Hello again! If you’ve been keeping up with these posts about Moments and the evolution of the Moments Journal then thank you - and if you haven’t you can catch up on what Moments are and why they matter in the two previous posts.
This time I want to let you in on how I use the journal, how it’s changed my life (no exaggeration), and why I think it works.
You may have heard me tell parts of this story before, but I’ve had an on-off relationship with journalling for years - I go through phases of obsessively writing pages and pages every day for a few months, and then not touching my journal for weeks. In stream-of-consciousness writing I have a tendency to write myself round in circles until the spiral takes me into rumination and negativity, never finding the answers I hope for. On the other hand, when I keep a daily diary of events and what I did, it feels too simple, too clinical, not going deep enough beyond purely a memory jogger.
What usually happens with me is that I’ll think about an issue for a while, probably do some research into different approaches, and then let it percolate away in the back of my mind until an idea begins to form and a solution presents itself. Well this time the idea didn’t so much bubble gently to the surface as erupt fully formed!
I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a self-development junkie, but I’ve definitely read quite a few books, done several online courses, followed all the right people on social media, so all the theory and foundations were there for me to pull all the elements together that sit right into my own unique amalgamation.
This is what happened with the idea for the Moments Journal. There I was one evening about to write in my diary about what I’d done that day (it was a new moon if you’re into that sort of thing), when the thought popped into my head to instead write about my day in terms of the moments that were relevant to what was important to me and how I wanted my life to be. So I did. And I haven’t stopped for the last six months.
As I said, I’d already done the groundwork for this approach by identifying my values, working with a guiding word/phrase for the year, and even delving into Danielle LaPorte’s Core Desired Feelings model, so it was pretty straightforward to think about which qualities and feelings mattered to me enough to want to find them in my everyday, and to capture those memories and sensations.
I started with a few key kinds of moments - proud moments, self-care, and gratitude - and although very important, they are really a fairly generic baseline for my journal, the minimum I’d look for each day.
I’ve swapped and changed a few times over the last few months, and I’m sure things will continue to evolve, but some of the other values I inhabit through journalling moments are Creativity and feeling like I’m expressing myself and my passions through using my imagination; Enchantment and the magical moments of connection with nature and the universe; Curiosity and the spark I get from learning new things; Abundance and the wealth of all kinds that comes into my life.
What I’ve found, which is giving me more faith in the power of mindful attention, is that when I focus particularly on one area and consciously look out for moments that give me that feeling, more and more start appearing. Now whether they were happening anyway and I just wasn’t noticing before, I don’t know, but even with values or feelings that I don’t necessarily have a concrete definition of what I think they should look like, something happens that triggers me to equate it with that value.
If you know me, you’ll know that money is an area where I struggle with the stories I tell myself about how hard it is to earn and how expensive everything is. But when I started to keep a note of Abundant Moments in my journal, money started flowing in in all kinds of ways that I hadn’t expected. Friends offered to treat me to coffee and cake, I got commissioned to write for a magazine, I had some interest added to a savings account, I had a good day of sales at a craft fair, I won a competition for tickets to an event, and I even found a fresh, crisp, brand new £5 note on the ground!
Some days I get to writing in my journal last thing at night and have to think back to identify moments that fit into each category, and that’s OK, not every day is that obviously full of wonder and magic. But other days there will be so many moments throughout the day the catch my attention, and I savour as they’re happening, that I sometimes end up not writing them down that day because I might not recall them when I have pen in hand, but I remember them again later, and either add them or not. And that’s OK too, the important thing is that I noticed them at the time, and took that moment to pause and appreciate them, whatever they were, and recognised that they were moments that are important to me.
One of the biggest changes I’ve found from keeping my own Moments Journal is in my mindset. It’s been slowly but surely changing the way I think about the world, my place in it, and how I value myself. As someone who has struggled with depression, my self-confidence has taken some serious knocks, and my inner critic has had the chance to grow louder and shout me down in moments of self-doubt and despair. But now, because I’m actively looking for more good things, consciously seeking out how I want to experience things and feel about my life, that negative voice has had the volume turned right down.
Gathering evidence of my achievements reminds me that I am capable of so much.
Savouring the times when I feel at my most creative reminds me that I’m allowed to express myself, my truth and my passions in ways that make me feel good.
Bearing witness to enchantment and magic in the natural world reminds me that I’m just a small part of an infinite universe, but that even small things can make a difference and bring joy and wonder.
Being open to abundance has shown me just how much fear of lack and a ‘never enough’ mentality can keep me from manifesting everything I deserve and wish for when I focus on what I already have instead.
I hope this gives you an idea of how you could use your own Moments Journal (it won’t be long before it’s available to buy!) to start creating the kind of life you want by beginning with the small moments that matter to you the most. I believe this is why it works - I’ve not tried to make it about big sweeping changes, but instead have concentrated my energy on recognising and savouring the little things that show me that the life I want is within reach, step by step, moment by moment. Once you’ve identified what you value and how you want to feel, you just have to start looking for where those things already are and stay open to more of it happening.
Because it will, sometimes gradually, sometimes all at once, but if you look for it, you’ll find it.