The #1 easiest step to create the best years of your life

It’s never too soon or too late to reinvent your future and create the best years of your life. 

It’s easy to think you need to do something dramatic to take charge since reinventing yourself sounds profound but, more often it’s the small daily changes to your life that make the biggest differences.

The Vital Lifelong Program empowers you to try out new ideas and habits and create patterns that make a difference to how you think about things.  Trying these new ideas and habits are like the aroma of percolating coffee , they will tantalize and tease you into pouring yourself a cup full of the life you’ve always dreamt of living. 

Adopting these new habits will cause the permanent, positive changes you desire.

So what idea or habits do we start with? 

Among the most tried and true habits, and the easiest to get started with, is journaling.  Before Vital Life, I thought journaling was something only writers and teenaged girls did.

In part, because of the solid research proving this habit particularly can revitalize your daily life, Mark Pace has included it in our program. It is also one of the most frequently seen Habits of the Healthy, Happy and Successful Centenarians.

Prior to beginning the Vital Lifelong Alignment program, I found the idea of writing to no one to be boring and pointless. Perhaps you think this too, but I now have experienced many positive benefits by practicing it regularly.

I will give you three research-backed and particularly convincing reasons to begin journaling:

#1: Journaling reflects our current reality.

When we write, it brings clarity to our thoughts and makes them more concrete. We are better able to see where we are. Writing provides structure to the conversations we have with ourselves and mirrors our current state of mind. Our entries help us compare our desired future to our current reality by allowing us to clearly see the impact of our thoughts and actions.

Because we express our personalities through our writing, we learn more about ourselves and our approach to life.  For some, writing is therapy, for others it is a way to put truth on paper that we cannot yet speak out loud.  And for some it is waking up that long-silent, little voice that no longer dares to dream.

What we write can reveal our resilience to stress and setbacks. The words tell us if we are passively accepting less than our best, if we are being our own cheerleader or even what we need to learn so we can be happier and stronger. Writing has been shown to improve happiness and satisfaction when it is gratitude or solution focused… and please know, journaling about a positive experience allows you to relive it. This will affirm your strengths when times are tough and you need reassurance.

Documenting your daily current reality empowers you to evaluate any needed rethinking and redefine the actions you want or need to take because of your experiences during the Vital Lifelong Transformative exercises.

#2: Journaling enhances learning and development.

Your Vital Lifelong work creates permanent, positive change and journaling is one step in this direction. The simple process of recording your daily thoughts and experiences brings you face-to-face with the things that are not consistent with your desires. It will challenge you to expand the idea of deliberately practicing disciplined actions. Like a muscle, the more you work it, the stronger it gets. 

Developing an action or solution-oriented approach to your circumstance makes you more creative. Writing about steps you could, will or did take will provide you with new opportunities as you learn what works for you and what needs further reinventing.  Journaling has been shown to spark creative thinking and a creative mindset is what keeps our minds sharp, our lives vital, and keeps us moving toward the life we dream of.

Our journals can help us find solutions to present challenges as well as increase well-being and satisfaction. If you are willing to focus on the things you are grateful for, you will be a more focused and more fulfilled person. A few times per week I write about three things I am grateful for. When I am in a tough spot this shows me where I must cause change to happen… otherwise change will happen to me. 

Envisioning an optimal, fulfilling future for yourself in your journal contributes to creating and being your best self. It fuels optimism and well being. If you take this on as a process you might well focus on taking one project (a Rapid Reset) that would move you in the direction you wish to go. With success, you will continue and even expand what you take on. Any unsuccessful effort inspires you to try out new efforts that bring you closer to your best self. Over time, you will internalize the sense of moving toward ideals and build skills that move you toward those ideals.

Many people resist writing or stop keeping a journal because it seems time-consuming and cumbersome. But this is not so; I started with a one minute journaling session to kick start my day. This made it easy for me to adopt and expand my writing… now it is one of the best habits I have. Hint: It really helps to write at the same time and in the same place each day. You will soon find expanding the time you spend journaling is very beneficial. 

An easy way to start is by simply recording what you tackled and accomplished each day. I write first thing in the morning and write as if I am speaking with myself. You may like to write at the end of the day and you may want to choose another audience other than yourself to write to.  Whatever works best and keeps you writing is the way to go.

#3: Journaling is a way to think aloud be aware of internal dialogue

As a habit, it requires a small investment to create big returns of mindfulness about who we are, what we want, and how we think about, define, and invent ourselves. Partnered with the Vital Lifelong transformational exercises, your journaling will bring you more self-awareness, self-confidence and working toward your greatest dreams.

Now, sit down and write something!

Civia Lee-Verstraete

(Rapid Reset Readers: Civia and Ellie Lamson will be sharing Rapid Reset writing duties going forward.)