The Freedom Journal (a Brief Overview)
Have you ever set out to accomplish a difficult goal, only to end up procrastinating and ultimately failing at what you set out to do?
I know that I’ve certainly been there, and I bet I’m not alone. Goals are something that everyone has, and they are critical to success. Too many people have great dreams and goals but end up never accomplishing them. It’s not because they are incapable, but because they are following the wrong process.
I recently discovered The Freedom Journal by John Lee Dumas, and it has changed everything I thought I knew about setting and accomplishing goals. Although the book is targeted at entrepreneurs, it can certainly benefit everyone who wishes to make an important accomplishment.
What is The Freedom Journal?
What I like most about The Freedom Journal is that it doesn’t set out to be just another self-help book about goals and accomplishments.
There are already too many of those out there. This book is an interactive resource. It provides a little bit of teaching and coaching at the outset, and then guides you through a process that ends with the accomplishment of your goal. You could write directly into the book, or, if you plan to reuse it, you could do the journaling separately and use the book as your guide.
There is also a free PDF version that provides the first 30 days of the book for you to try out print from.
The book was conceived by John Lee Dumas. He is an entrepreneur who has built a successful business around helping other entrepreneurs. As the founder and host of the Entrepreneurs on Fire podcast, he has interviewed thousands of successful entrepreneurs and shares their wisdom about business and success with his listeners. His accumulated experience also prompted him to create The Freedom Journal and The Mastery Journal, as well as several other products and courses.
According to Dumas, successful people tend to have at least two things in common. The first thing is willingness to work hard—usually very hard—and never give up. He also realized that successful people have mastered the skill of setting and accomplishing goals. This skill of goal accomplishment is what Dumas hopes people will develop when they work with The Freedom Journal.
The Benefits of Using The Freedom Journal
Accomplishing major goals is hard for most people. The Freedom Journal provides that extra push and carefully structured process you need to be successful. I have found many important benefits to using the journal.
- A long-term goal is broken down into many small parts that add up to your big accomplishment.
- It allows for self-reflection and flexibility.
- You are actively inspired and engaged with the process.
- It guides you to create a goal you can realistically accomplish.
How to Get Started with The Freedom Journal
The Freedom Journal directs you to record your process of setting goals and accomplishing them. This process is broken down into many small steps that add up to the accomplishment of a major goal within 100 days.
One thing I thought really stood out in The Freedom Journal was the light sprinkling of instructions and inspirational quotes throughout the book. At no point does the book overload you with a lot of information or steps to remember or keep track of. The direct instruction is kept short and sweet because the real learning that happens with this book comes from the process it is guiding you through.
You start by going through the SMART goal creation process. One major problem Dumas found with goals is that they often fail at conception. They end up being impossible to achieve. A SMART goal, in contrast, is one that is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. When you create the right kind of goal, you are set up for success from the beginning.
Daily and Nightly Action Plans
The journal then sets daily and nightly action plans. You create a small goal that you can accomplish that day. Even these small goals still follow the SMART formula. At the end of the day, you reflect on your accomplishment and note any challenges or changes you need to make for the following day.
The requirement that a person records and journals the process in detail fills in the missing element Dumas discovered in most people’s goal-setting: accountability. The journal is your accountability partner to keep you focused and working until your goal is achieved. Dumas also recommends you bring in a real-life partner for extra accountability, and that you both set goals and work toward accomplishing them using the journal.
The book organizes the 100-day span into 10-day sprints and quarterly reviews. At the end of each 10-day sprint, you summarize your accomplishments over the previous 10 days and add in your thoughts, musings, and future goals for the next sprint. The same is true of the quarterlies, only now you are looking at 25-day chunks of your process. I like this strategy because it helps you structure and reflect not just on a daily basis, but also on larger chunks of time so you can see how things are working on a big-picture level. I never felt like I was getting lost in an enormous and unruly pile of journal entries.
Flexibility and Reflection
This big-picture thinking also helps one very important part of the process: flexibility. Never did I feel like I was locked into a certain way of doing things or a certain small goal that just repeated over and over. The reflections help you to stop and really think about what worked or what didn’t work, and what you need to change as you go. For me, this was critical to actually making it through my 100 days and ending up successful.
Where to Buy The Freedom Journal
You can buy The Freedom Journal directly from Dumas’s site. Both hardcover and digital versions are available. If you have the printing capability, ordering the digital version can be very helpful so that you can print fresh pages and use the journal more than once. Hard copies may also be purchased from Amazon.
Discovering The Freedom Journal was truly life-changing for me, and I think the same can be said of just about anybody who takes the time and really engages with the process it presents. I realized the only thing really holding me back from my dreams and aspirations was my own lack of an effective and consistent process for accomplishing them. I’m sharing it here because I think many people are in the same boat I was.
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