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A Great Tool to Add to Your Journaling Routine

Mar 24, 2024

Read time: 3.5 minutes

If you struggle with decluttering your mind, you may have turned to journaling to help you navigate your thoughts and feelings.

At some point on this journey, your efforts toward more clarity and building an intentional life will go beyond decluttering the surface-level items in your home. (This may be where you are right now.)

Looking back, I crossed this bridge early on in my journey toward more clarity. Although I’ve been writing for years, I’m still learning new techniques to push my practice further while gaining even more clarity.

The truth is that writing is hard, and when you start talking about writing for mental clarity, it adds a layer of complexity to any regular writing routine.

Staring at a blank page when you have so much to say but don’t know where to begin can be paralyzing.

It can even lead you to believe that writing isn’t for you.

In case you haven’t noticed yet, I’m a poet. So, when I’m writing, I love to incorporate elements of poetry into my projects. Whether it’s this newsletter, a YouTube video script, or private writings I store in my notebook or phone.

Now, the beautiful thing about writing is that it can take the shape of many different styles:

  • Poetry (my personal favorite)
  • Free-writing
  • Short stories
  • Letters unsent
  • Morning pages
  • Bullet journaling
  • 3-1-1 journaling
  • And many others.

However, formats like these can still leave you staring at a blank page without knowing where to begin.

So, when writing for mental clarity, I enjoy using a reliable writing framework that immediately kills the blank page problem. It’s a simple writing structure that can help you capture where you are now and how you want to move forward.

Let’s dive in.

Retrospectives: My New Favorite Writing Practice (in addition to poetry)

Retrospectives (or retros) are exercises held at the end of something—a month, a quarter, a sprint, a project, or anything—and they are an opportunity to reflect on what went well, what needs to be improved, and what lessons can be applied going forward. Put simply, this is a powerful framework for gaining clarity through writing.

It gives you a simple structure to follow to ensure your journal entries are clear, easy to revisit when needed, and most importantly — that you walk away from them knowing what actions you want and need to take going forward.

Here’s how it works:

Step 1: Note all the good things that happened the last month across the various facets of your life, personally and professionally.

Step 2: Note all the challenges/concerns you have for each area.

Step 3: Spend a few moments reflecting and identifying patterns, lessons learned, and surprises.

Step 4: What changes and decisions are you making or strongly considering going into the next month?

Step 5: Highlight new goals and intentions for the next month.

Retrospectives help you build a running log of your progress in any area of life you want to journal about. Additionally, it can help you keep yourself accountable and honest about when it’s time to pivot and try something different.

You can follow this simple process to round out your journaling practice at the end of every month and move closer to what you want most: more clarity.

Why Retros Work

Retrospectives work because they focus on things like pattern recognition and continuous improvement rather than your journaling practice becoming a vehicle of blame (which is a mistake many people make when writing for mental clarity).

By starting with the good things and highlighting any concerns you have, you are creating space to explore improvement.

Identifying patterns and lessons learned helps you recognize the (poor and positive) habits you continue to engage in, which helps you gain valuable insights into your behavior and mindset.

Thinking through the changes you want or need to make and the decisions surrounding those changes turns your journaling practice into a vehicle of solutions.

Ending with clear goals and intentions encourages you to take the next step and continue to build a more intentional life.

Putting Retros into Practice

I encourage you to round out your journaling practice with monthly retrospectives.

If you’re new to journaling and struggling to overcome the blank page every time you write, this can be a great entry point to help you build a routine. The format is already set up for you; all you have to do is fill in the blanks.

If you’re a journaling pro and have been practicing for years, this can help you push your practice further and gain even more clarity.

Go ahead and give this a try and see what difference it makes.

In fact, this upcoming week is the last week of March. (Can you believe that? Time is flying).

This week is the perfect opportunity to reflect on how this past month has gone for you.

See you next week.



Whenever you’re ready, here’s how I can help you:

 The Decluttering Starter Kit: Skip the overwhelm and jumpstart your decluttering journey. This comprehensive course will teach and guide you through my multi-step action plan for decluttering with less overwhelm and more progress each week. Get access here.


Whenever you’re ready, here’s how I can help:

1. The Declutter Kit: The most straightforward way to approach decluttering. I share 8+ years of expertise, proven methods, and actionable strategies. This course will help you save time, conquer your clutter, and prioritize your values.

2. Get my Core Values Worksheet: Step-by-step guide to help you identify your values (free).

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