This article was originally posted on November 16, 2010, to Happy Parents = Happy Kids (focusedonparenting.wordpress.com) by Susan Guttridge
Raising kids can bring out both the best and the worst in parents. After a challenging day, it might be easier to connect with all the things you’re doing wrong – I know I’ve had days like that! Perhaps it’s about having more energy, more patience, handling our temper, or not feeling quite so emotionally over-whelmed. Recognizing our limitations can often be easier than identifying how to create change, committing ourselves to a plan, and sticking with it.
One of the greatest ways to successfully change a behaviour is to document it. We can do this through journaling, or by writing out a plan for ourselves. Committing our thoughts to paper somehow makes them more concrete. No longer are they fleeting words floating through our mind – on paper words take on a stronger meaning. They become real. Through writing we give order to our thoughts, which assists us in seeing a plan more clearly.
So, to become accountable to yourself, every night write in your journal the ways in which you were successful in carrying out your desired behaviour change.
Example: Becoming Accountable with Anger
Example: Becoming Accountable with Self-Esteem
Journaling in this way will make you accountable to yourself. It doesn’t feel very good to sit down to do this journaling exercise and have nothing to say – which is the success of the technique: You will want to implement the behaviour you planned so that you have something positive to write about in your journal!
Susan Guttridge is a trauma-informed Master level Counsellor with the clinical designation of Canadian Certified Counsellor (CCPA). She has 20+ years experience providing individual and group therapy.