If You Give a Girl a Journal...


I consider myself lucky to have so many wonderful friends, family members and acquaintances that support and take interest in my success and well-being. This fact makes itself especially apparent around the new year.

Around this time, many are drafting their 2017 resolutions for the year ahead. Though I prefer to set goals instead of drafting resolutions, I am also reflecting on this past year and giving thought to what I would like to change or accomplish in the new year. For example, Alex and I have decided to challenge each other to read 52 books in 52 weeks. I’m off to a great start considering all of the fantastic books gifted to me over the holidays.

But I’m notably excited about one book I received from a dear friend of mine who lives in New York City (and promises to visit me in Chicago soon—you know who you are). And it’s not exactly a book, but more of a journal. And it’s not exactly a journal, filled with unstructured blank pages that provide no prompt for which of my thoughts to write down, but more of a guided journaling experience. If you know me at all, you know I appreciate just the right amount of organization to fuel my creative juices—and lists.

“52 Lists for Happiness: Weekly Journaling Inspiration for Positivity, Balance, and Joy” by Moorea Seal, a weekly list prompted journal, sounds like it was made just for me. After reading the foreword by the author, I felt particularly connected to the idea behind this journal and compelled to participate.

“For most of my life, I have prioritized so many things over the pursuit of my own happiness,” Seal writes. “Even the most noble and kind-hearted intentions can sometimes drive us away from the things that ground us and let us thrive.”

Seal mentions how she is goal-oriented and makes lists for various home and work tasks regularly, but didn’t take into account what would allow her own happiness to reach its full potential. I immediately identified with these feelings.

“I have viewed happiness as a possible result of achieving something else, rather than allowing happiness to be the main goal,” Seal writes.

Divided into four categories (Reflect, Acknowledge, Invest, Transform) this journal doesn’t intimidate the user by requiring one to write every day, but rather every week. This is what I mean by “just the right amount of organization.” Much like I’ve committed to writing a new blog post each week (though I’ll admit I took a hiatus for the holidays), without specifying which day of the week I will publish these posts, I can similarly mold the journaling experience to my schedule.

As the title suggests, I also don’t need to write in complete sentences or paragraphs. I can simply list thoughts prompted to me each week and what’s better, I can add to it throughout the week if I so choose. At the end of the entry, a “Take Action” section encourages further reflection on your completed list and a call to action to turn list items into daily practices. Because the 52 lists correlate nicely with my 52 books challenge, I’m also using this journal as a place to record which book I’m reading each week. This week, it’s “You Deserve A Drink: Boozy Misadventures and Tales of Debauchery” by Mamrie Hart, a book that’s been on my “To-Read” list for a while now. I told you I like lists.

So though I’ll likely send a handwritten note to my dear friend for sending me this thoughtful gift, I’ll also say it here: thank you. I’m looking forward to filling this journal’s pages with lists of reflection, acknowledgement, investment and transformation. I’m excited to read it after the year is over to see my journey through 2017. And, if I feel so inclined, I hope to share updates on my experience with the “52 Lists of Happiness” (and my progress on the 52 books challenge). Cheers friends!

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©2018 BY EMMA ANN FINKBEINER.