How I Journal: Chad Nelson

Finding meaning, encouragement, and motivation through journaling.

Journaling has become an essential part of many people’s lives, offering a way to reflect, grow, and gain clarity. In this interview, we delve into the journaling habits and insights of Chad Nelson, a director in higher education and a passionate advocate for personal and professional growth.

Chad shares his experiences with journaling, highlighting the importance of capturing moments, tracking progress, and finding encouragement in his own words.

The Power of Encouragement through Journaling

For Chad, journaling has become a source of encouragement and self-reflection. Looking back at his old journal entries, he rediscovers thoughts, behaviors, and struggles from the past that he might have otherwise forgotten. Chad explains, “Encouragement comes when I realize the progress I’ve made; progress I would have otherwise overlooked, dismissed, or had forgotten.”

His journey through depression during his late 30s and early 40s serves as a powerful example. By revisiting his journal entries, he gains a fresh perspective on the severity of his struggles and recognizes the significant progress he has made. Chad’s experience emphasizes the transformative power of journaling in acknowledging personal growth.

Journaling as a Path to Clarity and Insight

Chad’s journaling practice is intertwined with his morning routine, where he spends time reading books and studying his notes. During this dedicated period, he often makes connections between the content he’s engaging with and events in his own life. These connections provide him with clarity about behaviors to adopt or let go of, as well as challenging his existing perspectives.

“That which we journal is filled with personal meaning. And meaning is the mother of motivation in life.”

Chad elaborates, “I’ll journal about those connections and insights.” By documenting these revelations, he can deepen his understanding and integrate them into his personal and professional development.

Building a Journaling Habit

To those aspiring to build a journaling habit, Chad offers valuable advice. After building a journaling habit that spans nearly 170 weeks, Chat recommends considering the why and what of journaling. Chad shares, “Let journaling become a means to an end. For me, it was, and is, a means to my encouragement.” Defining the purpose behind journaling helps maintain consistency and motivation.

Additionally, Chad encourages individuals to think about whether they prefer event-based journaling, capturing specific insights and “ah-ha” moments, or life journaling, recording daily occurrences, such as the weather or personal projects. By clarifying the purpose and focus, one can tailor their journaling experience to suit their needs.

The Lessons Learned from Journaling

Through his journaling practice, Chad has discovered the importance of capturing ideas and experiences to enhance his memory. He shares, “I’ve learned that my memory needs help. If I don’t record ideas, insights, ‘ah-ha’ moments, or difficulties, I will forget aspects of them.” Journaling serves as a reliable tool for preserving meaningful moments and reflections, preventing them from fading away with time. Furthermore, Chad emphasizes the profound encouragement he derives from revisiting past entries, which motivates him to continue journaling consistently.

Building a Meaning-Based Journal

Chad’s dedication to journaling is evident in his daily Instagram stories and tweets, where he shares a quote and a new journal prompt. Chad hopes to share a completed “meaning-based” journal project toward the end of the year, including eight “Guideposts” with a series of prompts.

“The purpose of the meaning-based journal is to discover meaning in the peaks & valleys of our life and work,” Chad explains. The 8 Guideposts include: Create, Experience, Attitude, Self-Discovery, Choice, Uniqueness, Responsibility, & Self-Transcendence.

A few of Chad’s favorite journal prompts so far include:

  • Write about a time when you trusted yourself (your intuition).
  • Write about a time in which you moved toward a goal in spite of difficulty in life.
  • Write about an experience that made you see things differently.
  • Write about something you’re getting better at.

You can follow Chad on Instagram and Twitter for more journaling inspiration.

Embracing the Day One App for Journaling

Chad praises the Day One app for its seamless integration into his journaling routine. He particularly appreciates the “On This Day” feature, which grants him quick access to past journal entries. This feature not only reinforces his progress but also sparks inspiration for further growth. Additionally, the app’s syncing capabilities across multiple devices, including his Mac, iPad, and iPhone, enable Chad to journal anytime, anywhere. The convenience of voice note capture and the reminder feature further contribute to his consistent journaling practice.

Wrapping Up: Finding Meaning and Motivation Through Journaling

In the words of Chad Nelson, “That which we journal is filled with personal meaning. And meaning is the mother of motivation in life.” Chad’s perspective on journaling reminds us of the profound impact our personal narratives can have on our journey. By embracing the power of journaling, we can capture the essence of our experiences, cultivate self-reflection, and find the encouragement needed to forge ahead.

Whether it’s through pen and paper or the convenience of digital apps like Day One, journaling offers a transformative path to self-discovery and growth. Chad’s story is an inspiration for anyone who is embarking on their own journaling journey, where the written word becomes a powerful tool for unlocking the depths of your thoughts, memories, and aspirations.

Start Journaling Today with Day One

The Day One journaling app makes it easy to build and maintain a daily journaling habit. Daily journaling reminders, daily writing prompts, and journal streaks are designed to help keep you motivated and consistently journaling.

Journal from here, there, everywhere.

Download the Day One journal app for free on iPhone, Android, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch.

Journal from here there and everywhere mobile devices image.Journal from here there and everywhere mobile devices image.