In today’s day and age, so many people are looking for ways to be a more positive person. Because of this, many types of journaling, including self-authoring, have become more popular. Despite its popularity, people still may have their doubts about the validity of these types of journaling.
Knowing whether self-authoring can work depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. Self-authoring is a super effective tool if you are trying to become happier, less stressed and anxious, and live an all-around healthier life. If these are the results you’re after, then self-authoring is a great tool to accomplish your goals.
If the benefits of self-authoring sound appealing to you, then keep reading to learn the science behind self-authoring and some of the easy tips and tricks you can use to get started.
What Is Self Authoring?
Self-authoring is an online program focused on writing about your past, present, and future in order to have a happier and more productive life. It is broken down into several guided prompts that focus on different aspects of your life in order to inspire intentional writing.
The first stage is writing about the past. In this step, you divide your life into sections and then write about important events that took place within those sections of your life. This portion is somewhat like a rough autobiography that only focuses on the major events that happened in each time period.
The second and third parts of this program focus heavily on your present self. In these steps, you will take a personality quiz, write about your values and your faults, and other things pertaining to who you are in the present.
After this, you are encouraged to write a narrative outlining the next few years of your life and what you want them to look like or what you want to accomplish. This narrative should be an absolute best-case scenario. You should write about what your future may look like if it were filled entirely with the positive attributes you possess.
After the best-case scenario is laid out, you take time to look at what the future may look like if your bad habits and impulses take over. These are oftentimes written as hypothetical “what-if” statements, and they can be quite alarming. These statements are a reminder of all you have to lose.
From what you have written in all the steps previous to this, the next step is to develop seven life goals to base your life around. These goals will help empower you and wrap up your self-authoring journey.
Science Behind Self Authoring
Self-authoring is a system that has been tested numerous times to see how great the benefits truly are. In one study conducted by The Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario, a group of first-year students at the Mohawk University was selected at random to take part. Of this group, half practiced self-authoring, and the other half did not.
These students then completed their studies over the course of the first year. Afterwards, academic performance was compared between the two groups. This study concluded that the group that practiced self-authoring had a GPA that was an entire point higher than the group that did not participate in self-authoring.
This shows that there can be significant benefits to self-authoring, but let’s look at another example. In a study done by Palgrave Communications, researchers found that minority students who practiced self-authoring were able to close the educational gap between themselves and majority students.
These are just a few examples of the empirical ways self-authoring has been shown to work. On a smaller scale, self-authoring has been used by over 10,000 people, most of which claim to feel less anxiety about the future while also feeling a sense of purpose and direction.
Why It Works and Who It Helps
But how do you know whether self-authoring is a program that will help you with your specific needs and problems?
To help you answer this question, here are just a few of the amazing benefits you can reap when participating in this program:
- Setting goals can help people be better able to cope with trauma. Researchers have found that when someone goes through a traumatic event, people who have goals and a vision for their life are less likely to fall into a depression. If you are someone who’s dealing with trauma, this may be a beneficial route for you to take.
- Making progress toward stated goals can trigger dopamine. Dopamine is one of the neurotransmitters that increases our happiness when released. When goals are vague or abstract, it is much more difficult for people to feel they are making satisfactory progress toward attaining them. If you want to feel more accomplished when working toward your goals, this may be the program for you.
- Internal goals are linked to positive emotions much more than external goals. Goals you set for yourself through self-authoring are much more likely to spark the joy you are looking for in your life. External goals, or goals set for yourself by other people, are linked to negative emotion due to these goals being related to pressure, competition, or guilt. If you feel trapped into a set of goals that is not your own, this is an excellent program that can be used to break that cycle.
- Difficult and specific goals lead to much more attainable goals than simple goals. Oftentimes when you make goals, you short sell yourself. Sometimes, we make big picture goals with no discernable steps on how to get there. For example, an unspecified goal may be “do your best.” However, there is no tangible way of measuring what “our best” is defined as. If you feel that your goals are just out of reach or you don’t know how to take steps to achieve your goals, then this program may help you.
- Goal setting is a great way to increase one’s understanding of strategy. Having specific goals makes you more apt to want to achieve them. Therefore, people with specific and difficult goals are better at strategizing and problem-solving in order to try and accomplish their goals. If you are someone who strives to be better strategically and develop better problem-solving skills, this may be an excellent option for you.
These are just a few of the many ways that self-authoring can help you. If you have more questions on whether or not self-authoring is a good option for you, check out the website that has been co-founded by Jordan B. Peterson, Ph.d. There you can read about more benefits and studies that validate self-authoring. You can also check out their F.A.Q. page and see if they answer any questions you may have as well.
Self-authoring is an excellent way to become more in touch with who you were, who you are, and who you will be. This is a great program for anyone looking to set goals, heal from the past, or prepare for the future.
Self-authoring works in a number of ways. This is not a “one-size fits all” kind of program. Self-authoring can address many needs, help many people, and touch many lives. All you have to do is give it a chance and discover what an incredibly positive and productive life can come of participating in this program.
- Oprah.com: Can a Writing Assignment Make You Happier, Healthier, and Less Stressed?
- Deep Dish: Self Authoring Review: Sorting Myself Out With Dr Jordan Peterson
- Self Authoring – What is Self Authoring?
- Palgrave Communications: A scalable goal-setting intervention closes both the gender and ethnic minority achievement gap
- HEQCO: Using Future Authoring to Improve Student Outcomes