Benefits of a success/achievement journal

Do you have a success journal? Are you writing in it regularly? Do you know what a success (or achievement) journal is?

It can be a small notebook, a sticky pad, a bookmark with blank lines, anything that will allow you to keep track of daily, weekly, and monthly accomplishments. A success journal is a useful way for any self-employed writer to stay on top of daily, weekly, and monthly goals.

By having the goals written out each week (I do my weekly list of goals on Sunday nights), it’s easy to not only check off the tasks as they are accomplished, but it’s easy to list some of the ones that took extra effort, as successes.

As 2012 comes to an end, I admit that I haven’t kept my list of successes up-to-date on a regular basis. In fact, I don’t even have a journal per se.

Example of accomplishment listI use the Planner Pad system for my tasks, goals, and calendar and use the far right Notes/Calls column to track successes and wins I’ve had. I actually have it renamed as “accomplishments,” but that’s semantics.

Just as I see the value in keeping a gratitude journal (listing 5 things a day I’m thankful (or grateful) for that day),  keeping successes / accomplishments/wins in front of my mind is also quite beneficial.

I have weekly writing goals, and love being able to note new blog posts, new magazine or newspaper assignments, or new clients as successes. I also have marketing goals (and related successes), editing goals (as part of my freelance business is editing), as well as fitness goals.

Noting successes (and a success is something different for each of us) in one location for the entire year allows for an easy review at year’s end.

By having all my accomplishments listed in one place, I can easily pull a 12-month list together. And I have to tell you, it is quite a rush to see how much I’ve done in 12 months. I love it when I go back to review the early months and see my successes. It’s like being given a gift all over again because in most cases, I’ve forgotten those successes in the passing of time.

If you haven’t started a success journal yet, I recommend starting now. And then a year from now, go back through it and see what you’ve done. It’s a great motivator and an inspiring kick in the butt — it’s also useful to do in December if you set goals for the coming year at this time.

Success breeds success. And once you review what you accomplished in 2012, your goals for 2013 will be higher than you imagined. In fact, it’s a good way to start your list of Wildly Improbably Goals like Diane talked about last week.

Do you keep track of your accomplishments / achievements / successes / wins? 

Lisa J Jackson writerLisa J. Jackson is a New England-region journalist and a year-round chocolate and iced coffee lover. She loves working with words, and helping others with their own. As Lisa Haselton, she writes fiction, co-blogs about mystery-related writing topics at Pen, Ink, and Crimes, has an award-winning blog for book reviews and author interviews, and is a chat moderator at The Writer’s Chatroom. Connect with her on LinkedInFacebook, or Twitter

29 thoughts on “Benefits of a success/achievement journal

  1. Hey Lisa,
    Great idea! Since I always write a list of 50 accomplishments each year, this would be an easy way to get this list written (instead of trying to remember back to January’s successes.) Then I wouldn’t have to list things like “Cut my hair short” in order to get to 50! Just kidding, that didn’t actually make it to the list–I was tempted, though!


  2. Reblogged this on G. L. Morrison and commented:
    My “success journals” are a crazy jumble. I am terrible at keeping track of my successes. Am too chaotic to make good use of online media to even track submissions. Etc. I am constantly surprised by invitations to read in books I forgot I was even accepted in. Sigh.

  3. I love this idea! Thanks so much for sharing with all of us. This will be a great way for me to set goals for myself, check off each item as I go and actually see the progress that I have made – which will in turn, give me even more motivation to be successful! This post came right on time. Thanks again!

    x melissa little

  4. Every Saturday I plan my week using Stephen Covey’s weekly planner template (from “The 7 habits of highly effective people”). His planner allows you to separate your life into quadrants so that you can ensure that you’re getting some balance. It has been invaluable to me, plus I love crossing things off after I’ve completed them. Here’s the template:

    I love what you said. Keeping track of your accomplishments, and acknowledging those achievements really does make such a difference. If you don’t draw attention to them, I at least am much more inclined to focus on the negative.

  5. Oh Christine, love the template!
    I was always one of those kids who loved her classroom sticker chart 🙂
    This success journal thing may be just the carrot I need to be dangling for myself!

  6. This may sound cheesy, but I’ve been on a search for the largish sort of organizer that you have in your pic. I’d give you 1/10th of my soul if you could let me know where that was purchased. Seriously. 🙂

  7. I love this idea – and read your blog faithfully 🙂 It’s so refreshing to listen to and learn from other writers. In thanks, I’m nominating this blog for the “Very Inspiring Blogger Award” through my blog
    I know there are several of you who write for this blog – you don’t have to argue over it – it’s for all of you!
    Peace and Merry Christmas!
    Jessica Schaub

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