Positive Writer

Writing through doubt and fear, and you can, too!

How and Why You Should Start a Daily Positive Journal

For the longest time I struggled with a negative mindset. I constantly told myself what could go wrong would go wrong. And, I was usually right.

When things did go well, I believed that it was because of luck or someone stepped up to help, or hey, maybe it was Halloween and reality was wearing a mask.

The problem was that I was in denial, in denial of what could go right, that things could be positive and that life should be better. Then something powerful helped change everything for the better!

Flickr Creative Commons by Qisur

I was at the end of my proverbial rope and I needed help. I had struggled so much, for so long and had fallen so low. I was in my late twenties, with so much of my life still ahead of me, but it was being wasted with a perception of myself that was self-defeating.

I finally crashed!

It was only then that I listened to others and finally sought the help of a professional therapist. The story can be read in my book, but for this post I want to talk about one of two assignments he gave me.

One was to write a personal account of my life (the book I just referred to) and the other was to start another journal detailing positive things about me and my life. He instructed me to write in the positive journal every day, regardless of how I felt.

But living the life I had it was very difficult for me to see any positives, to somehow be optimistic and so the concept of this journal seemed fake to me. A loose band-aid, if you will.

In reality the positive journal changed my life.

This is what I did:

  • I purchased a regular notebook, nothing special.
  • Every night before going to sleep I would write something positive about that day, what I had accomplished and something I looked forward to the next day.

It wasn’t easy at first because it was very difficult to get myself to focus on positives.

We all have negative, doubtful thoughts, but with me they ruled and became stronger, louder once I started writing to counter them. “No, that can’t be, it’ll flip tomorrow and you’ll still suck!” – Believe me, I came up with some doozy excuses!

Denial can be extremely difficult to overcome, so it was good to see my therapist regularly at the time.

I stuck with the journal and discovered that a great many positive things did happen every day. Most seemed small, but I came to realize that none were insignificant.

This assignment also helped me understand something just as important:

What a self-fulfilling prophecy is.

When I focused on the negatives, I drew them to me like moths to a flame, but the exact same thing held true for positives. By focusing on positives I attracted them to me by my actions, my body language and finally even with my every day speech and, of course, where it had started, with my writing.

Perhaps one of the greatest benefits was that journal writing reignited a love for writing that I had thought was lost forever.

Those are just a few of the reasons I recommend writing a positive journal and as I update this blog I’ll be sure to post more on this subject.

If you are interested, here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Start out by listing two or three things that happened during your day that were positive. Reflect on and accept them.
  2. Write two or three things you are looking forward to the next day. These are not things that must happen, simply things you are looking forward to. Try not to pressure yourself.
  3. Write about good things people have said and/or done for you. Then write good things you would like to do for others, not necessarily ‘in return’, but rather merely for the sake of doing them. Try to keep this as simple as possible at first, no need to overwhelm.
  4. As your journal grows I suspect your writing will become longer, more detailed as you ‘see’ more positives in your life and I recommend allowing this to happen. Who knows this may compel you to write your life-story as a book, which is what happened with my other assignment. And, if I am honest, this assignment did become a major part of my memoir as well.
  5. Finally, try your best to incorporate this positive journal into your daily routine, perhaps at the same time and same place every day.

If you decide to start a journal or already have one, I’d love to hear about it.

Any suggestions / experience writing a daily journal? Share in the comments

About Bryan Hutchinson

I'm a positive writer and when that doesn't work, I eat chocolate. I help fellow writers overcome doubt and thrive! In my free time, I love visiting castles with my wife, Joan. Join me on Twitter and Facebook.

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  • lesrouder

    Hi Bryan, 

    Love your new blog as well as it’s design and format.  Its very easy on the eyes.  Thanks for sharing your story and your positive energy through your writing! 

    • Thank you!

      • sophie

         Hi Bryan!

        I have the same problem as Christy regarding your ebook. I haven’t received the password it says I need. Tried to subscribe from a different email account and didn’t get it either. I checked my spam, there’s nothing there.

        ~sophie

  • Bryan,

    Bravo! Fabulous site. And the post was a blessing. Thanks for the transparency. I’m finding the blogs I enjoy reading  most are written with this kind of transparency. I subscribed and can’t wait to read your e-book. Keep it up!

    • Thank you, Scott. Transparency is important, especially for writing of this nature and it is what I enjoy reading and learn the most from as well.

      Please let me know if you have any issues getting the eBook via the subscribe. I am trying to do it in a new way I haven’t done before and want to make sure it works out.

      Bests,
      Bryan

  • I love your blog, great job. Look forward to reading more from you 🙂

  • sophie

    Congratulations on your new layout Bryan, I love it! It’s simple yet clear and concise, I enjoy reading blogs that are easy on the eyes. Your font size is perfect!

    Keep up the great articles, I look forward to reading your insights.

    ~ Sophie

    • Thanks, Sophie! The text was one of the reasons I chose the Tribe theme!

  • Csbh71

    I like the idea of trying to stay positive, which is a struggle for me, I hope to try to incorporate this and make my life more positive too. Thanks!

  • doug

    i have used the bedside journal for a long time and found it very helpful.  my style is just to write a few words of things i am grateful for from the day (generally some unusual thing, not just that i am grateful for my wife or my health).  i prefer not to get involved in actually journaling just before trying to go to sleep.  tho i can see that journaling more might actually help with sleep – by getting things off my mind.
    i also note for motivation if i exercised or practiced guitar — E, G  — and my weight. 
    it all takes just one line
    i like your concept
    thanks
    doug

  • Negativity is something that many ADDer’s are plagued with. Today, this article is by far the best part of my day, so far Bryan. You have given me a very positive wake up call this morning, just when I needed this in my life. I have had much stress and run  plenty of negativity lately. Your writing here has just reminded me to balance out the emotions with more positivity. I look forward to your thoughts in this new blog. Your positive writing blog is needed and very timely for today’s society of stress. I wish you the best of success with this blog.

    Thank you.

    Terence

  • Thanks for stopping by and thank you for your kind words, Andrea. I am glad you like the new blog and I hope to have you on here soon writing a post or more for readers!

  • Really like your site, Bryan. And I certainly believing in journaling. I’ve kept a writers journal for some time now (I don’t journal every day, but I write openly and honestly – good and bad.)

    • Thank you, Joan. “Openly and honestly – good and bad.” That’s the best kind of writing!

  • Christy

    Bryan ~

    Great start! I love the idea of a positive blog that I can read every day. It will lift my spirits as I read it daily. Thank you.

    One thing though…I signed up for the blog on November 1, but never got the email for the eBook information. I would love to have it. Could you please send me the link at schmoopy73@gmail:disqus .com? I have downloaded your other books, and they have been amazing! 

    Thank you ~ 
    Christy

    • Hi Christy,

      Always happy to lift spirits!

      No problem about the ebook, I can send it. But could you do me a favor and check your spam folder for your email client? Also, the email you put in the comment is missing information, so that could be the reason as well.

      Bests,
      Bryan

  • sophie

    Hi Bryan,

    Disregard my message about the ebook. I asked a Christy for the link. I read it, nicely written.

    I’m a perfectionist as well and I agree it’s a destructive state of mind to be in. I find I worry too much when I think I should do things perfectly instead of just doing my best and improve if I need to.

    The ebook is a great reminder to be loving towards ourselves so that we can do great things!

    Thanks for that reminder!

    ~  Sophie

  • Hi Sophie, glad you enjoyed the message from the eBook.

    The password was in the first email in step 2. If you never got any email from feedburner then that worries me. Please let me know if you eventually get it, because sometimes emails come delayed for whatever reason. I just checked and all seems fine on my end. Again, the password was in the one and only feedburner confirmation email you should have received near the bottom of the message.

    Thanks for letting me know, it helps me work out the kinks 🙂

    Bryan

  • Way to go on your new blog! I really like the look and your words are certainly positive and encouraging. This positive journal is pretty neat idea. I’m going to incorporate some of this in my daily journaling.

  • I love it!  Your first three paragraphs were especially meaningful to me.  My husband and I are getting ready to launch our  own blog, and I tend to focus on the negatives, too.  It’s good to be reminded that you need to think about what good things will come if you actually take that chance!

    • Fantastic, Lori! Please let me know about your blog when it is ready!

  • charly

    I have a few quote posted on top of my computer, just to motivate myself, I look at them every day. Keep´s me focus as to what my purpose on earth is.

  • I see that many comments are from a while ago, but I’m so glad I found your site as I was on Twitter today! I started my journal this afternoon and I’m looking forward to seeing how it changes me. I also look forward to digging into your site! Thank you for sharing your experience!

    • Glad to have you, Marie! 🙂 Journal’s are a great place to ‘free write.’

  • Dan Seider

    Thanks for sharing! I made a journaling app to improve my self-awareness and emotional intelligence. It’s a micro-journal (<140 character entries) so writing multiple entries a day takes a few minutes. Each entry is associated with a mood, so the app provides some really neat ways to self-reflect. For instance, I can see all the reasons of why I felt a particular mood (happy, sad, annoyed or stress) during the past few weeks. I’ve been using the app everyday for over 60 days and happier because of it. You can check it out here – http://www.getstigma.com

    • Shaylee P

      Dan,
      Do you have an android version of this app? I’d really like to use it!

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  • sonya

    I have just came on to this web page as im trying to write a positive you journal from a councilior im finding it hard any suggestions please would be a great help .

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  • Slawomir Nowodworski

    Thank you for this insightful and positive article. I have read it thanks to a post on http://www.lifehack.org. Do you recommend listing the good things that happened to us and that we have done to others with bullet points (1… 2…3….)? Or would you recommend writing about it lile a mini-story?