7 Journaling tips when life does not go to plan

Margie Warrell in her book “Brave – 50 everyday acts of courage to thrive in work, love and life” writes about resilience and how it can be cultivated when life does not seem to go as planned. There are several enquiry based journaling tips that can be used from Margie’s book to help us dig deep.  



In her book, Margie writes about Lynika Cruz. At age 14 her mother left her at the roadside and told her to fend for herself. Lynika had to dig deep to build a life for herself. She took odd jobs and put herself through a correspondence school, followed by a university degree. She is now a sought after speaker who travels around the world. Lynika says seven words helped her get through the adversity in her life “I am stronger than what I face”. What a great affirmation for trying times!

Please use these journaling tips to get some breakthroughs during vexing times. This exercise will help you identify actions/steps that you need to take to get unstuck. When you focus inwards your power will expand. Be prepared to witness creative problem solving unfold in your life.   

Journaling tip 1

What new ways of dealing with my current problems open up when I deeply trust myself?

Journaling tip 2

Choose three words from below that will define who you will be as you face your challenges. Then, bring to mind a problem you’re facing and ask yourself, what would I do right now if I were being really (INSERT YOUR WORDS…)? Whatever answer comes to mind first, act on it.

Resilient, strong, courageous, bold, determined, optimistic, tenacious, accepting, persistent, enthusiastic, committed, passionate, purposeful, powerful, resourceful, faithful, light hearted, self-reliant, compassionate disciplined, generous, proactive, assertive, trusting, confident.

Journaling tip 3

To refuel your courage reserves take a moment to consider what you could begin doing differently in the following areas:

  • Physically: What could I start doing that will help me feel healthy and strong?
  • Mentally: What could I start doing to stay focused and avoid distractions in my life?
  • Emotionally: What activities can I incorporate in my life to maintain a balanced emotional state and face each day with optimism and humour?
  • Spiritually: What rituals can I create in my life that will help me reconnect with the universe?  

Journaling tip 4

  • Where is fear of burdening someone who cares about me, or revealing my weakness, or just appearing vulnerable keeping me from reaching out for support?
  • Who can help me lighten my load?

Journaling tip 5

  • Where am I dwelling on what I can’t do instead of what I can?
  • Where am I surrendering power to my circumstances and letting them define me?

Journaling tip 6

 What events from the past or present make me sad?

Journaling tip 7

 What can I be grateful for today?

Words To Grow By

Helen Keller

“I don’t want to live in a hand-me-down world of others’ experiences. I want to write about me, my discoveries, my fears, my feelings, about me.”