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5 Step Journal Exercise to Nurture, Create, and Celebrate Personal Independence

Free-write your answers and your thoughts about the questions and statements below in your journal.

Step 1. Identify What You Want

What do want in your life that you don’t currently have?

Most of us have items we want – but won’t buy, looks we want to wear – that we don’t, and things we want to do – but never make happen.

The million dollar question, is why? 

Why do we hold back on the things we want? Sometimes we do this because we are not free to act. I don’t mean we can’t because we are literally not free to, I mean we are not free of the subtle influences that sway us in making choices for ourselves. 

This exercise is meant to free you of those subtle influences or at least make you aware of them so you are actually choosing, what you let influence you.

What do you want to have, but you won’t let yourself? Maybe there’s something you have but don’t want, list that too.

  • …I really want that designer clothing item
  • …a particular type of car 
  • …I don’t want those family heirlooms
  • …that career path or degree

What do you want to think and believe but don’t have the courage to?

  • …I can paint that
  • …I am capable of
  • …_____ may not be the person who

What do you want to do but never do?

  • …I want to travel to Europe
  • …I want to make Beef Burgundy
  • …I want to tell ____

Dig really deep and reflect in different areas of your life to find the answers to these questions. We all have something we hold back from ourselves.

Step 2. Identify What and Who in Your Life Supports What You Want

What thoughts are you thinking that are positive self-talk?

…I’m awesome at

What are the things you currently do that are like swimming against the current but you do them anyway?

  • …even though my friends give me hard time, I love to wear costumes
  • …I know it’s not popular to wear leg warmers but I love them anyway
  • …I don’t care if I ___

Who are you spending time with that supports what you want in life?

  • …my friend Betty is so supportive of my Bingo addiction
  • …my husband always compliments me on my love for ____

What are you currently doing to get what you want from life?

  • …I’m taking that art class I always wanted to
  • …I booked that flight to
  • …I hired that coach
  • …I stopped spending time with people who ____

Step 3. Identify What Doesn’t Support What You Want

What thoughts are you thinking that are negative self-talk?

  • …I have never been able to in the past
  • …I’m too old
  • …I’m too young
  • …Who do I think I am?

Who are you spending time with that minimizes or belittles what you want in life?

  • …my mother always
  • …he doesn’t think I should
  • …you really want to do that?

What could you be doing to get what you want from life?

  • …when was the last time I ____
  • …I haven’t made time for
  • …I know  ____ brings me down

Step 4. Make Adjustments

Review steps 1, 2, and 3. 

Decide and note what you will continue to do in life to support what you truly want. Journal about those things and then continue to journal about ideas you can add to this list. 

What thoughts do you have that keep you motivated? 

  • …I can do anything
  • …anything is possible

These are the thoughts to keep running in your head on repeat.

Decide and note what you will stop doing in your life. 

Leave behind those things that set you back. Pull away from those friends and family who don’t make you feel confident in your authentic choices. Are you finding negative thoughts popping up? 

  • …I can’t
  • …I shouldn’t 
  • …I never

Catch those thoughts and call them out. Choose in the moment something better to think. Retrain your brain.

The only reason you shouldn’t do something is because you or someone else could truly get physically hurt or die. 

Don’t let anything deter you from being you. Especially…

  • …what the neighbors think
  • …what your mother in law might say
  • …what your religious affiliation believes

Step 5. Celebrate Your Independence

By now you’re starting to see the bars. Am I right? The jail cell that denies you your freedom? Worrying what other people think, how you’ll be perceived, too scared to rock the boat.

You are also seeing where you are on the “right track for you” in your one unique life. The things that make you stand out and be an individual. The things that make you interesting.

You have journaled about what you want, what will stay, and what has to go. It’s liberating to shed all the rules. They don’t have to apply to you unless you let them.

This is true freedom, this is independence.



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