15 Journaling Tips to Promote Self-Awareness and Development

If you are trying to work on your personal development, you might want to take up journaling. Known to be an effective tool for self-growth and happiness, journaling is used worldwide as a healthy daily practice.

There are a lot of different types of journaling you can use to boost personal growth. Whichever one you opt for, if you practice daily you are going to experience a lot of awesome benefits.

In this post, you will discover how journaling as a daily practice helps with personal growth. You will discover its many benefits, alongside tips to help you journal more effectively. Read on to discover why daily journaling can be key to personal growth.  

Journaling is known to have a ton of awesome benefits. There have been multiple studies conducted to see how the practice helps with personal growth. They revealed that when practised daily, journaling can have an extraordinarily positive impact on our well-being. Let’s look at some ways daily journaling can benefit personal growth.

Reach More Goals

You can use your journal to set and reach your goals. To better yourself, you need to know exactly what it is that you need to change. Journaling lets you not only identify what it is that needs to change but also set goals to make that change happen.

When setting goals, make sure they are small and achievable. For example, if you want to become more confident, your first goal might be to smile at a stranger or practice positive affirmations. 

Try and break down your goals as much as possible. As you reach the smaller goals, it motivates you to carry on until you eventually reach the end goal. 

Become More Productive

Did you know that regular journaling can also make you more productive? A study carried out by the Harvard Business School, revealed those who journal before bed experience a 25% increase in productivity than those who don’t journal. 

When you journal, it lets you clearly see what you need to do or change in your life. It keeps your goals fresh in your mind and ramps up your motivation. You can also improve its effectiveness at boosting productivity by using it to write To-Do lists. As you tick off the things on your list, it motivates you to tick off the other tasks. If you want to be more productive, journaling might be the tool you need. 

Easily See Progress

Journaling makes it easy to see your progress. Whatever it is that you are looking to change, when you keep a journal, you can track your progress. You will be able to clearly see when you started, and how your life changes as you continue to journal. 

Tracking your progress helps to keep you motivated. Whether you are trying to lose weight, become more confident, or learn something new, keeping a journal can help you to stay on track.

Brain Dump all of your Thoughts

Sometimes, all you need is to get the negative thoughts out of your head. Writing down your thoughts in a journal helps to get them out of the mind. When you have them written down, it also helps you to better analyze them. Often our negative thoughts sound much worse in our heads than they do when they are written down.

You will find it hard to better yourself and become more productive if your head is full of racing or negative thoughts. 

Work Through Problems 

We all go through problems at some time in our lives. However, journaling is a great tool that can help you work through them. 

When you write down your problems, you have an opportunity to see them clearly. You can then analyze all the things that you could do to overcome the problem. If a friend came to you with the same issues, what would you tell them? Looking at it from a different perspective can help you to identify solutions you may not have otherwise thought of.

A journal can help you to work through your problems in a healthy way. Addressing and figuring out solutions to your problems will greatly boost your personal growth.

Expand Self-Awareness

If you want to become a better version of yourself, you are going to need to be self-aware. With self-awareness, it allows us to better understand our thoughts and actions. 

Keeping a journal can help us to develop a much stronger sense of self-awareness. You will have a written record of your thoughts and feelings, allowing you to analyze patterns of behaviour. 

Becoming more self-aware, it enables you to change your habits. This is key to self-growth.

Improve Focus

As you write in your journal daily, it will start to improve your focus. You will get a clear idea of the things you need to do to better yourself. Having your goals right there in front of you helps you to constantly focus on what it is that needs to be done. 

You will be more focused in all areas of your life when you journal daily. Give it a go and see just how much more focused and determined you will be to change your life. 

Reduce Stress and Anxiety

Finally, another benefit of writing daily in a journal, is that it can help to reduce stress and anxiety. When you have too much stress in your life, it is going to cause issues with sleep, your relationships, and your mental health. It can also have many health implications too.

Writing down your negative thoughts and feelings helps to take away their power. You will feel a lot more relaxed and in turn your anxiety levels will drop. So, if you experience a lot of stress and anxiety in your life, journaling could have a dramatic positive impact.

These are only a small selection of the benefits that journaling as a daily practice can deliver. It is such a simple practice, yet many people are still unaware of its excellent benefits. 

Now that you have a good idea of the benefits you can expect to experience, the question is how do you get started? There are many tips you can utilize to make journaling more effective. Let’s move on to some of the best tips for journaling better.

Want to up your journaling game? There are no strict rules when it comes to keeping a daily journal. However, there are some ways you can use it more effectively. 

If you want to use journaling to help with personal growth, below you’ll discover some of the best tips you can follow.

Make sure you have realistic expectations.

It’s easy to go into journaling with unrealistic expectations. For example, you might think that as soon as you start, you will feel instantly happier and more productive. You may also think that it is going to be easy.

The truth is that journaling isn’t always going to be easy to stick to. It also sometimes involves confronting tough emotions. Personal growth isn’t easy. It is uncomfortable, scary, and often challenging. 

If you go into journaling with unrealistic expectations, you are going to be in for quite a shock! So, keep your expectations realistic and remember, it takes time to build up any new habit.

Write at the same time each day.

Whatever time you choose to write in your journal, try and stick to that time every day. When you do something at the same time, day in and day out, it is going to stick in the memory. It won’t be long before you are automatically reaching for your journal.

Of course, you might not be able to stick to the exact same time every day. However, the odd deviation from your schedule won’t hurt. If you stick to writing at around the same time every day, you’ll find it much easier to build journaling up as a habit.

Create a journaling ritual.

Another way to make journaling better is to create a ritual that you look forward to. This is basically a little routine you use when journaling.

You should aim to journal in a comfortable and quiet space. Then, you can focus on things that enhance your journaling experience. For example, you might find you journal better with a mug of coffee or hot cocoa. Some people find they also journal better with a relaxing playlist in the background. For others, having a blanket they can curl up under can help them to journal better.

Experiment by adding different things to your journaling ritual to see what best works for you.

Don’t worry about what you are writing.

When you are faced with a blank page, it can be daunting knowing what to write. A lot of people get stuck knowing where to start, leading them to simply give up. 

It isn’t important what you write in the beginning. You just need to write something to get you started. There are no right and wrong things to write about in a journal. It is personal to you and can be used however you like to improve yourself.

Nobody is going to read it, so you don’t need to worry about anything you put down on paper. You can also start out small, writing for just 5-10 minutes at a time. This will get you into the habit of writing and you will start to find it easier as time goes by.

Pick a journal that attracts you.

This one may sound obvious, but it’s a great tip people often forget to consider. You need to make sure you LOVE the journal you choose to write in. The more you like it, the more you will want to write in it every day. You will look forward to writing in your journal, rather than see it as a chore.

So, when choosing your journal, pay attention to its design. Does it have any features you love? Compare several different journals before deciding which one is right for you. 

Set daily reminders.

In the beginning, you may struggle to remember to write in your journal. As you haven’t yet built up the habit, your mind can easily forget to add journaling to your daily routine. 

Setting reminders can help to ensure you not only remember to write in your journal, but that you do it at the same time each day. You will eventually start to notice that you rely less and less upon your reminders as time goes on. 

Consider using writing prompts.

Another great tip for better journaling is to utilize writing prompts. You will find a lot of writing prompts online that can help you to get started. It is often starting to write that people have trouble with when they keep a daily journal. Writing prompts give you inspiration on the type of things you can write down in your journal. 

These are just some of the tips you can follow for better journaling. However, remember there are no set rules. Journaling is a process, and you will find what works for you along the way. 

Now you know the benefits of journaling and the tips you can follow to make it more effective, what exactly should you be writing about?

By far the most difficult thing when you begin journaling, is knowing what to write about. Even if you have an idea of what you want to achieve through daily journaling, you may still find it difficult to get started.

Below, we’ll look at 15 things you can journal about for personal growth when you get stuck… 

1. The things that make you happy

Nothing will boost your mood like thinking of the things that make you happy. It’s all too easy to focus on the negative things in life. However, with personal growth you need to start focusing on the positive. 

Write about the things that make you happy. It could be absolutely anything, big or small. The more things that you can think of, the happier you will feel. Don’t just write a list either. Write about why each thing makes you happy. You could then end it by writing how you could include more of the things that make you happy in your life. 

2. Your weekly or monthly goals

You can use your journal to help you to achieve things in life. Setting weekly or monthly goals will help to keep you focused on the things you want. Remember to stay realistic when setting goals that you want to achieve. They should be small, actionable, and measurable. 

When the week or month has passed, you can then go over your goals to see how well you did. Were all your goals met and if not, what could you have done differently? You can use the lessons you learn here to help you to set better goals moving forward. 

3. Inspirational quotes or affirmations

If you want to keep it simple, you can write down your favorite inspirational quotes and affirmations. This gives you something positive to focus on, as well as to look back on when times get tough. 

When you focus on positive quotes and affirmations, it helps to build up a more positive mindset. You will find literally thousands of positive quotes and affirmations you can use online. 

4. Your biggest issue right now

One of the benefits of journaling is that you can use it to overcome any issues you might be facing. So, start by writing down what your biggest issue is right now. What exactly is the problem and what have you done so far to resolve it? 

Assess what is holding you back from solving the issue, and what steps you could potentially take to overcome it. Once you have your problem written down, you’ll be surprised how much easier it is to identify potential solutions. 

5. Steps you can take when you feel down

Throughout life, there will be times when you get down. While the odd down day is totally normal, that doesn’t mean you have to just sit back and wait to feel better tomorrow!

Use your journal to write down the steps you can take when you start to feel down. What instantly puts a smile onto your face and makes you feel good? It can take trial and error to see what works. So, don’t forget to add to your list later as you discover more things that work well. 

6. Personal growth books you want to read

Another great idea of what to write about is personal growth books you want to read. Research the different books available and list the ones you really want to read. This will give you something to work towards in your personal growth journey.

You can also make a list of the personal growth books you have already read. Write about what you liked about each of them and what they taught you. 

7. A letter to your past or future self

Writing a letter to your past or future self can also aid in personal growth. If you are writing to your past self, think about the things you needed to hear back then. Most of us have a childhood trauma we need to heal. By writing to your past self, it can help you to overcome the things you have been holding onto.

When writing to your future self, think about what you hope to be doing. What does your life look like in the future and how are you feeling? Try and be specific as possible when you are envisioning your future life. This will give you an idea of what you are aiming for. 

8. A To-Do list for the day

You can use your journal to keep track of the important tasks you want to complete throughout the day. What 3 things are on your to-do list today and are they realistic? You should start with one important task, then a couple of others you’d like to get done. That way, even if you just manage to tick off one task, it will be the most important one that needed to get done. 

9. The toughest thing you have overcome 

What was the toughest thing you have overcome in your life? Far too often we focus on the things we haven’t achieved. You may also find that your inner critic loves to make you feel weak and powerless. By focusing on something that you have overcome, it reminds you of how strong you are.

You can remind yourself of the lessons you learned from the experience. It also reminds you that you overcame something you didn’t think that you would. This will give you motivation and strength to face any current issues you may be having. 

10. The TV shows and podcasts that bring you joy 

When you need motivation and encouragement, TV shows and podcasts can help. Think about the television programs that bring you joy. It could your favorite series, or a talk show that gets you thinking. 

Podcasts are particularly popular, and you’ll find a ton that focus on personal growth. Browse a variety of podcasts to see which ones best resonate with you. Then, make a list of all your favorite shows and podcasts that you can turn to when you are having a bad day. 

11. Write down your personal commandments

If you want to stick to the new habits you set for yourself, you might want to start seeing them as your personal commandments. 

When you set habits as personal commandments, it places additional importance onto them. You will be less likely to break them if you see them as commandments, rather than simple habits. 

A couple of examples of personal commandments you could set yourself include “I wake up early” and “I never skip breakfast.” 

12. What hobbies could you try?

Personal growth often means trying out new things. Are there any hobbies you have been meaning to try out? Or maybe you don’t know what type of hobby you want to take up? In this case, you should do a little research and then write down the hobbies you like the sound of.

Trying out a new hobby can help you to find more things that you are passionate about. Once you have your list, aim to try at least one of the hobbies written down. 

13. Write down your feelgood playlist

Music has the power to instantly change your mood. During darker times, you can throw on a feel-good playlist to help make you feel happier. Think about the songs that really make you feel good. Which songs can’t you resist singing or dancing to?

Once you have a playlist, you can put it together to help you whenever you are struggling. The great thing about this idea is that you can add to it over time, discovering great new music. 

14. The habits you can build up to change your life

Think about what it is you need to change in your life. Then, identify and write down the habits that you need to adopt to help you make the change. 

This will show you which habits are most important to focus on right now. It is important to only focus on developing one or two habits at a time. If you try and change too many things at once, you will fail. So, focus on building up the habits that will make the most significant difference first. 

15. Write about your strengths and weaknesses 

You can learn a lot about yourself by listing your strengths and weaknesses. What you will tend to find is that writing down your weaknesses is easier than writing about your strengths. This is because we tend to judge ourselves harshly. If you are having trouble identifying your strengths, ask a friend or relative. They can give you an unbiased opinion of what strengths they feel you possess.

Journaling as a daily practice is a great way to build upon personal growth. It allows you to set goals, work through your problems and develop a more positive mindset. You can also use it to build up habits which can in turn help to benefit your life. 

If you haven’t started journaling as a daily practice, now is the time to change that. Invest in a good journal and determine which time of day would be better to write. While missing the odd day is understandable, you need to try to do it as frequently as possible. The more time you spend journaling, the more benefits you are going to experience. 

Hi Beautiful! I’m Jilanne, the founder of Soulful Planner, and I believe you are the expert of your own life. Deep down, you know what your hopes and dreams are, you just need a little bit of help to create an achievable action plan to make it happen.

Visit my digital and planner shop here.

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