Re: measuring sucess
It seems like I never notice changes until I realize that they happened somewhere back there. It's sort of like driving in an unfamiliar town in Massachusetts: "Oh yeah, that street/landmark/milestone I was looking for, I guess I already passed that a while ago."
Journaling effectively is tough. So is self-reflection. In both cases, it's too easy to become self-conscious and to fall in to a writing style that projects your idealized self-image, or the person that you'd like to be, or the edited version of yourself that you consider acceptable for public consumption. I think Katherine's recommendation to keep the journal private is important, but you can lose your authentic voice even in private writings. Staying in touch with yourself and your changes is one of the valuable functions of a journal, but to accomplish that, you have to stay honest -- and staying honest, consistently, is a hard thing to do. One thing that helps is to cut yourself some slack for not thinking noble thoughts every second or having epiphanies every day. Be patient: with yourself, with your situation, with your progress. I used to work in a resort where entitled yuppies would routinely declare, with an immense air of self-righteousness, "Well, that's just not acceptable!" -- usually about something that was beyond anybody's control. Yes, well, the lifts are not running, because the wind is blowing 50 MPH, and so you're not going skiing today, and you can find that "not acceptable" if you want, but the "that" in question is reality, and reality doesn't change because you refuse to accept it. The wind will die down when it dies down. What does any of that have to do with changes happening on the mat? Well, as I said, I usually notice them in the rearview mirror -- probably because I'm not looking for them. All things considered, I think that's probably for the best.