12 years old, way back in Middle school, I received some really crappy news.
“You’re pre-diabetic.” The doctor said, and like the dramatic person I am, all her words after that just faded as I watched her write a prescription for a pill that can help control my blood sugar levels. Honestly, all that went through my head was “This is proof. I’m fat.”
So, that day, I took my prescription, left the office with my mother, and tried not to cry from my low self-esteem or die from embarrassment as my mom began to tell me how I needed to eat better and start exercising. She was being nice about it, but back then 12-year-old me only took those words as a harsh way of saying, “You’re so fat. God, can’t you just eat right like a normal person?”
In reality, my mom was actually the main person that helped me through that rough time in life, and not just my horrible self-image, but the other crap that surprisingly a middle-schooler like me could actually go through. Of course, I didn’t think that at the time, and instead I felt like I was all alone in a dark place called depression.
That dark time did a real bang-up job, and not just on me. It seems that negative emotions and bad choices are contagious, and not just a thing parents say when they think my friends are “bad influences”. I didn’t just think that I was morbidly obese at the time (I wasn’t, but I definitely was overweight), but I also thought I was physically unpleasant (seriously, what a nice way to say “ugly”, right?). I mean, it didn’t help that middle school is filled with selfish and arrogant bullies, so it was no surprise that I was laughed at, called “pizza-face” because of my acne (and seriously, why is it that when guys like a girl they are so mean in middle school?) and treated as if I was stupid, yet when people wanted answers I was the smartest person in the room.
This only led to the dark phases of terrible choices like eating disorders and self-harm. (Also, please read: For me it was a phase. These are serious and real mental disorders and shouldn’t be ignored.) I hated looking in the mirror – not just at the size of my body, the odd shape of my “love handles”, my big breasts that weighed down my body, and the bumps on my face that easily turned as red as a brick. I was mortified by everything – by my frizzy hair, the way my voice sounded like in my ears, the way I acted when I was hyper, or how I was too shy to stand up for myself. I hated how my body was going against me. I had suffered chronic pain for seven years, had to deal with nausea, my crappy immune system, and chronic ear-infections and bronchitis. I felt alone, in pain, and so depressed that I not only thought about killing myself, but I tried multiple times.
Then, the weirdest thing happened. Really, it shouldn’t be surprising. I mean, the way my life turned around was kind of a funny story which wouldn’t surprise any of my friends – but it’s usually not the way anyone gets a reality check.
See, I remember talking to someone and they said, “You’re not just going to wake up one day and decide to get better. You have to fight for it.”
Want to know what happened later that week?
I woke up practically the next day and I decided “Fuck that. I’m done with this shit.”
So I started a blog called “The Journal Project.” To be honest, after a while I stopped working on it and I think I deleted it, but then I decided to start up on it again. Of course, I’m sure those emotions of wanting to fight were slowly building up, and you shouldn’t expect to wake up one day and feel the same thing. That person that told me I wasn’t going to wake up one day and have a change of heart was still kind of right: I do have to still fight for it, and so do you.
And now, I bet you’re wondering where I’m going with this. You’re also probably wondering how the heck The Journal Project will actually help you, how it helped me, and how to do it.
So, let’s get this show on the road.
How The Journal Project Works
The Journal Project is intended to motivate you and keep track of your goals to become the best version of yourself. This doesn’t mean goals that relate to your looks, like losing weight, clearing acne, banishing wrinkles, or maintaining healthy hair. It’s also used for your mind, such as being able to think clearly, learning new things and what side you stand on, learning about problems and doing something about it, and even goals such as wanting to be happier, be more open-minded, and being more compassionate. Plus, The Journal Project can also aide you in your educational and career goals, like becoming a self-motivated worker and to help you stop procrastinating.
All in all, The Journal Project can help you become successful in all aspects of your life.
So, How Does This Work?
First, get a journal.
Wait, what? Yeah, get a journal. It’s called “The Journal Project” for a reason, and this isn’t just a fancy title for another self-improvement blog. Remember, the point of this is to not only motivate you, but track your goals. The best way to do that? Put effort into something physical – like a journal.
On the first page, write a list of your goals.
If you want, organize your goals from most desired (top) to least desired (bottom). Of course, you’re going to work on all of these goals, but some you may desire more than others. Also, some may also take longer and be harder to achieve. For example, Losing weight may be harder than passing all of your classes.
Now, the next couple pages will be organized in order of your goals. These pages have all the information, and answer all of the main questions such as:
-How will I accomplish this goal? What are some steps that I can do to achieve this goal?
-What are some research and interesting things that you can do to achieve this goal? For example, if your goal is to lose weight, you may find interesting diets you are interested in, unique or fun ways to exercise, or even tips that surprise you that you may want to try.
You may find that some goals may be difficult to plan than others. Or, some may just be simple. Either way, list tips, interesting things, and research.
Finally, Write down improvements, obstacles, and your results!
On the last few pages of your journal, you want to write it like a self-improvement diary. Write about your improvements, your obstacles that you faced and didn’t expect, how motivated you feel, things you need to remember, and hopefully results. For example, if your goal is to lose weight, you can print pictures of your results. Or, if your result is to be more open-minded, you can write about an experience – such as a time you listened to someone else’s side of something, such as a political debate, and didn’t judge. Even if you didn’t change your opinion and still think your right, the point is you listened and you didn’t judge.
Questions to Ask Yourself.
-Why did I choose this goal? How has not accomplishing this goal effect my social life? Career life? Or even educational life?
-Do I really want this? How can it help me? What are some negative consequences, if any, I can get if I do this? Will it negatively affect my life, or positively?
Remember that if you’re going to write these goals, ask yourself if this is what you really want. You don’t want to write a goal down only to realize later that it is something you don’t want.
How The Journal Project Changed Me.
Although I still have a long way to go, The Journal Project has helped me feel healthier, look better, be happier, and even figure out what I want to do in life. In the end, I was no longer pre-diabetic (and never got to Type 2 Diabeties), and I now feel better than I did in a long time. Plus, as I tried to help people around me who were suffering through low self-esteem, and obstacles that they couldn’t seem to overcome, I realized that Research is a big part that can help you overcome your goals. Only problem is, people just don’t want to do it.