7 habits of positively impactful people

It’s time for one of those lists of things to do to improve how we present ourselves and are perceived by others.


Because it’s March. It’s the quickening month. Famous for gusty winds and the restless stirrings of new life.

For me, it’s typically an agitated time, probably for the reasons above.

So I thought I’d anchor things in a list.

Here’s how to have a positive impact:

  1. Know who you really are
  2. Be your own best friend
  3. Be curious
  4. Be consistent
  5. Be intentional
  6. Know that a complaint is always a failed request
  7. Look for the best in others

The truth is that we are each an incidence of embodied consciousness, which means that we each have access to infinite wisdom and potential  – as well as the opportunity to feel and experience the physical world. So we are doubly blessed! The great teacher Yogi Bhajan reminds us that we are spiritual beings having a human experience, and whilst our human experience is mortal, our spiritual existence is eternal. It’s a useful perspective – and it helps to calm down and treat ourselves and others with greater kindness.

And that is important. We all learn from a  very young age to be kind to others. But we frequently don’t learn to show ourselves the same kindness. When we’re having a bad day we can become vituperative self-critics. If we were to imagine that the way we sometimes speak to ourselves is actually being directed at another we would be horrified. Paying attention to our own inner critic in order to censor it rather than be censored by it is an important habit.

So is curiosity. It’s the single most useful trait that has got me out of many a social hole. The reason is that I have long understood people love to talk about themselves and their experience, so I’ve learned to ask questions. Now there is no need not to be able to strike up a conversation – and leave a positive impression with most of the people I meet.

In contrast consistency is a habit that I have only recently got my head around. Before this I would flit from one thing to another in  my endless quest for creative fulfillment. “I’m a free spirit!” my ego would opine, while my true free spirit would long for some kind of mooring to stop the feeling of flapping about in the (March) wind. A daily practice of journal writing or meditation or exercise no matter what can greatly help in this regard – and promote consistency in other habits too.

Being intentional is a whole different thing from setting goals – although often the two are referred to interchangeably. To be intentional is to suffuse all of our actions and behaviours with the same attitude. So while your goal might be to make new friends, your intention to be self-aware, kind, curious and consistent will guarantee that people will constantly be attracted to you.

(NB. If you’d like to spend this 3 May 2019 in the beautiful north Wiltshire countryside  with me and other lovely journal writers setting our intentions for summer, drop me a line asap to juliet@journalwritershandbook.co.uk)

Once you’ve attracted your new friends, you’ll want to keep them sweet. So rather than complaining, you’ll want to be clear on what you desire so that they can play their friendly role in helping you achieve it. As social beings we are truly motivated by serving and pleasing others, so lets get ahead of the game by making clear requests up front rather than bitter complaints after we’ve been disappointed.

This is linked to looking for the best in others, and assuming that people do generally wish to be helpful and kind. When we have this outlook it makes it easier to make requests, and to show our gratitude.

In fact gratitude, appreciation and clarity are the most effective buffers against the mad weather of life, and these 7 habits of positively impactful people really help bolster them.

Take up your journal and ponder each of the 7 items above – and see how you can keep your hair on this March.

Gift Wrap and Pencil

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March 18, 2019 · 5:47 pm

Our Natural Well of Being

A number of years ago I experienced a major jolt in my well-being. Post Natal Depression had me tired, fuzzy-headed, and frequently sitting on the kitchen floor in confusion and tears. Life with a new baby, albeit my second, was overwhelming. The homeopath diagnosed disappointment, and gave me some remedies. They may or may not have been effective.

At the time I was beginning to learn about the Three Principles of Mind, Consciousness and Thought. I was beginning to understand our duality – how separated from our natural well-being our thinking minds make us. And one morning, as I stood in the shower trying to wash away the creeping tiredness that never seemed to leave me, a new thought occurred to me.

“Don’t give in to it,” it seemed to say. “Just choose not to be tired today.”

Something like a weight lifted from me. I remember smiling and breathing. I remember it feeling like the first time in ages I had really done either.

One of the most valuable insights of my life that day was that my habitual patterns do not rule the roost. That I could choose. That there was something in me, about me, which was able to redirect my experience away from the rut I had found myself in.

I’d always been aware of my inner Witness – that sense of being able to watch and observe myself. But I hadn’t heard such a loud message from it for a while. I got curious. I decided to investigate.

Fast forward a few years – sixteen to be precise – and I’m still learning. Most of all, that this Witness, this inner voice and awareness, never ever goes away. It’s always there at my centre. Still and calm. Allowing, not judging. In fact, more than that – it’s always loving me from within.

So I’ve come to understand that this is who we truly are. Each one of us has this inner knowing, inner loving, inner calm. It’s our Natural Well-being. Our Being Well, or Well of Being. We can reach it beyond our chattering thoughts. We can access it through our breathing, our awareness and our reflective practice.

All it takes is to remember its presence and to pay attention to it.

Then listen. It has oodles of wisdom and useful loving nudges to help us be true to ourselves.

What refreshment will you draw from your Well of Being today?

Gift Wrap and Pencil

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February 28, 2019 · 12:17 pm

How to be less conformist

What is it to conform?

Clearly if you’re behind the wheel of a car your best bet is to obey the rules of the road and travel in the same direction as those vehicles on your carriageway.

Conformity can mean safety.  Intuitively we know when safety is key. Non-conformity on a dual carriageway is literally, potentially fatally, dodgy.

But are there any times when there are risks associated with conformity?

Readers of The Journal Writer’s Handbook pose the question “How can I be less conformist, more originally me?” They are perceiving that there is a deficit that is triggered by conformity, some kind of theft of their originality.

Journaling is a good opportunity to recognise our authentic self – but that doesn’t automatically result in ease around non-conformity. We might know what’s good for us, but actually living that out in reality, other than in the confines of our private notebook, is another matter.

What would people say? How would your friends react? What would your family think?

Conforming is very much about our perception of others’ comfort; it’s about towing the line, or writing our story within the lines. It’s about following rules, obligations, expectations that are designed to make life easier, more straightforward, where we can just swoosh off one assumption onto another, like bouncing from one smooth cushion of air to the next.

Conformity is comfortable. On the outside. For others. No special arrangements or attitudes need to be adopted. Everyone, it can be assumed, is just like us.

But where our Truth is at odds with conformity, what then? Do we have to live a secret agony, having to hide who we really are from the rest of the world?

What’s the price of being true to ourselves? And expressing that out in the world? What does it take to shake off the fear that non-conformity brings?

I don’t recommend trying to drive the wrong way along a carriageway, but perhaps one small act of defiance can help us grasp who we might really be under the conformity cloak.

Baby steps. What non-conformity will you permit yourself today? And what would be its impact?

Gift Wrap and Pencil

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February 14, 2019 · 6:12 pm

Journaling for truth

The reason to write a journal is not simply to have a notebook full of scribblings.

That’s not the result we journal writers are looking for.

Yes, an array of beautifully bound journals bulging with ink can look impressive on a bookshelf. They can provide “something sensational to read on the train” as Oscar Wild would have it. But that’s not the reason we write.

The English artist LS Lowry, famed for his matchstick men, explained in an interview that the reason he paints is to try and understand life. His creative task was all about enquiry rather than representation – and it feels to me that this is true of most sincere efforts to explore creatively, and to give range to the imagination.

One of my workshop attendees told me that she writes to find out “what’s really going on with me”.

And this feels closer to the truth about why we journal writers are compelled to put our thoughts on paper.

But it’s not even as if we need to spend much time re-reading and re-interpreting what we’ve put down. By moving our pen across the page and allowing words to form at the end of it, we are already engaging in a sometimes alchemical process of revealing “what’s really going on”. A cursory review, perhaps a couple of days later, can often show us a surprising profundity and thread of integrity. We may not have ever suspected what lay within us, what was ready to be expressed if only it was given a conduit.

The pen is mightier than the sword, so it is said. The pen can certainly give us access to truths we might have suspected, but never really brought to life.

So the result I’m seeking as a journal writer is to unveil my truth. To feel it emerge, and to enquire into it once it has “landed” in a form of words on the page in front of me.

Often I will refute it. It might embarrass me. But then the next layer of enquiry must be applied. What is being embarrassed? Is that the real me?

Sometimes it will feel affirmative. It is something I have long had an inkling about – how wonderful to finally give it some inky shape!

Occasionally real magic happens. I review my writing and notice a spelling mistake. But the word that I have seemingly formed in error is actually the exact word required. There is a Freudian realisation that the truth of my sub-conscious can and will emerge as I move my pen across the paper.

Our journal is the place where we can begin to recognise the power of our sub-conscious, and where we can dare to explore the effects of our ego mind on how far we are living our truth. And once its sitting there on the page we can choose what to do with it next.

What’s really going on for you?

Gift Wrap and Pencil

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January 22, 2019 · 2:45 pm

Words for a New Year

2019 is here – and since I was born in 1969 this means it’s a big year.

But a New Year is big for all of us. It’s a new beginning. A new opportunity. It’s time to embrace life and make it awesome.

Around social media I’ve seen a number of coaches and writers extolling the virtues of picking a word for the year that sums up our intention for the 12 months ahead. And this is the time – in these early days of January, before we have to stop wishing everyone Happy New Year – to set that intention, to choose our word.

What is the word that encapsulates your intention for the coming year?

It might be a word that evokes a feeling, or that provides focus, or inspiration. It might be the name of a place or a person that represents that which we are aspiring to. It might be a colour; or a quality. Are you intending to have a red hot year? Or are you looking for serenity?

Something I have rediscovered over the past 18 months is my delight in dance. I began attending 5 Rhythms classes in Spring 2017 and I started to understand something new about myself that I had barely glimpsed before: namely that when I move my body to music it never fails to calm me, make me smile, feel joyful – and connected to the real me.

Strangely, when my son was very young and attending nursery school his teacher asked him one day “What does your Mum do?”

I expect she was anticipating being told about my job, which at the time was IT Project Manager. But this is not what my son knew nor could explain. Rather, he described what could only be his own perception of what I actually did most of the time he was with me: “She dances,” he replied.

There is something wonderfully surprising, yet also delightfully obvious about his observation. I always have music playing, so I always am dancing. Simple as that.

So in the spirit of this energetic truth about who I am and what I do, at least in the eyes of my now 21 year old son who rolls his eyes whenever he finds me boogieing in the kitchen, my word for 2019, the year of my half century, is Dance – with all the rhythm, joy, passion, movement, and stillness that that activity evokes.

What word will you choose for 2019? What does it evoke for you? How does it relate to your true self?

Set your intention in your journal – and enjoy responding to it as the year unfolds.

dynamic dance



January 2, 2019 · 3:58 pm

Only Connect this Christmas

My favourite quote from E.M.Forster, rather than the extremely challenging UK quiz show, is “Only Connect”.

It deserves some reflection in and of itself – but I’ll leave that for you to indulge.

In this blog I would like to invite you to connect with a growing community of reflective journal writers.

Gift Wrap and Pencil

These are people who are determined to think independently, know their own purpose, and wish to deepen their appreciation of the power of intuition and physical intelligence.

They are typically people who are private, reserved individuals, but whose heart is open and wide and generous – who wish to learn and grow, and who are a deep resource of insights and wisdom.

Journaling is a powerful way to take personal responsibility for our lives and for what we want to generate and contribute in our world. It works for people in every setting and at every level, personal and professional.

So jump on board.

Sign up to receive my download of some astounding health and well-being benefits from journaling. You will then receive regular emails with prompts, inspirations and journaling insights – and be part of the growing Reflective Way community.

Give yourself the gift of connection this festive season!



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December 17, 2018 · 2:25 pm