The first step to reset your life is to do a braindump of everything, anything and all of it. It’s important to get all the thoughts out of your head and onto paper.
I know first hand that life can feel so overwhelming.
As we head into a new year, I always find myself filled with anxiety. A new year gives us the perfect opportunity for an obvious fresh start, so it can be exciting, invigorating and motivational. That’s why New Year’s resolutions are so popular.
But I have a big melting pot of feelings and often I find myself frozen in fear and overwhelmed by all the great possibilities of the future, coupled with fearing a crushing disappointment of repeating my inadequacies of the past. Whew. Whoa. I said it.
Feeling like I’m unable to change old patterns and living the same’ ole same ‘ole life – that is scary to me. But I also know that it’s normal to have fears and doubts. We all have them. We simply have to believe in the possibility of change and move forward confidently. That’s why I created the progress not perfection printable mantra.
As we head into 2020, it’s a whole new decade starting up, bringing an even greater emphasis on new beginnings. I feel the need to pivot and really try to feel more on top of my life so that I don’t have these anxious feelings at the end of every year.
There has got to be a way to move forward bravely with confidence. Even if I feel the pressure and anxiety eating away at me… I also feel the hunger of wanting more and truly believing that change is possible. And don’t get me wrong… there are many good things in life. But that doesn’t mean I can’t want more… to improve… to optimize and progress!
Let’s reset life for 2020 together.
It’s not about getting more tasks done or checking off lists. It’s about re-aligning my efforts towards the things that actually matter to me personally and contribute to my life positively. The goal is feeling good about time spent, good times and projects accomplished. Rather than feeling crushed by the busyness of modern lifestyles.
Who’s with me?
Now, the very first step when it comes to fresh starts is journaling. Actually, it’s really a pre-step. The idea is to get everything out of your head.
Call it a braindump, morning pages, writing stream of consciousness or journaling to specific prompts – whatever you want. But the point is to write it all out. It’s always helpful to get thoughts out of my head and onto paper. The act of thinking and physically writing thoughts down activates both sides of our brain, almost like every cell in your body will be sent the message!
I know there can be resistance to writing, if you don’t feel like you are a writer or your hand cramps up or you happen to hate your handwriting. But you have to put that all aside and know that these are not grand plans that have to be written beautifully or neatly. On the contrary, let yourself have free reign and just let it flow. In fact, at points, I might just be scribbling something, before some more words come out and I keep on writing…
Although it’s great to have a journaling practice, so that you are constantly brain dumping. Just like there’s periods of spring cleaning and deep cleaning for houses… the end of year is a great time to do a deep journaling session or sessions. I think you can braindump in list format, free journaling or following writing prompts – perhaps all three methods – to ensure that you explore ALL thoughts.
I will be treating this as an exercise to literally EMPTY my mind of EVERYTHING. I recommend doing this in multiple sessions during the course of a week, to help yourself truly let it all out. If you are familiar with David Allen’s Getting Things Done book and method… he often talks about how our brains are meant to process, but not necessarily to remember every little detail.
In sharing this process, I know that some people like to see examples or see what other people journal about – but I would suggest NOT sharing your journaling with anyone. I believe that it goes down to the subconscious level, even if you happen to be a very open book type of person. If you keep your writing private, it will give you the freedom to truly let your feelings and thoughts flow out onto the paper with no filters whatsoever.
Download the free printable Brain Dump PDF…
I’ve designed a lined printable page that has the Brain Dump heading for those who want to follow this process and keep all the pages in the same style. I’m putting all my pages in a binder, so that is why I’m creating these printables. But you can just as well use blank sheets of paper or a notebook of your choice. It doesn’t really matter what you use, rather it’s more important that you actually go through the process.
Keep writing until you truly feel there’s nothing else to write out and you feel a bit at peace that it’s all out on paper. Again – it’s all your thoughts, feelings, worries, aspirations, lists, projects, wishes, dreams… EVERYTHING. No filter need apply. Trust me… you will feel SO GOOD after these types of sessions…
If you are having trouble journaling, here are some prompts that help me:
- To practice writing, you can write your own biography, as if you had to explain to someone brand new your life story. How would you describe yourself? How would you highlight your past milestones? What is your current state of affairs?
- Think about the past year and happy moments. What has brought you joy, so that you want to keep them in your life? People? Events? Projects?
- What accomplishments are you proud of? What do you need to celebrate and remember?
- Evaluate the various pillars of life planning: personal health/development, love/social/friends/family, career, finances, entertainment/hobbies, spiritual or whatever fits with your life as a major component. Think about each pillar and how you would rank yourself – are you happy with the situation or do you find something lacking? What do you want to improve?
- What disappointments from the last year come to mind? What has bothered you, been a pain point or something you truly would like to change?
- Can you pull out understanding, lessons learned and thoughts from writing about disappointments or mistakes from the past?
- What are your greatest fears? What doubts do you have that really take up space in your mind?
- Have you ever told yourself, oh, I can’t do that – or related limiting beliefs? List them out and journal about why you feel that way about yourself.
- Turn things around and explore your strengths. Things you are good at and proud of. You might consider taking the VIA character strengths survey to find out what your core characters strengths are and list them out to elaborate on them and journal to know yourself better.
- What are you grateful for, thankful for and why? Elaborate.
- Journal your dreams, goals and aspirations do you have for the future.
- What is your definition of success? How do you want to feel at the end of each day. Physical items you want in life? People you want in life? Accomplishments you want in life? Write what you want, but also think about the past and what has ACTUALLY brought you joy.
This free design printable is part of a series shared on this blog to help reset my life for the new year. You can download the 2020 printable binder cover I shared here and check the blog for upcoming posts.
I will be taking multiple days and sessions to journal and write all my thoughts out before trying to organize or come up with goals or resolutions. At this point, it’s just about writing it ALL out.
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