Our guest blog this month is by Nicky Torode, a coach, journaling facilitator and writer, who works with BAPAM on healthy practice training


Second month in.  How have your 2024 intentions bedded in?  Those needs and wants for the year ahead? 

One tool to help you keep on track, boost motivation, explore the resistance or change of hearts is journaling. 

But wait a minute, you might be thinking. What if I’m resistant to journaling?! 

Uh-huh. Resistance is real! When I ran a small LinkedIn poll recently, the b ggest obstacle that put people off journaling was not knowing what to write about.  

So that’s why I’m sharing here a way to overcome the resistance and fear of the blank page by having in advance your own-made journaling topics.  

Try, if you will, this 7×7 Journaling Challenge.  

7 minutes a day, 7 days straight.  


Day 1: Topics du Jour 

Choose a moment to journal in your busy day – perhaps, morning coffee, perhaps on a bus or train, perhaps before you open the emails. And set your timer for 7 minutes.  

Topics du Jour, a more appetising way of saying Topic of the Day, is a simple and effective technique, from the book, Journal to the Self, by Kathleen Adams. This is my 7-day Challenge version of her exercise: 

Step 1  Write the numbers 1 to 7 vertically down the page.  

Step 2  Next to each number name something that’s on your mind – unresolved task, conversation, a goal you’ve haven’t set in motion, a contract you’re struggling to find motivation for. Anything, anything. Let them come.  

My only two rules are:  

  1. the topic is meaningful for you in some minor or big way and you’d appreciate some fresh thinking on it. YOUR fresh thinking!  
  1. Leave one minute at the end of journaling to reflect in a 1-sentence reflection and see if there’s an action point to help you move that topic forward.  

Step 3   Start! Day 1 journaling topic is there on your page. Go!  


Day 2: What if …..? 

You have your topic du jour already.  

And to get you started on that, write 3 What if questions about the topic of the day.  

    What if I did have that conversation?    

    What if 2023 was preparing me for something, what was it preparing me for?  

And journal some answers! 


Day 3: Strengths and their Weaknesses 

You have your topic of the day. If you want to write on something else, that’s also ok. It’s about tuning into what’s arising for you. 

First, list 5 of your signature strengths that others would use to describe you.  

Next, journal into this pair of questions:   

      How do or can my strengths help me here?  

     How do they hinder? 


Day 4: I’m more ……………. when…… 

You have your topic of the day, or if something else has fluttered into your mind, journal into that. 

Look at the topic. What trait does it call from you? Courage, confidence, humility?  

Add your needed trait into this journaling sentence starter like this: 

    I’m more courageous when I ….   

And write an ending. Each time, re-write the sentence starter on a fresh line and complete the sentence again. The repetition is a powerful way to dig deeper each time!  


Day 5: Desired Outcome 

Looking at your topic of the day, journal into what it is that you want to happen. Imagine, in full colour, the desired outcome. Often, our work-based worries keep us stuck in the current situation or have us believing the situation can’t be changed. Journal into what is wanted and solutions might make themselves known. 


Day 6: Post-It Note to the Self 

Looking at your topic of the day or if that feels less alive for you, write down a new topic. Or, if there’s nothing obvious, name your predominant emotion today as you sit down to journal. 

Write a post-it note to yourself in the 3rd person, she/he/they. Start with your name and write this sentence, giving it an ending:  

Nicky has decided it’s time to….. 

Once you’ve written your mini post-it message, use your remaining minutes to journal into what’s behind that message, how it might help, and more. Just let things out. The more words you write, more words come tap dancing from the back of your resourceful and ever-creative mind. 


Day 7: Acrostics 

A fancy word for when you write a word vertically down the page. Take your topic of the day and write it downwards. Let’s say my word was ‘sales.’ It’d look like this: 
Now journal a sentence or two from the first letter about that topic. Then move to the next letter, then the next. If you have a short word, of course, journal longer on each letter!  

   S imply a conversation with a person who needs help with something that I can provide and isn’t that… 

Don’t forget, your 1-minute reflection. Write it down. Often, much comfort and wisdom gets distilled into a 1-sentence reflection. 

After 7 days journaling how does it feel now? Do-able? Beneficial?  Has your journaling caught some tailwind?  

You certainly don’t have to journal every day. I don’t. If you have a best day to journal, try to stick to journaling the same day and time, once a week. Having a timer helps as there’s nothing like a deadline to get productive in my experience! 

Journaling is ultimately all about finding out what works for you.  

Hope the challenge helped move you some way from being journaling-resistant to journaling-consistent.    

And if you enjoyed this blog, you can read more by Nicky here: Get this Journal Started!

Nicky is a career and creative business coach, helping entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs develop their mindset for success. She runs Early Bird Journaling workshops every Monday at 8am UK online. 30-minutes live, just journaling, not sharing, from stimulating exercises. Also End the Week Write at 4pm UK online, 30-minutes to close the week well. 

She also runs gentle creative writing courses. Here and There, starting in February, is ideal for those of us making a home in a new city or country. 

Find out more: 

Nicky Torode (@nickytorode) • Instagram