But what if you don't like your past, or how things are going in the present? What if you dread the future you see?
Good news - for the most part, your future is in your hands.
Before any of you cynics out there start scoffing, I am not talking about unrealistic expectations here. If the future you want is to live on a colony on moon - well, you'll just have to make that happen in fiction.
But for most everyday fears, problems, our own behaviour or bad habits, this will help IF YOU ARE HONEST IN YOUR EXERCISE.
Get that journal out. Pick one problem or habit that bothers you the most. Just one for now. Does it keep you awake at night? Does it make you dread getting up in the morning? Does it depress you? Does it make you want to drink yourself into oblivion or gorge yourself on chocolates? Does it make you worry your spouse will leave you or your children will hate you? Whatever it is - write it down.
Not all problems have to be huge scale. It could be anything - but as long as it is something that affects your life in a negative way, even if psychologically, it is a valid problem.
Write that problem in your journal - underline it.
Now, I want you to free write for minimum of 10 minutes. Shut off all other distractions, and start writing. Moan, bitch, complain, blame it on everyone else - but write anything that comes to mind about that problem. If any solution come to mind, write that as well.
Few prompts to get you going?
Why does this bother you?
When did it start?
How did it start?
Is it external or something internal?
Who does it affect?
How does it bother you?
Write absolutely everything. If you keep going for more than 10 minutes, great. But give it ten minutes. If you can't think of anything to write for 10 minutes, then keep repeating yourself. But you have to give your subconscious a chance to open up, and it's not going to do that if you close the journal after two minutes.
Once you have done it? You may feel relieved to get it out, or you may feel depressed to go through it, or you may feel emotionally drained.
Take a break. Go do something fun. Have a nap. But forget about the journal, and go distract yourself.
Depending on how resolved you feel, go back to the journal either later in the day or the next day. Pick out every sentence you wrote, and for each sentence - write down how it can be solved.
Don't worry about being able to do it just yet, or whether or not you have the will power. Imagine as if it's a friend who has come to you with that problem, and you are telling them what to do - and we are all great at giving other people solutions, aren't we?
Write down what the solution would be using common sense? For every sentence. It may just be one or two solutions for everything, nevertheless repeat it next to each sentence.
When you are done - do you know what you have got?
An action plan.
You've found the answers to your problems. Not all of it will be easy to fix. It may take resources (money, time, external help), it may take supreme effort of your will power - but at least you have a plan. You know what you need to do.
If you feel ready, do a journal entry for how you might be able to accomplish each of those steps.