I love to journal but I can often become somewhat disheartened by the fact that I’m not remotely artistic; I much prefer guided journals. I like an almost workbook-like structure, something with a goal and an end result, and something which can help me both reflect and look forward. Last year’s Make it Happen is a great example, as is the Book Riot reading journal. Now a new guided (and super colourful) journal has come into my life: Your Brightest Life Journal by Caroline Kelso Zook.
Subtitled ‘A creative guide to becoming your best self’, Your Brightest Life is an enlightening and empowering journal, helping you to understand who you are, what you want and how to get it.
It’s split into seven sections, focusing on self-awareness, authenticity, creativity, confidence, resilience, intention and self-evolution. Each section opens with an inspiring quote and personal anecdote from Caroline, leading to various creative exercises. The best thing is you can complete this without an ounce of artistic talent. Let me show you a spread from each section to give you an idea of what to expect.
All of the pages are already laid out, so all you need to worry about it choosing your favourite pen! And don’t worry about ‘messing up’ – this journal was made to get messy. There’s also a page near the start for you to put pen to paper for the first time so that you don’t feel anxious about doing it on a ‘proper’ page.
The self-awareness section is all about finding out who you really are, what your core values are and what you really want.
Isn’t the hand lettering lovely?!
‘Simply put, authenticity is aligning what you do with who you are.’
Being creative means different things to different people. I’m a non-fiction writer with zero artistic talent, so I used to think that meant I wasn’t creative – I can’t draw or write my own stories, so how can I be creative? For Caroline it’s about being free, curious and exploring yourself.
You don’t have to work through the journal in the order that it’s laid out, you can start with the section you need right now. If I was to be totally honest with myself, I think I need to start with confidence and resilience.
I’ve learned a lot simply by reading Caroline’s personal stories within the journal, before I even start with completing the creative exercises! ‘Confidence isn’t something you have or don’t have, it’s a process – something you move through, something you practice intentionally. But it has to begin with believing in yourself first.’
One of my favourite quotes is ‘she believed she could, so she did’. But, likewise, one of my favourite memes is ‘she believed she could, but once the kids were in bed she couldn’t be arsed, so she didn’t’. While my confidence is growing, I still find life to be a massive juggling act and often have an early night on the basis that, being better rested will make me more productive the next day, only to wear myself out again and continue the vicious cycle.
I love a quote. Two more favourites are ‘this too shall pass’ and ‘grow through what you go through’. On the shit days, it’s important to remind myself that nothing is forever and that we can learn from every experience, whether positive or negative.
This is one of my favourite sections, and it’s no surprise given that it reminded me of Sarah McKnight’s books. It’s very much about self-care and weighing up how you currently spend your time vs what you really want to be doing. It’s just a lot less sweary and a bit more creative. Fun!
In the final section, Caroline reminds us that ‘the journey is the destination. The process never ends. The more you can get comfortable with that, the more you can find pleasure in the endless cycle of self-discovery, and the more satisfaction, contentment, and joy will open up to you.’
I can’t wait to get stuck in. I’ll be sharing some more spreads on my Stories as I complete them, so keep an eye on my Instagram for more peeks at the pages.
*I was sent this journal for review purposes and all thoughts are my own
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