Savvy Chicks Media Blog » 7 Benefits of Keeping a Success Journal

7 Benefits of Keeping a Success Journal

How many times, at the end of your day have you gotten ready for bed, laid your head on your pillow, replayed the events of the day and thought, “I wish I had done this” or “maybe I should have done that?”  More often than not our focus turns to what we didn’t get done that day rather than what we did accomplish.

Early in my career, my business coach encouraged me to realistically and briefly recap my successful accomplishments to date.  I reached back to my post-school days and found that this exercise was very powerful for me and marked the beginning of positive ritual I practice to this day.

It is no surprise that in our professional and personal lives we tend to get caught up and busy with the daily activities of simply getting our jobs done.  But how often do we stop and ask ourselves, “What am I doing well?”  In my work as an executive coach, I often find that transitioning executives can get caught up in expectations placed upon them in their new roles and can fall into a pattern of self-questioning like, “Did I do the right thing about this or that today?” or “How well am I making my mark… how fast?”  This is why it is important to make time for realistic and practical self-recognition.

An excellent way to reinforce the importance of your daily accomplishments, big or small, is to keep a success journal. Even if there were only a few simple things you did well that day, for example, “I made it to the meeting on time” or “I took the opportunity to introduce myself to the new employee”, writing down and recognizing your successes – no matter how basic they may seem, creates positive reinforcement and over time these positive reminders add up and enhance your self-esteem and strengthen your self-confidence.

“Focus on what you have successfully accomplished.”

I personally have found a success journal to be an excellent tool.   It serves as a reminder that I am doing a lot more of the things that I set out to do and doing them well.  Can I get better?  Sure, however this 5 to 10 minute exercise serves as a reminder that I am moving forward and gives me practical positive reinforcement.  I am also a fan of creating a special place specifically for this ritual.  I write my successes with a fountain pen in a leather-bound journal to distinguish it from all the other notebooks on my shelves.  It is symbolizes the fact that this journal is something special and it’s for me.

To get started on your own success journal, pick a point in time and document what you have successfully accomplished, big or small, up until today.  Be honest with yourself and keep it simple and brief.  Then end each day on a positive note by reflecting and writing down your successes, no matter how basic, for that day.  The best thing about doing this in the evening is that when your head hits the pillow you have success on your mind and you go to sleep feeling good about the day!

Think of these entries as a deposit into a savings account.  When that rainy day comes along and you need to make a withdrawal, the accumulation of positive reinforcement will be ready and waiting.    Use these tools of reflection as a reminder that you are moving forward and you are doing well.

Here is a helpful rundown of the 7 benefits of keeping a success journal:

1.     Giving yourself credit when you do well

2.     Ending your day on a positive note

3.     Starting the next day on a positive note

4.     Documenting successes will have an accumulative effect over time

5.     Recognizing that success can be very simple

6.     Creating a positive habit for yourself

7.     Using this tool for positive reflection later on

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    Mike Martorella

    Mike Martorella, Founder and CEO of MMI Communication, has 10+ years experience as an executive coach. He works with successful high potentials and senior leaders at Fortune 500 companies, which currently include Air Products, Bunge, and IBM. Mike often works with executives in transition within a company. He helps them develop executive presence, build followership and act in alignment with the organization’s big picture as they navigate complex environments to achieve success. Learn more about Mike and read his blog, Leadership Today Update, at

    Mike Martorella

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    • When you are “always” late it is an incredible feeling to be “on time”. You need to register that feeling of success so that you can reproduce it at will. The world will tell you that you are wrong or inadequate, your success journal will “prove” to you that it is not true. Why deny yourself such a simply created tool – your success journal!

    • Great philosophy! Our team keeps a weekly “hot” list, showing current “A”, “B” & “C” prospects, we discuss a plan for each to move them up the list and then the following week review both the list , the plan and the successes. We find this exercise keeps us focused on both working the current accounts and always going after new business. The most satisfaction comes when we move a name from the prospects list to the “ACCOUNTS” side.

    • Great idea! It’s also a good idea to keep track of your achievements so you can share them with others when they ask the “what have you done” question, and you can use successful methods or ideas on future projects if you keep a running list of what worked well on past projects.

    • I think it is a fantastic article and I am going to begin a success journal immediately. I would only add that I am going to have a second success journal wherein I will write out in great deal the successes that have yet to come. I am a true believer of the notion that we all can truly create our destinies. We can all overcome horrible hurdles and accomplish surreal realities. I believe that writing a future thinking success journal will go hand in hand and compliment the success journal written about in this great article. To discuss or contact me, feel free at Best wishes to you all.

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