Lara Zielin, an author and life coach, has created a method of journaling she calls “Author Your Life,” where people think about themselves as characters in a story of their making. Author Your Life is a way to write about the life you want to have as if it’s already occurring.
Zielin has developed five rules for how you can do this. She refers to it as the HAPPE method.
- H is for Handwriting, which Zielin believes is a way to connect a motor skill to a thought, making it more likely to make it stick.
- A is for As if. Write as if what we want to have happen is happening now. So if you wish you were retired, you could write: “Jimmy sleeps until 10 in the morning. Then he drives to Dunkin Donuts and gets a coffee and a bagel. Jimmy then comes home and watches TV the rest of the day.”
- P is for Person. Or more precisely, third person. Writing in the the third person is a way of giving us a bit of perspective and distance. Instead of saying: “I will take a two-hour nap every day”, write: “Jimmy will take a two hour nap every day.”
- P is for Positive. This is a reminder to keep your thoughts positive. So rather tan writing “Eating cookies all day will make me fat”, write “Eating cookies all day will make Jimmy happy.”
- E is for Emotions. Zielin suggests that after we’re done writing, one of the best things we can do is close our notebook and begin to embody the emotions that we just wrote about. Our minds are so powerful that we can begin to experience what we’ve written, whatever it is. So even if I don’t get to retire immediately, I get to experience what it is like through my writing.
So you can guess what my first entry would look like in such a journal:
Jimmy sleeps until 10 in the morning. Then he drives to Dunkin Donuts and gets a coffee and a bagel. Jimmy then comes home and turns on the TV. After he finishes the bagel, Jimmy soon starts in on some oatmeal raisin cookies. Eating the cookies puts Jimmy in his happy place, and before he knows it, he has fallen asleep for the next two hours. Jimmy wakes up and sees cookie crumbs all over himself, and that puts a big smile on his face. He then returns to watching his soap operas.
I guess I consider my daily posting to WordPress as a type of journaling, although it certainly takes much longer than 10 minutes per day. It’s also not private like a diary. And while I do, on occasion, share my hopes and fears and opinions, I’m not very good about sharing my feelings.
Perhaps that’s why I’ve never considered journaling.
Jimmy would not be very good at it…