Journal Entry 

 Thursday, July 13, 2023: Daily Journals 

Michael Santos

Michael Santos

Daily journals helped me to open higher levels of liberty. It’s the reason that we’ve made journals an essential component of our new platform at PrisonProfessorsTalent.com. 

In today’s entry, I’ll show how journals helped me prepare for success while I went through 9,500 days in prison and how they are integral to my ongoing preparations for success. 

More importantly, I’ll show any justice-impacted person how to develop a journaling plan as a resource for self-advocacy.

Federal judges sentence people to the custody of the attorney general. They consider the information put before them by prosecutors, defense attorneys, and probation officers. They do not have any way of knowing what the person will do in the months, years, or decades ahead.

Many leaders advise that people should always think about the best possible outcome. If people know what they want, they can engineer a pathway more likely to succeed. 

People in prison want opportunities to advance release dates and have a higher level of liberty as soon as possible. 

If an opportunity opens for resentencing, the person should have resources that will help people with discretion understand the work that went into preparing for success. A daily journal can document the record. 

At the start of every year, I wrote specific goals I wanted to achieve. Those goals aligned with how I defined success. For example:

  1. I wrote how many books I intended to read during the year,
  2. I wrote how many miles I would run during the year,
  3. I wrote how many courses I would complete during the year,
  4. I wrote the number of books I pledged to read during the year.
  5. I documented the reason behind all those decisions.

Daily journals memorialized how I used time in prison to prepare for success upon release. Those records opened new opportunities that led to income opportunities, early termination of Supervised Release, and liberty to launch advocacy efforts.

In August of 2023, I will conclude my first ten years of liberty. By documenting my path, I open more opportunities. As human beings, we all face challenges and crises. Resilience requires us to:

  • Launch plans to overcome,
  • Prioritize the steps we must take,
  • Build our tools, tactics, and resources,
  • Measure our progress with daily accountability, making adjustments as necessary,
  • Execute our plan every day.

Daily journals help us stay on track with the plans we set. For that reason, I continue to journal about the methodical steps I’m taking to work toward my goals. All those goals relate to success, as I define success.

If you’re working through our course, Preparing for Success after Prison, try to memorialize your journey. Writing a journal entry regularly helped me through prison, and the strategy continues to help me open opportunities. 

Consider writing a journal each day. Make the journal transparent, and you will take a huge step toward building a support network that wants to invest in you. If an opportunity opens for you to appear before a judge, or to influence people with discretion to ease your life, the daily journal will become an invaluable asset. It will show how hard you worked to prepare for success upon release, and that is a self-advocacy technique that will serve you well.

Consider the following question: 

In what ways would a daily journal from yesterday show your preparation for higher levels of success?

Our community at PrisonProfessorsTalent.com opens opportunities to memorialize your preparations. If you’d like to participate, If you’d like to begin building your profile, email [email protected].

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