How journaling can help you achieve your career goals

3 June 2021

April French Furnell

Preethi Nair, co-founder of The Life Adventure, a corporate retreat that helps colleagues ‘restore, recharge and reimagine’ in 36 hours, shares an insight into the importance of journaling for career success.

A recent study by Dr Gail Matthews, a Psychology Professor at Dominican University of California, demonstrated that writing down your goals increases the odds of success by 42%.

Preethi Nair reflects on her own experience:

“My first job after graduating was a glorified tea maker to a chain-smoking boss whose favourite word when he spoke to me was, “error”. The job of “Consultant” had somewhat been mis-sold to me and I should have known having seen the smoke-filled room, the ashtray piled high and the confined space littered with used teabags. However, I took the job and should have left immediately but for various reasons, didn’t.

My boss, let’s call him Harry, would stand over my shoulder as he dictated his letters and shouted “error” every time I made a grammatical mistake. It was every other sentence and hugely soul-destroying as ironically, I harboured dreams of being a writer.

However, no job in my career history propelled me like this one. Weirdly, when I feel small and confined, there is space to dream and one day, when he was at a client meeting, I took out a piece of paper from the printer tray and wrote down my goals. It went something like this:

* I am a best-selling novelist

* My books are translated internationally

* I write films and plays

* I have my own consultancy where imagination and creativity are at the centre of what I do

And so it went on……

I folded the piece of paper and put it in the book that had inspired this process (Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People - the chapter on Beginning with the end in mind). Very recently, whilst moving house, I came across that list written over twenty years ago, I slowly unfolded it and read it. Pretty much everything had materialised.”

How can you unlock the secret to career success?

Dr Gail in her study, suggests not just writing goals, but committing to goal-directed actions, and also, creating accountability for those actions.

Preethi adds:

  • Describe them in full technicolour, detailing how it will make you feel. 
  • Take Action. HUGE if possible (perhaps don’t create a double life). However, huge action shows commitment and will get you to where you want to go faster.

Journaling is part of The Life Adventure’s 36-hour corporate retreat, “Restore, Recharge & Reimagine” designed around connection to self, to each other and to nature.

Preethi Nair is author of four books, she teaches the art storytelling to senior leaders and is visiting professor at various business schools teaching creativity and personal leadership.


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