A year or so ago someone gave me the gift of The Sunday Night Journal.
I had always loved keeping diaries as a kid, but writing professionally left me little time or incentive for journaling. I’m one of those people who love beginning-of-the-year planners and diaries, start filling them in with the best of intentions, then after a few weeks find it too much trouble and stop.
But The Sunday Night Journal is different. For one thing you don’t have to do it every day — just on Sunday night. And it’s a beautiful recap of your week: what went well, what didn’t, what you’re grateful for, and what you’re looking forward to. After four weeks there’s a monthly review where you rate how you did, and set priorities for the following month.
After years of counseling and getting to the other side of pain and grief, I thought to myself: what if I can do this for others?
For Volume 4, author Aurora M. Suarez has made TSNJ even more engaging by providing two rolls of Washi tape. One is printed with questions that prompt you to think before you write, like “What is my intention for the year?” “What do I want the year to be like?” and “Why is this my intention?” The other is purely for fun — to decorate your journal as you see fit.
Suarez is a certified Courageous Living life and career coach, speaker and writer who got her training via a holistic, 10-month coaching program based in the United States, and earned her Courageous Living Coaching Certification.
She founded Your Heartcrafted Life, an online and social media platform for her life-coaching services, journals and retreats.
“My sweet spot is working with women achievers, leaders and creatives,” she says. “I bring the expertise of an 18-year career in the corporate world (in marketing and publishing) as a leader and innovator, together with the training I received, to bring clarity, intuition and compassion to my coaching conversations so I can guide them to take courageous actions.”
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We “spoke” to Suarez about the need for life coaching during the pandemic, The Sunday Night Journal and how it helps you craft a life you love.
THE PHILIPPINE STAR: What made you want to become a life coach?
AURORA M. SUAREZ: I went through an incredibly challenging period in my personal life about 10 years ago, and I was helped through it by a very kind, wise and generous counselor. After years of counseling and getting to the other side of pain and grief, I thought to myself: what if I can do this for others?
But I knew that working on relationships and healing would be triggering for me. While randomly browsing the internet, I came upon the idea of a coach: as someone who can help you achieve your goals, become better than you were, live your dreams and do work that matters.
That’s when it clicked for me and I said, “This is what I want to do next.”
What inspired you to create The Sunday Night Journal?
When I was working in the corporate world, I dreaded Sunday nights. The few hours left to the weekend meant another Monday morning was looming.
As a coach, I learned that you can choose to empower yourselfand shift your mindset about situations and not allow Mondays (and your moods) to dictate how you want to feel or live your life.
I thought: what if there was a tool to do just that? That’s when I came up with the Sunday Night Journal. My intention with the journal is to help youshift your energy around Sunday nights (and Monday mornings) by starting the week with mindfulness, intention, gratitude and purpose.
It starts with journaling through prompts — to allow you to slow down and reconnect with yourself and allow the blank page to be a repository for your thoughts and feelings.
Together with the practice of journaling, I also added a weekly review and planning section. The weekly review came from a Silicon Valley tool called Retrospectives where you acknowledge your wins and learn from the things that didn’t go as planned. There’s also a section for gratitude, for writing an affirmation or quote and a place where you can highlight meaningful priorities.
There are also monthly, midyear and annual check-ins so you can reset and restart throughout the year. The journal is undated so you can start anytime.
I’ve been using it for five years and it has transformed my Sunday nights.
Are there any differences between Vols. 1, 2, 3 and 4?
Volumes three and four are my favorite. Instead of journaling prompts on a page, they are now printed on Washi tape that you stick to the top of the journaling section. (It’s a wonderful surprise every week!) I also included another roll of Washi tape so you can decorate your pages, if you are so inclined.
I also added the following:
Every year, 90 percent of the prompts change because there are so many interesting questions to ask yourself so you can get to know and love yourself better. I keep some questions because some things deserve to be asked over and over again.
Only Volume 4 is currently available, as the previous volumes have completely sold out.
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What feedback have you gotten from clients who use it?
Here’s my favorite feedback:
From Temi E:“It is my favorite part of the week even when some nights I feel so tired with other adulting things I need to do on my weekend... I’m so glad I have tried it in my life. I was able to get to know myself better, download my thoughts and keep developing myself by being more aware and intentional.”
From Maia D:“The Journal has been indispensable in helping me sort out some of the issues I’ve faced this year, and keeping megratefulfor things I would have overlooked if I hadn’t listed them every Sunday night.”
From Hanna T:“I just want to say I am so thankful for your journal because I feel I started to open again towards myself and it made me be more creative in terms of designing the page.”
From Angela A:“The Sunday Night Journal really helped me stay consistent with journaling and has been such a calming, grounding practice.”
Have you had any success stories you’re particularly proud of?
So many. Where do I start? Since I keep the identity and content of my coaching conversations confidential, I will just give an overview of my favorite success stories. Clients have:
Do you find that with the pandemic, your life coaching is in higher demand?
It’s been a difficult two years and this has led to people looking for help during these challenging times. I’m grateful for the opportunity to hold space for my clients and their fears and anxieties during the pandemic.
Can you give 5 tips for crafting a life you love?