Stress is not what happens to us, it's our response to what happens...and response is something we can choose.Stress stinks. Most people who have a fast-paced job or a lot of personal responsibilities feel stressed a lot and for some, stress turns into a chronic condition. It’s important to manage stress before it becomes a problem. If left untreated, it can result in high levels of anxiety or even burnout. Luckily, keeping stress in check is simple when you adopt healthy lifestyle habits. These five suggestions can help you maintain a healthy work-life balance and keep your stress levels low.

Make relaxation a priority.
When you’ve got a million and one things to do, it’s easy to let personal time fall by the wayside. This is a mistake, though – by pushing yourself too hard and never taking time to unwind, you’re more likely to burn out, which will make you less productive in the long run. Dedicating a few minutes every day to recharging your mental and emotional batteries can go a long way towards keeping your stress levels low. Pick a relaxation technique that appeals to you, such as meditation, deep breathing, or journaling, and find ways to work it into your daily routine.

Take care of your health.
It might seem counterintuitive, but when you’re stressed, you should avoid comfort food instead of seeking it out. Foods laden with fat and sugar might take your mind off your worries temporarily, but they can make you feel sluggish, irritable, or moody in the long run. A healthy diet full of fruits, vegetables, and lean protein, on the other hand, can keep you feeling clear-headed and energetic, which will help you deal with stress better. Don’t forget to get your heart pumping, too – exercise is a great stress reliever. If you’re too busy for a long workout or haven’t been to a gym in years, try sneaking a quick walk, a few pushups, or a stretching session into your day. Keep Reading

When people think of boosting their productivity, they usually only involve their daytime hours. However, to have a productive day, you need to start by having the right nighttime routine. Getting adequate rest is a priority but it’s not the only requirement for a productive tomorrow. Here are six nighttime routines that will increase your productivity.

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What do you write in a journal? Here are 15 ideas.

Choosing what to write in a journal starts with understanding why you’re writing. It might seem like nothing special or important happened in the past 24 hours that you would want to share with anyone, even the future you. But writing in a journal isn’t only for preserving stories for future generations, it’s therapeutic for you. Use daily journal writing to better understand yourself, others, improve your memory, set goals and report on progress, or express your feelings about your family. There are a number of reasons to keep a journal. Here’s what you can write in it.

  1. Stories from the past. They don’t even need to be from the last 24 hours. Have you been reminiscing?
  2. Things your kids have done. They grow up so fast. Did they do something funny, say something wise beyond their years?
  3. Career challenges. Maybe they’re too complex for a spouse, friend or family member to understand and advise. Writing it down will help you gain clarity.
  4. Career goals. Where do you hope to be in 5 years? What skills do you need to get there? Writing down your goals and your plan to achieve them means your more likely to succeed.
  5. News. What’s happening in today’s world and what are your interpretations of the events? Remember that JRNL co-founder Steve Reed read his grandfather’s journal and saw that his grandfather wrote an entry when he heard that President Lincoln was going to Ford’s Theater that night and an entry the next day with the sad news. Hindsight is 20/20 and you’ll never have another chance to write down exactly what you know in this moment.
  6. Politics. Eek. We all are tired of politics, right? But writing your opinion on current regulations or issues will help you better understand your reasons for feeling a certain way. Plus, you’ll be better at explaining your rationale to someone else.
  7. Events. A beautiful wedding, a first-birthday celebration. You have your own interpretation of events that deserves some attention. You’ll appreciate having a record of your thoughts from that day and you might be surprised that your memory ends up contrasting with what you wrote.
  8. Visiting friends/family. Something I realized lately is that I’ve forgotten a lot of the details of what I did in college. (And it’s not because I partied too much!) I wish that I had kept a journal so that I could look back on when friends visited me, what we did while they were here, and who else was there with us.
  9. Yourself. It sounds too simple, but how are you doing? Recognizing that you haven’t been eating well or sleeping well can help you take the steps to improve.
  10. Your routine. Maybe you think it’s too boring, however, your routine will change over time. It might be interesting to look back and reflect on “how you did it” a few years ago versus now. Also, writing it down can help you stick to a routine if you tend to have trouble doing something every day. (For example, writing in a journal.)
  11. Health strangeness. Maybe your stomach has been hurting lately and you can’t pinpoint the reason for it. Write down what you’ve eaten, when it hurts, and for how long. This sort of information will be extremely helpful when you go to the doctor with your case.
  12. Potential lawsuits. Having a few fights with your neighbor? If you feel like your neighbor might take it to court (or you might have to), then document everything.
  13. HR Complaints. The same guidance goes for issues in the workplace. If you’re having a disagreement with a colleague or your boss, make sure you write down everything that occurred. Make sure you include all of the facts. The feelings about the incident would be more for your benefit than it would for a formal HR complaint.
  14. What you’ve learned. They say you should learn something new every day. What did you learn today?
  15. Quotes that inspire you. The wisdom from other folks is sometimes just what we need to get through a rough day or emphasize a behavior that we want to accomplish. Bible verses are definitely appropriate!

A journal is whatever you want it to be. Your goals for keeping a journal might change or you might have a few different ones. Regardless, it’s your journal and you can write what you want to.

What do you write about in your journal? Any advice for others who are trying to get into the daily journal writing habit? Leave a comment with your wisdom and help others.

Get more gratification from journalingJournals can be great tools for unleashing creativity, freeing the mind, and discovering more about yourself. But to get the most out of yourpersonal writing routine, you need to overcome a few obstacles, like knowing when to write and how to avoid ranting. The good news is, with patience, practice, and a little know-how, you can jump the hurdles of journaling and make it a habit that brings profound joy and rewards.

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You are amazing. You know that, right? Not a single human being on this planet is the exact same as you. This journaling challenge is all about self-love. There are 28 journal prompts below; that’s one prompt for each day of the month. Let’s find out what makes you truly amazing. Keep Reading

One of the most difficult parts of life is trying to summon up creativity when your mind is seemingly out of fresh ideas. Whether you are trying to come up with a great new business idea or a new piece of music or artwork, nothing is as infuriating as not being able to find ideas when you need them. Here are five easy tricks you can use to inspire yourself and uncork your creative juices.   Keep Reading

We often receive requests to add a spell check to JRNL. The good news is, you already have the capability to spell check your entries! There are a few ways to make sure your writing is error-free. (Keep in mind, we don’t think you should worry too much about spelling. Part of the charm of your journal is that it’s your voice; your writing style. The most important thing is to capture those meaningful moments. Everything else is secondary. This post is for those JRNLers who want to do it.) Keep Reading

Every new year we make resolutions. Although making the list of resolutions may be easy, implementing them can be difficult. So, we’ve created a list of 17 ways to help make your New Year’s resolutions stick.

  1. Make Your New Years Resolutions StickWrite them down. You may have a pretty clear idea of what you would like to accomplish this year, but actually writing it down will help solidify your resolution. In your journal, write down the resolutions you have and look back at them from time to time to remind yourself what you’re working toward.  
  2. Ease into them. Rather than telling yourself that you can no longer have sweets, determine that you will only have sweets on one day of the week. It will be much easier to ease into cutting back on your sugar intake if you give yourself some leeway.
  3. One at a time. Sometimes we can get carried away with our resolutions. Sure, there are many things we can improve on, but if we focus on too many at once, it will be very difficult to make our resolutions stick. So, decide on a couple resolutions, and then as you get into the habit of following through with them, throw a few more into the mix.
  4. Positivity. When we are in a good mood we are more likely to follow through with our resolutions. Surround yourself with positive people that will cheer you on. Also, watch positive movies and read books with happy endings. You’ll find that the positivity in your life will help motivate you to stick with your resolutions.
  5. Lift your spirits. It’s easy to feel discouraged if we only remind ourselves of the things we don’t do very well. So, remember your strengths. Remind yourself of the things you accomplish every day to help motivate you into following through with your resolutions.
  6. Do good. Make it a goal to be kind to the people around you. By being kind to others you’re more likely to be kind to yourself. Also, by being kind to others they will be kind to you. If your spirits are high, working on your resolutions won’t be as difficult.
  7. Reminders. Place reminders of what your resolutions are in places you’ll see every day. If you’re hoping to save enough money for a vacation to Hawaii, put a picture of Hawaii in your wallet so every time you open it you’ll remember to be cautious about spending money.
  8. Track your progress. Write down the progress you are making in your journal. You will feel more motivated to continue with your resolutions and you will be able to look back and see how well you are doing.
  9. Share with your loved ones. Tell your friends what your resolutions are. That way, when you see them, you can tell them how you are doing with your resolutions. With their support, you are more likely to be successful with your resolutions.
  10. Get rid of temptation. If one of your resolutions is to stop drinking soda, then get rid of all the soda in your house. You can’t get rid of all the soda in the world, but in the environments you can control make it easier on yourself.
  11. Replace bad with good. It’s always a good idea to replace your bad habits with good ones. The likelihood that you’ll follow through with your resolutions will be much higher. So in place of having soda, drink water.
  12. Keep track of time. It takes 30 days to create a new habit. So, within the first 30 days of working on your resolution, do your best to stick with it. After that, you’ll find it easier to follow with your resolution.
  13. Always remember why. From the very beginning, you should know why you are working on the specific resolution you made. That way, when you’re having a tough time following through, you can remember why you wanted to do it in the first place. That may be the motivation you need to keep up the good work.
  14. Think yes you can. Don’t leave any room for doubt. Make your resolution and think in your mind that you are going to do it. Remember mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.
  15. Reward yourself. We are motivated by rewards. If you find you are doing a great job keeping up with your resolution, reward yourself. It will motivate you to keep going.
  16. Be consistent. Some days will be tough. But remember, you can do it! Consistency is key when you’re trying to create new habits, or follow through your resolutions. So, just remember to do it even when the going gets tough.
  17. It’s a process. As you work on your resolutions, you’ll learn a lot about yourself. You’ll learn what you’re capable of. Remember that any step working toward your resolution is a step forward.

Happy New Year! We wish you the best of luck as you work toward your New Year’s resolutions.

Celebrate milestone moments - even the small ones

Did you take your first family trip to the beach last year? That’s something to celebrate.

“Let’s go around the table and share one thing that made us happy in 2016,” my mother stated at dinner on New Year’s Eve. We all stopped to think. There was a lot that happened in the past year, and a lot that made us smile. My husband and I celebrated our first year of marriage, we became an Uncle and Aunt (shout out to baby Della!), and we both had our own individual accomplishments as well. These milestone moments mix together to create the memory of 2016. You should celebrate your small milestones, too.

Ask your family members

Ask your spouse, parents, and children for what made them happy in 2016. Phrasing it in this way makes us focus on the good things that happened. I’m not suggesting we forget the bad things; only suggesting that it’s best for us to focus on the positive events in life. It helps us move forward.

Everyone has a different perspective and asking family members about their memories will likely conjure up some events that you likely forgot. You’ll also gain valuable insight as to how they think. Keep Reading

It’s the New Year once again and you are planning your resolutions. It may seem daunting if you think about past failures, but this year WILL be different. Studies show that nearly 50 percent of people who make resolutions are successful. You can be one of them!

With a few helpful tips in place, you can go a long way to seeing your resolutions become a reality this year.

  1. Write them down. When you write down your goals, you become more committed to making them a reality. Take a few minutes to write your resolutions in your JRNL. You might want to create a new JRNL where you can start with your goals and report on daily progress.
  2. Don’t overdo it. With an overdose of enthusiasm, it’s easy to get carried away. Make sure that whatever you decide to do is achievable. And you should probably limit yourself to 3-5 resolutions for the year.
  3. Break it up. It’s easy to give up when overwhelmed by the enormity of your resolution. By breaking it into bite-sized chunks, you will find it easier to accomplish your goals one step at a time.
  4. Set a time. Once you’ve set smaller goals for yourself, the next step is to set time boundaries. Look over the whole year and have set times to complete each of your smaller goals. It will give you something to celebrate as you tick off each goal throughout the year.
  5. Find tools. There are many apps and websites to help you accomplish your resolutions. Before you get started in the new year, do some research to find tools to help you accomplish your goals. By having these things ready to go, you won’t use them to procrastinate once you are ready to get started.
  6. Don’t procrastinate. Procrastination is a resolution killer. Make a decision, before you start, to accomplish your goals in a timely manner. If you are a natural procrastinator, make an effort to finish goals early, that way you should finish them on time.
  7. Don’t give up. One of the most important aspects of avoiding failure is to not give yourself the option of giving up. It’s natural to want to quit something you are doing over a long period of time, so make sure you don’t have that option. When you feel you want to give up, you can tell yourself you have no choice but to keep going.

With all of this in mind, you have a good head start to seeing your resolution completed this year.  Don’t let another year go by without making a fresh effort to see your dreams come true.

For more tips on achieving your goals by keeping a journal, download our free eBook.


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