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How I Used Journaling to Reach My Goals

Benefits of Journaling

January is always the start to a brand new year.  When I was younger, I would always have grand ideas on what I was going to accomplish. This was going to be my year; when I achieved all my goals and nothing was going to get in my way. I would write down all my goals and post them on the wall. But as the days went by, things got in the way and obstacles mounted. Before I knew it, the year was over and all I had was excuses about why I didn’t reach all my goals. Instead of putting in the hard work, all I had to show for  it was the pain of regret; the regret of what if? 

What if there was something I could have done to take the goals and break them down into measurable markers which I could check off or analyze? Well, there was and it’s called journaling.

Journaling is chronicling your daily and weekly habits as a way of analyzing how effective you are being. You can use journaling in your professional or personal life. You can do reflections in a notebook or on a computer. No matter which way you choose, the best thing to do is to simply start.

Now when you first start, it might be hard to think of what you write on. That’s ok; just start with the smallest detail. When I first started here at Peak, it was a bit overwhelming. Learning the coaches, members, methodology, and class flow seemed daunting. I felt overwhelmed; that I was failing as coach and not living up to the expectation of the great coach Peak envisioned me being. A big thing which helped me cope with these feelings and continue progressing to being that great coach was writing down my thoughts.

It was something completely foreign to me but I knew I could not do what I had done in the past.  I needed to evolve if I wanted to progress. Growth occurs when we push beyond our comfort zone. So after each class observation, conversation with a colleague, and interaction with a member; whether it be positive or negative, I wrote it down in my journal. I focused foremost on the flow of class and began to expand inward. At first, I hated it and I wasn’t very good at it. It felt forced and unnatural. I wanted to make excuses but something funny/remarkable happened. I found my voice. 

It didn’t happen overnight, but with each new entry that voice grew louder. I began to think critically about my style of coaching and interactions with people. My philosophy of coaching was evolving; how I created warm-ups, ran classes, handled questions about training, and so forth. Before I was reactionary; now I was being proactive. I was thinking four steps ahead instead of one. My conversations with colleagues became more in-depth. Writing down my thoughts was helping me achieve my goals. Each daily reflection became an experience I could draw on going forward.

It has now been 276 days of consistent reflecting. I can honestly say it is helping me become the great coach Peak envisioned me being. It wasn’t easy; nothing worthy of doing ever is. But little bit by little bit it became natural to me. 2023 was a great year for me because of the insight journaling gave me. If you give journaling a try, I’m sure 2024 will be a big success for you as well.

Photo by lilartsy on Unsplash

About the Author
Brian O’Neill has close to 20 years experience in the fitness industry.  He is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Coach, USAW-L1 and CrossFit L1.  A former Division I Swimmer at Fordham, Brian coached swimmers for 15 years at the club and college level. It was at the collegiate level that he formed a passion for helping athletes in the weight room.  Brian has spent the past 7 years working in the private sector blending his philosophy of swimming and weight training together. Brian spends his week at Peak Human Performance working with lifestyle athlete classes, Athlete level 1, UA Swimmers, and 1 on 1 clients. He seeks to teach all he works with that through better movement, one can push beyond their comfort zone to discover their best selves. @the_beard_of_zeus1

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