Select Page


Since I was young I kept a journal, maybe since I was 15 or 16. I grew up playing tennis competitively and went to undergrad on a full ride for tennis, so goal writing has always been a part of my life. I still to this day have a regular life journal where I write my life goals and I keep my journal with me wherever I go. It allows me to get my thoughts down on paper and out of my head, whether it is good or bad. I also keep a journal for my kayaking. It contains my goals, progress, competition results, and everything in between: what went wrong, what went great, how to improve, how to fail, how to succeed, and emotions whether its frustration or happiness. It also contains goals of new rivers, learning to creek boat, new tricks off waterfalls… harder to reach goals. Side note: I also write down features on that day and the characteristics about it to remember in the future when visit again just flip to that page.

Some of my 2023 goals
More goals

I think goals are really important and a huge part of progress so you are not just aimlessly going around training sessions and wondering why your kayaking is not improving. Journaling for me allows me to focus in by having the overall goal but then having that broken down for each training session on and off the water.

For goals: At the start of the year write down your goals so they are in the back of your head. You can also add goals or modify goals, it doesn’t have to be set in stone. I add things all the time. Then write a plan and break down what you need to do to achieve those goals. For example, my goal for 2023 GoPro Mountain Games was to podium. At the beginning of the year I laid out how I was going to achieve this and then made an updated plan to be ready based on what kind of shape I was at physically to know what to dial in: I am going to kayak 5 times/week, dependent on water levels to get to Z Dam/other hold features or flat water, train at Crossfit 3 days a week, hill run cardio sprints 5 miles 3 days a week to be ready for the altitude, practice those hill runs in the order of doing 3 rides and active recovery to mimic the competition. Then I recorded my progress with these goals each day and as the time went on throughout the year. I wrote down what I did each day, how I felt emotionally and physically, and areas where I needed to improve. I also wrote down the days I didn’t want to train…I think everyone has those days where life gets in the way or you just don’t want to do it. I am hard on myself so I like to play make it take it on those days where I do one thing that is medium difficulty and I meet my expectations I stop for the day…. So I can say at least I tried. That is just me and how I am. Everyone is different. Another goal that I am working towards is the struggle with having fun and working hard finding the perfect mixture to get to that happy medium, and that can also relate to every day life goals.

I find journaling important because it allows you to be honest to yourself because no one else is reading it. It allows you to learn how to fail (which is ok, just be open minded to learn from it) and then work to improve to succeed. It allows you to write down your mistakes and so writing imprints into your memory. When you have a bad competition or something is bad write down everything that went wrong that day: boat outfitting didn’t feel right, tricks weren’t working, you were nervous, distracted, water levels, etc and close the journal. Then in the future you can flip back to that page and learn from it. An example I have is having certain expectations for performance in a competition and I didn’t make the cut. I went that night and wrote in my journal what went wrong and it allows me to be self critical and brutally honest so the next time I practice it is in my head to work on and then it translates to competition with it in my head to improve for next time.

You can also use the journal to just write down thoughts you are having in general and get them out of your head. When I have a bad day or get out of bed on the wrong side, things weren’t working, tricks and rides falling apart with the wheels falling off, I write it down so its out on paper then close the journal and forget about it. I think writing it down on paper allows myself to be a bit more clear headed going forward leaving the negative in the past.

You can also use the journal for positive things. Write down your successes that happen with details of how you succeeded: what steps did you do that worked whether its a warm up ritual, ride plans that worked, tricks that worked well, where you scored the most points, where you threw tricks in the feature, and how you did to make the cut.

Side note: I also write mantras and sentences over and over to drill them in my head with a lot of them technique based: What I need to do with my boat edges and tricks and others are positive things to boost my confidence to believe in myself that I have done the hard work now its time to show my skills. An example of a positive mantras is writing down good results: I will podium this event. That drilled in my head gives me confidence in my self to go out and perform the best that I can. Another example of these manifestations in my journal is when I was training for USA team trials wrote: Start earlier on the wave. I wrote that for pages over and over in my journal. Another one I wrote over and over was: start earlier on the wave. I feel for myself writing things down over and over drills it in to my head so when I am competing they are there in my thoughts and focus. Its def not for every one… just a little quirk of mine.


Any notebook works for a journal, but I have found that the journal Griffin and Crosby Colapinto (professional surfers that are brothers) guided journal is my favorite one to use. Great art work on the outside and it is hard cover. It has pages that have goals for the day, goals for the future, what you are grateful for. I also write down 3 things I am grateful for that haven’t happened yet as a way to manifest: grateful for winning GoPro mountain games or being the best kayaker in the world are examples. By writing it down and putting it out there into the possibilities in the future goals and life is fun. Then it has notes pages next to it to freely write down each day. I will put a link below for these journals because they are sick and have everything you need right there.

Cola journal page layout

Guided Journal

I suggest giving journaling a try. Writing improves my outlook on every part of my life. My focus right now is freestyle but you can do this with any discipline you want to. It does not have to be time consuming, start small like a goal and thought for the day, writing a little something each day. Then when you have time try writing your goals and recording your daily activities while being brutally honest with yourself because only you are reading this. Write feelings emotionally, physically, and where you need to improve and where you are doing things great, also having fun and being serious is a great goal. It has contributed to my success in kayaking and life and I have learned so much about myself and being able to flip back through the pages to see what I did right and wrong when that competition comes back around has been amazing. It is also fun to look back and see how much I have grown as a person as well as an athlete. I will share a passage below that I wrote when things were tough after my competition, hard to swallow with the amount of work put in but looking back later learning from writing it down back then:

EEW raw journal entry after not making the USA freestyle team this year

Catch you on the river!