Once you’ve been journaling a while, several months or perhaps years, you will begin to notice recurring themes in life.
At this point, you are ready to begin what Dave Fox refers to as Reflective Journaling.
For example, I did not realize my current passion for writing actually began in elementary school. Reflective journaling helped me realize I enjoyed writing dramatic plays for Girl Scouts and experimenting with poetry in 6th grade English. I discovered my favorite assignments in college involved writing in-depth research papers, and those skills helped me secure a job as a market research analyst. I used to question why I ended up teaching English, but now I believe it is a part of my DNA.
It wasn’t until a few years ago that I discovered I have a problem setting unrealistic expectations. While I knew this fueled my pursuit of perfectionism (which led to a constant feeling of failure)… I realized it also put undo stress on personal relationships. My desire for the Walton family dinner, complete with “Goodnight, John Boy” was based on make-believe. I failed to appreciate my unique family because I was too focused on a fantasy.