Why keeping a diary will help you boss a new year!
The 2020 Self-reflection guide.
My raw and real take on a few notes from this year....
WARNING: There are zero political/covid references in this blog post, just emotional notes and diary entries from a 30-year-old middle-class Yogi who loves to get deep and dirty in mindful living. Not for the hard-hearted!
It's the end of December yet again, the next year is knocking firmly on our doors and frankly.. I am excited to greet it! But before we all do, it's important to take the time to reflect on the growth, accomplishments and self-development we have done to now. To reflect on what has gone to plan and what hasn’t. What has gone well and what has felt like a total sh*t storm.
But ‘Self-development??’ Lol. Yes.
I know that might seem like the last realisation on our minds but so much of that magic has happened throughout this rotten year without you even realising... Trust me! And from this, we should then consider how we want to continue to grow moving forward. We still have a lot of time that deserves to be lived fully and compassionately whatever the circumstances.
One thing that has helped me through all of the above, is my diary!
Now, I realise as years go on I am becoming a rare breed for even keeping a physical diary, but lucky for you, I am going to share with you in this post what I have learnt. I hope with this I may share some inspiration and takes, on one of the most alien years of our lives!
I have kept a diary since I can remember and that takes me back to the age of 6. I don’t journal every day but a handful of times a month just to summarise experiences, lessons, hurt, love, pain, excitement and celebrations!
For a lot of us who do keep a diary, it’s elementary to just visit it and write when we are going through tougher times, which arguably is useful as it allows us to accept and move forward, but we must remember to journal what we are celebrating about ourselves too!
If anyone was to see my diaries, they may think I am barking mad, because I often sign them off with a compliment and love to myself in the third person. I do this because it’s so important to show love and support towards yourself. I mean, if you can’t, you aren’t going to give or receive it from anyone else as hard as that may be to swallow.
Writing in the third person is also always a great exercise of self-analysis if and when you decide to read your entries back.
When I first started keeping a diary I was too young to know why. I just knew I found it comforting. Now I am older I am so grateful I have, as it has helped me through so much and I have almost become my own best friend amongst all the other beautiful people that have supported me through life as I have them.
It allows me to look back, reflect and move forward with purpose.
Something I was told in my early/mid-twenties which has always strongly stuck with me and is relevant to one of the biggest benefits to journalling, was;
“If you are depressed you are living in the past.
If you are anxious you are living in the future.
If you are at peace you are living in the present.”
Depression and/or anxiety is experienced by a high volume of people around you at least once in their life. Even without you knowing, as we all manage these experiences differently, some silently.
It petrifies me to think about how many have had to fight these emotions this year without support, but I hope what I share helps or inspires at least someone.
What journaling and reflection time has always benefited me with, is the ability to keep moving in the right direction. So I don’t dwell on the past because I offload it, read it back and accept it. So I don’t worry about my future and live in a mind of mental to-do list’s, because I offload my thoughts in my diary. Keeping a diary has allowed me to see me for who I really am, to empty my mind of un-serving thoughts, create headspace for creative living and live more compassionately.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I still get waves of anxiety, have days where not facing the world and staying in bed seems easier or stuffing my face with not one, but a packet of biscuits, as I lose self-control to avoid all the things I don’t want to do or have to think about at that moment. Sound familiar?
No one is perfect and I don’t strive to be. I just accept that some days are easier than others and the bad days give me more strength and beauty in the long run.
So, here are my last two diary entries. Besides being very PG entries from me, (I'll save the juicy stuff for me) they give you a little taste of my mind and what I use my diary for. They show you what I have taken from everyday experiences recently and what lessons I am going to be taking into 2021!…
*Some detail has been removed for others privacy and what I am referring too specifically, is not relevant to what you may take from it but I hope you do.'
I am feeling really great but I want to recognise truly why? One pattern I have seen before which I wish I remembered sooner this particular time around, is my bravery to accept something isn’t sitting right. Making what seems and feels like a hard decision that’s proven right after patience through a healing process is so empowering!
I don’t feel stressed right now at all about anything in my life although nothing significant has changed in regards to what I find usually stresses me… Work, money, time, pressure. I have just chosen not to stress and worry about them. This is a beautiful reminder of our freedom and power of choice which is also such an empowering realisation.
When you feel empowered you feel in control. When you feel in control, you feel content, and when you feel content, you feel happy.
It all boils down to actually trusting yourself to make the right decisions Charlotte even if they are hard. Saying no and walking away from a situation that wasn’t going to give you what you need although, at that moment you selfishly wanted it. Saying yes to the things that you can’t be arsed with right there and then, but you know it’s going to feed your future! Saying yes to the things that scare you or require your vulnerability and trusting the process.
HELLO, 3rd lockdown of the year. FFS. We were promised it wouldn’t go on this long, we were promised many things but anyone with half a brain cell will surely take a lesson here; Never promise, as everything external is not in your control.
The value of acceptance for things you can’t change and letting go is all part of life's journey, It is its fuel! And once you realise that, all efforts become lighter and life flows more freely and organically.
This is my first Christmas in a long time where I have felt totally content with who I have in my life and who I don’t. As savage as it sounds, you have to be brave enough to push out the poison and let in the risks and that’s one thing I have done this year.
2020 has forced us all to only spend time around those who feed our souls with good vibes, as we have had to actually physically choose carefully for the most part with government restrictions.
I have opened new doors and there is a lot of discovery still to do, but it feels balanced and effortless which is how human contact should be.
With anything new, I always catch my mind trying to encourage un-easy thoughts. Sometimes, it's of characteristics I have possessed in the past that have been total ruiners and helped me actively avoid commitment. But, as people, we grow, we learn & we change and I can’t hold onto old habits as they no longer exist in-person but in-mind.
I am happy and have been for years since starting my yoga journey as a student and now a teacher. My journey is clearer with acceptance of challenges but I promise ( uh oh, I swore!) Sorry, ‘ I INTEND , NOT PROMISE’ to move forward into 2021 more gently.
Charlotte/ Me xxx