The Life Edit and how a daily writing practice can support sober living

In an age of superfast digital touch screen technology, it’s easy to overlook the power of writing by hand, but this deceptively simple activity has the potential to create positive impact in a multitude of ways. This is especially true when we want to break habits and move our lives in a different direction as daily writing will help by clearing our mental and emotional landscape.

In its most basic function, writing helps us remember what we need to do, tell people we love them or are thinking about them, and enables us to learn and discover. Writing is a truly amazing thing that we all have access to and for the cost of a piece of paper or a notebook and a pen we have the power to change our lives one word at a time. And yet despite its beautiful simplicity and enormously powerful ability to create incredible change, so few of us ever bother to handwrite very much at all. With technology being so present in our lives, writing by hand in its purest form is slowly being ignored and forgotten as a human communication tool as we tap away on our keyboards and stare at our blinking screens. This process makes ‘writing’ just another chore, something to be ticked off your list and then disregarded and yet by engaging with handwriting for just a few minutes a day we can all make powerful transformations to our lives.

The success of my LIFE EDIT programme proves that the actual physical act of writing is a powerful and impactful method of auditing, editing, curating and creating new lives, new plans and new ambitions. As well as writing down goals for the future, we can write what we are grateful for-as a reminder of how much good we already have in our lives. By bookending our day writing down just three things we are grateful for, we will have better days of inspired activity and better nights of sleep.

Daily writing and journaling is such a helpful and powerfully effective activity to engage in if our challenge is to move towards sober living. By adopting a habit and routine of daily writing we are able to spot patterns and triggers than can help to explain why we develop a certain reliance on something such as drinking. By using specific writing exercises or free writing we can identify negative self-talk that can have such a damaging effect on our self-belief, self-confidence and self-esteem, and through writing we can take the opportunity to re-frame our beliefs and focus on positive activities that will enhance our life. We can write our way to the life that we know we REALLY want-all by unravelling our thoughts and beliefs one sentence at a time.

Creative processes have been proven to be very therapeutic, valuable and effective at helping us to reach our goals-wherever we are in our lives and whatever we are facing. In his book ‘Opening Up By Writing It Down,’ James Pennebaker-the originator of expressive writing- looks at how writing in this way improves health and eases emotional pain. He says that writing can clear the mind, help with problem solving and enable us to take on new information.

The strength and power of writing stems from the fact that writing is the primary basis upon which communication, history, record keeping, and art begins. Writing is the frame work of our communication system and punctuates every part of our lives in one way or another.

Writing plans down on paper helps to keep us motivated and creates a definite plan to stick to. You will achieve greater success if you start using a journal to help you plan your goal setting and record your thoughts, feelings and any obstacles that may come along.

Using a journal and writing every day provides us with that crucial safe, insulated space that we all need now and then so that we can be free to let our feelings out without judgement. Filling a notebook, in the way that you want to, with words that truly describe how you are feeling can give an inspiring measure of your progress but in a totally private environment, and once you can clearly see that you are making regular and steady progress towards a sober lifestyle you can start to set goals. A process of daily writing to help you unravel and clear, improve your self-confidence and self-belief systems can then lead towards setting new, ambitious and exciting goals.

Only 3 % of people bother to write down their goals and plans for the future. Those who do achieve great things.

“The non-negotiable process of having to commit to writing every day for 30 days was not something that I ever thought I could do. I now can’t imagine not doing it. It has helped me immensely. I have clarity and a plan for the future and have already achieved some of my goals.” Sophie -completed the six week LIFE EDIT programme.

The simplest way to start the process of manifesting change in our lives is to start regularly writing down our goals. If your goal is sober living then a daily writing habit will help you to

  • Stay focussed
  • Set a clear intention that you want to make changes to your life
  • Manifest that change by creatively visualizing and describing in detail the life that you want to lead
  • Invest in yourself

Your daily writing practices don’t have to be an exercise in perfectionism and should never be a chore. Writing is a simple exercise, but don’t be fooled by its simplicity! It has tremendous abilities to really make us all think very carefully about our lives and what we want to keep and what we definitely want to change.

Daily writing is all about allocating time each day to reaffirm your goals and edit out anything that you no longer need or believe will be helpful to you. When we are aware of what we want to work towards we start taking positive and inspired actions that will get us there. The process of writing every day really supports that process.

Without writing the flow of ideas halts sharply beyond the initial creative source and ideas and concepts simply never grow.

Writing helps us to think better, plan more effectively and perhaps even improve our intelligence and intellectual abilities-making us smarter. In the same way that dreaming can fire our imagination, writing allows us a way to curate our random and scattered thoughts and ideas, and edit them into a single beam of useful, powerful and impactful information. It opens up a new otherwise closed dimension for the mind to occupy and, consequently, creates a space for unparalleled expression and imagination, which opens up opportunities for new ideas, goals and plans to be made, formed and achieved.

Whatever our situation we can all benefit from a daily writing practice and above all writing is an enjoyable and relaxing thing to do. It is time to forget about your past experiences and preconceptions of writing and start afresh with a new attitude to this simple but powerful artform. Writing can change your life-if you let it.

Find out about the six week LIFE EDIT coaching programme For every five people who sign up, I fund coaching services for vulnerable people in hard to reach communities.

Find me on social media…

Facebook: Write Your Life @WYLcoaching

On Twitter: @hellosarahadams

On Instagram: @sarah_adams_life_editor

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