by Kathie England

Why Keeping a Journal Helps You Show Up

On January 20, 2017, Inauguration Day, I launched My 1000 Small Steps project and posted my first newsletter and blog on this topic. I invited family, friends, and acquaintances to join this project to help keep us engaged and committed to change the outcome of the next presidential election on November 3, 2020.
Showing Up was the theme for last month’s post. For February’s post I’ve invited a guest writer, Gale Long, to share his story. Gale was one of the inspirations for this project. When you read his words below, I think you’ll understand the theme for this month’s post: Why Keeping a Journal Helps You Show Up.

“I’m here to encourage you to use Kathie England’s ‘journal’ to counteract the toxicity of the Trump presidency.

I’ve worked with Kathie for over a decade to align my behavior and habits with my desired end results. My perspective tends towards the glass half empty, especially as I discount my successes. I also live with a gratitude ‘vacuum.’

After Kathie and I talked about these mental models, I could change and hold new, more productive behavior for a few weeks, sometimes for months. But it seemed like I always resumed my prior practices. About five years ago I committed to sending Kathie an email every day listing my successes and ‘gratefuls.’ It’s evolved into a habit and I rarely miss sending her my email.

So what has this to do with Kathie’s invitation to journal our political actions to resist being normalized into a Trump world?

First, it helps to have an ‘accountability buddy.’ Changing behaviors is tough work for me and it helps me remember I promised Kathie I’d send my ‘check in’ email by 9:00 am each day.

Second, my email strand provides me a tangible record of what I’ve done. Sounds simple but it provides a powerful engine to stay at it. You can literally count your successes. They don’t fade into the irretrievable memory hole.

I said I wanted to be more cognizant of my success and my gratitude. My old habits kept pulling me away from my intentions. This simple tool and my commitment to use it daily have dramatically improved my awareness of 1) my successes and 2) those sources of gratitude in my life.

I intend to use Kathie’s journal format to stay actively engaged in revealing the harm of the Trump administration, and the discrepancy between what he promised and what he delivers. My history tells me that keeping a daily log of my actions towards that end will increase my capacity to stay in that activity and more easily measure my efforts.”

Gale’s words illustrate how powerful keeping a daily record of success and gratitude has been for him. Thank you, Gale, for your inspiration, your commitment, and sharing your story!
I hope My 1000 Small Steps journal will help each of us continue to show up, stay engaged, and remind us collectively we can make a difference.
I close again with words from President Obama’s farewell address:
“…change only happens when ordinary people get involved, and they get engaged, and they come together to demand it.”