“Journal writing, when it becomes a ritual for transformation, is not only life-changing but life-expanding.” – Jen Williamson
As a collegiate and an elite level athlete I had many ups and downs during my swimming career. I started to work with confidence coaches to help find myself, my confidence, my values and joy in the sport that I loved so much. For some, it is pretty hard to believe that an elite swimmer struggles with confidence, values and trust. And for a long time I didn’t think anyone else was struggling with the same things I was, but let me tell you..the more I started to open up with my friends, teammates, and my confidence coaches it seemed pretty normal to feel the way I felt. It is normal to have phases of life be struggles.
Writing is important and powerful.
One thing that I have learned from working with confidence coaches is that what I think and say to myself matters. Journaling about goals, writing down how I feel, or writing down things that I did really well that day can also change my mindset to focus on the positives. Also, using meditation and breathing techniques to calm myself down helps regulate my nervous system.
What’s the secret to being happy, finding your purpose and reaching your goals?
For me it’s living in my truths, honing into my values, and understanding that there will always be negatives in life, but it’s about allowing yourself to feel your emotions rather than brushing them off or dealing with them later. Why? Because in reality the longer you hold onto your emotions and feelings, the more they fester and one day you will just explode. I have learned to take a few minutes to understand my emotions, tell myself that this is my brain’s way of dealing with fear or doubt, (being in a fight or flight state) and use the tools in my toolbox such as journaling, meditation and breathwork to help bring myself back down to a calmer state.
You might be thinking, how can I use writing to help find meaning and better understand my purpose? When we choose to write it is a time that can be very sacred as well as being truthful to yourself- reflection without any fear, worry, or judgment from others. It is time with your own thoughts. We can write what we feel and just let it flow out onto the pages. Journaling can be creative and a safe place to document whatever you want that brings you joy. Literally anything you want. Allow yourself to be free and to process all of your emotions whether they are positive or negative.
What is my daily journal routine?
Some of the things that I enjoy journaling about are what I am grateful for. For example, I use this awesome gratitude journal called The Five Minute Journal where I write first thing in the morning and right before I go to bed.
The Five Minute Journal has the following prompts:
What am I grateful for?
What would make today great?
Highlights of the day
What did I learn today?
Writing in this journal every day is so simple, quick and easy. I really enjoy it because it forces me to look at the positive rather than the negative things that happen during my day. I feel like it has a lasting positive effect in my life and personal growth.
Another way I like to journal is after practices. Most of the time leaving swim practice I never felt confident or good that I did the work I needed to do. So I learned from a confidence coach to write down something that I did well in a journal and to keep this journal to take to competitions to read before my races. This made me realize that I am a great athlete, I have put in all of the hard work and that I was prepared to race.
Finally, I have spent a lot of time journaling about my feelings, what my goals are in life, what I want to achieve, what my values are, what my truths are, and finding my purpose outside of the pool. This has really helped me learn that I am so much more than a professional swimmer. I am great at anything that I choose to do.
All in all, journaling has helped me learn so much about myself and given me time for self-reflection. Getting my thoughts and feelings down on paper truly has been the best thing for me.
BWB Ambassador Grant House Has a Routine of His Own
Grant House is an extremely motivated, hard working, and disciplined collegiate swimmer at Arizona State University. He has been on the USA National Team and traveled to many international competitions for the US. Some of the things he does daily are: reading 10 pages of a book, journal, writing down at least five things he is grateful for, meditates for 10 minutes, focused breathing after practices, helps a friend and focuses on recovery by stretching, foam rolling, and myofascial release therapy. He loves making these things a part of his routine because he is happier, focused, determined and ready to take on anything that life throws at him. Everything else he focuses on is just being extremely disciplined, works hard, and puts in optimal efforts to be the best swimmer he can be.
Journal Prompts for reflection
- What are you grateful for?
- What does happiness mean and look like in your life?
- What is something you want to achieve? Accomplish? Goals?
- How can you take action for what you want to achieve and lean into your purpose?
- What are your talents and abilities? How can you use them in your life or the world around you?
- What is holding you back? How can you move forward or past what is holding you back?
Get writing and start your journaling routine today, you won’t regret it.