Start the process of change with a list

Journalling and writing can be a powerful way to start the process of change, help us achieve clarity and move forward.

 Writing down our daily thoughts, dreams and aspirations can really help us to manifest changes in our lives and give us clarity around the contribution that we want to make and the way we want to live.

We can’t all be positive ALL the time-it’s not realistic and that’s why a daily journaling or writing habit is so helpful. It gives us time to unravel all our thoughts and feelings whatever they may be.

By adopting a new daily writing habit that becomes part of your life you can start to change your life almost immediately. Research has shown that writing by hand with a pen on paper is a powerful and effective tool for lasting, positive change.

But for many people the thought of taking on another task can be overwhelming and ultimately mean that we actually never start a new writing habit-even though we might want to and understand that it can really help us move forward with positivity and clarity.

If we understand more about how writing, and the creative process really shift our belief systems to the extent that our confidence improves and our lives become fulfilling and purposeful, there is a better chance that we can integrate this practice into our lives and there is a simple way to get started almost immediately.

When our lives are in a state of flux and we are lacking confidence, self-esteem and focus, it is very easy for creativity and indulging in creative processes to be seen as an ideal distraction designed to throw us off course, mask any challenges we are facing and stop us from editing, clearing and moving forward-in other words nothing more than creative procrastination.

But in fact the opposite is true!

Once we start to align writing and creativity with creative and positive visualisation techniques the benefits of it can be clearly seen.

The fact is that within the life coaching and personal development process, a lot of writing, recording, research and planning is done in journals and notebooks making it an ideal activity to call upon for editing self-limiting thoughts and beliefs and for goal setting. We are writing, editing, curating and creating our lives one sentence at a time. This sounds slow but the results can start to manifest quickly.

So how can we start a daily writing ritual, routine or practice that fits into our lives, is achievable, sustainable, simple but highly effective?

Well it could all start with a list. Something that most of us are already doing and an action that is low level but potentially high impact.

Even by writing simple lists we set an intention, a desire and a reminder that we want or need to do something that is important enough to be added to that list. Completing tasks gives us a great feeling of satisfaction and a renewed positive outlook as we work towards our next goal or task. 

I have had times in my life when even just basic functioning was really difficult. I made lists of things that I hoped to achieve each day and each week and ticked them off as I went-one very simple action at a time. It made me realise that I was moving forward and making progress. It gave me great hope for the future at a time when I felt like I was walking through treacle and had nothing to contribute. List making gave me focus, clarity and a way ahead and this developed into a daily journaling routine.

Daily writing can help you achieve whatever it is you really want to do-maybe you have a big business or career goal in mind, or plans to make improvements in other areas of your life such as health and wellbeing? Perhaps you want to feel better, happier and more able to cope.

Perhaps you want to write a book, travel the world or have financial freedom. Whatever your next move, I guarantee that a daily writing practice will help you.

“I have realised my dream”

“Daily writing has helped me to realise my dream and make initial steps to start planning again. I now have the courage to believe in myself and stand up for what I want from life. By writing every day I have really got my confidence back.”


The actual physical act of writing is a powerful and impactful method of auditing, editing, curating and creating new lives, new plans and new ambitions. As well as writing down goals for the future, we can write what we are grateful for-as a reminder of how much good we already have in our life.

 By bookending our day writing down just three things we are grateful for, we will have better days of inspired activity and better nights of sleep-constantly checking your social media feeds before bed does not offer the same soporific effect-in fact the impact on our health and wellbeing is quite the opposite.

Writing helps us to think better, plan more effectively and perhaps even improve our intelligence and intellectual abilities-making us smarter. It can be the first step towards managing any of life’s complex challenges and you can make a start today with a simple list.

If you are struggling to make a start, use this acronym to kickstart the process:


What do you want to change? What will happen if you do or don’t make those changes?

Reframe things that have happened and be Realistic about what you can and cannot do

Investigate ideas and the support you need to move forward

Try to write every day for 15 minutes

Express how you are feeling and feel Excited about making changes!

Sarah Adams is a journalist, author, coach and university lecturer. She is the creator of The Life Edit-an eight-step personal development programme that uses daily writing and journalling.

Her book The Life Edit (Rethink Press) will be out at the end of November and you can get updates and join the waiting list at

The first  people to buy the book will also receive a FREE Life Edit journal!