positives already in your life.

Step 3: Commitment – The Commitment Book: Helping You Keep Your Word to Yourself helps you take consistent action, which will set the universal wheels in motion to help you reach your ideals.

You already have the dreams. Here are the tools to help them come true!

Click here to receive these 3 beautiful journals for just $19.95!

25 thoughts on “The Most Important Tool You’ll Ever Need For Life Transformation”

  1. Soulful journaling for me was most successful and life-alterating when I colorsketched my dream images along the my notes and little poems for that day’s entry. Now I pretty much “journal” in dialogue with my favorite bloggers. I still keep a small notebook with me at all times (even a tiny one in a pocket when woods’ rambling!”) and stay out of a lot of trouble in group meetings by jotting!

    • That sounds lovely Rose. I’d love to see your sketches. I think carrying a small journal with you at all times is a great idea. You never know when you’ll have a free moment or an inspired idea!

  2. Hello Barrie,
    Thank you for writing this post. Whenever I take up journaling I usually feel at my creative best. I notice that I can write with a clarity that baffles me days later with a kind of ; ‘is it me who wrote that?’ kind of wonder. Unfortunately I have a great shortcoming because I do it only in short bursts with long gaps in-between. With this post’s reminder I hope I will be more disciplined and more strict with myself. Have a good night/day.

    • I have that same feeling Murigi. When I go back and look at what I’ve written, it almost doesn’t seem like me! If you can capture some of your inspired and creative thinking as soon as it comes up, that makes for some amazing journaling! That’s why Rose’s idea of carrying a journal everywhere is a good one. It’s a great practice when waiting in a doctor’s office or standing in line somewhere.

  3. Hi, I do the morning pages – an exercise of Julia Cameron from The Artist’s Way. It’s similar to journaling. It’s done the first thing in the morning before the day seeps into your body and mind. It’s handwritten, stream of consciousness writing. I guess the one difference is it’s limited to 3 pages. That can take up to 30 minutes sometimes. I love the discipline upon waking up before starting the day.

    • Hi Harriet,
      I did morning pages for a long time, and I got so much benefit from it. It’s amazing what floats up from the subconscious mind. What a great habit! 🙂

  4. Thank you so much, Barrie! It’s such an honor to be here talking about my love of journaling. I complete agree with you that if I could only have one tool for personal growth, it would definitely be a journal. The answers are always inside of us, and journaling is such a powerful way to get right to them. ♥

    • Jodi, thank YOU for sharing your wisdom and offering my readers such an incredible deal on your lovely journals. So glad to have you here!

  5. You go Jodi! As a therapist I always recommended my clients used a daily journal. The ones that did progressed faster than the others. I love your personal story!

  6. Keeping a gratitude journal has been one of the most transformative practices I’ve adopted in my life. It’s so easy to forget about how many little things there are to be grateful for… Keeping them in a place where you can easily reflect is a nice reminder.

    I was having an awful day sometime last week, and I paused my irritation just long enough to start writing in my gratitude journal…It totally changed my day around. Just stopping to be grateful for a beautiful blue sky, a conversation with a loved one, etc. can flip the switch like nothin.

    Thanks for writing this great article to help others start their journaling practice..It’s so important!


    • That’s wonderful Kaylee. Putting things in writing makes them more real, more solid. A thought of gratitude passes in and out, but words stay forever and are constant reminders of our blessings. It is a great resource for a mood boost just to go back and read your list! Thank you for sharing!

  7. I remember quite a few years ago Oprah saying on her TV show that starting a gratitude Journal changed her life soooo much . Now I can also say the same .
    A wonderful way to do this is share online . I share witha team in Sparkpeople & it is amazing how someone elses gratitudes will make you aware of similar ones in your own life .

    • That’s a wonderful idea Maria! Your gratitude has led you to other gratitude-filled people. And now you have a new network of friends. Journaling has some unexpected benefits!

  8. Thank you Barrie! I love to write in my journal and I buy journals like some people buy coffee or shoes. It’s my “thing”. After I got to looking at all the journals that Jodi has to offer, I couldn’t settle for the three journal set being offered, I HAD to have the five journal set. Thanks for a great post and for connecting me with Jodi’s Soulful Journals.

    • How nice Connie! I don’t know if there’s a treatment for “journal addiction,” but it sounds like a habit that is worth leaving untreated! 🙂 Thank you for your kind comments.

  9. Hi Barrie,

    Indeed journaling is a very powerful activity. Patterns and lessons that are not clear as we are in the midst of them become clearer on hindsight and it is through journaling that we can attain this clarity.

    I enjoyed the interview that you did with Jodi. The part that stands out most for me is how she says that writing prompt journals helps to guide us gently in the right direction. Indeed I always make sure that I record my daily I-Ching readings in my journal. This helps me to keep track of significant events in my life and to practice my foresight. Although it is mostly point form, it serves its purpose and provides insight I can use later in my life.

    Thank you for sharing this lovely interview!

    Irving the Vizier

    • Hi Irving,
      I totally agree about writing things down — it helps to keep track of things and to get them out of the muddle of your brain so that you can look at them concretely. I did that with the I Ching reading you did for me, and it help so much in capturing my first thoughts as I reviewed the information!

  10. What if you don’t like writing? I am more of a numbers person myself; forcing myself to keep a journal would probably end up being stressful for me. I have kept a journal before and I end up finding it very boring since I am writing what I already know in my head. Am I missing something?

    • Hi Jennifer,
      I think journaling would still be beneficial for you, but maybe you structure it differently to suit your style. Maybe you write lists rather than sentences — like a gratitude list or an idea list. Even though you know these things in your head, it is useful to put them on paper to refer back to them later. Journaling is sort of like therapy. You can release what is in your head, and the benefits often show up long after the session is over!

  11. finding myself is indeed a long journey. i’ve always kept a journal, and it has played a large part in helping me through recovering from depression. i think everyone needs to have one. i even have a journal for my puppy to record her growth moments!!! 🙂
    Noch Noch

  12. Thank you for this enlightening post, Barrie. I have … well, a ton … of journals with two pages of writing in them. I start. Can’t think of what to write. Drop the whole thing. Then do it all over again with some new journal months later. Failures, one and all. BUT … you have given me new hope: a novel idea — write of the GOOD things I think, feel, experience, witness in my life. Dang, what a thought! I may try again. I want to try again. I want to succeed. I write books, but can’t journal to save my skin. Yet. Thank you!


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