Daily journaling for self-growth practice has many benefits for your mental well-being. When done correctly it can improve your resilience, develop self-awareness, reduce stress, improve productivity and give motivation when you need it the most.
It is said that to change your reality you must start with your thoughts. And that is exactly what a personal growth journal will help you to do.
Soon you will find out exactly how you can journal for self-growth so that you can start transforming your life.
5-step guide to journaling for self-growth
For a self-improvement journal to have an effect on your life you first need to know what you want. So start by defining what self-growth is to you. Is it living a healthy life where your main focus is eating healthy and exercising daily, or a life filled with adventures and travels to every corner of the world, or maybe you want to grow spiritually and find your meaning in life? Whatever it may be, one or few things, make your decision and journal about it for at least one month. That is the minimum amount of time you’ll need to see the first results.
STEP 1: THE FIRST PAGE
On the first page of your self-growth journal, you should write all your self-improvement goals. In which areas of yourself and your life do you want to improve? After that write your why. What is the most meaningful reason why you want to improve that part of yourself/your life? Lastly, write which actions you are planning to take.
Say you want to stop procrastinating. The why for it may be so that you finally start working on your big life goals instead of just wishing one day they would come true. The actions you’ll take may be to every day do the smallest/easiest possible task that is closely related to your big life goal. As you build a habit to work on your big goal, the tasks will expand and become more challenging.
STEP 2: AFFIRM YOUR GOALS
Start journaling for self-growth by writing your goals in a form of affirmations. Instead of writing I want or I wish types of sentences, you should write your goals as if they are already true or you’re currently working on making them true.
Affirmations have a strong effect on your brain, particularly the amygdala, the part of the brain in charge of your automatic responses.
Because the majority of brain activity happens in the background, far away from our awareness. By repeating positive sentences that are rooted in the present you are directing your brain to start working on a new task right now.
Rewrite your goals daily and every time add more details or maybe focus on a different aspect of the same goal. On the other hand, if repetition brings you a sense of harmony and peace then you can choose a few goal statements that you will rewrite every day.
Again let’s say you want to stop procrastinating. Then you could write When I have a task to complete I can’t rest until I finish it.
This simple sentence is changing the way your brain deals with responsibilities. It sends a clear message that there will be no rest until the task is finished.
STEP 3: ACKNOWLEDGE THE OBSTACLES
Preparation is half the battle. This part of your self-growth journal is where you roll up your sleeves and do the hard work. Take a moment to consider everything that may stand in your way to becoming your better self. It may be uncomfortable or even painful to think about it but once you move past those feelings you will feel a great sense of relief and have a clearer vision.
There are two types of obstacles you may face on your self-growth journey. Those are inner obstacles and outer obstacles.
Inner obstacles are your fears, limiting beliefs, and lack of knowledge or skill. For the most part, those are the only obstacles that are truly standing in the way of success. At the same time, they are also all fairly easy to overcome once you acknowledge them and actively start working on overcoming them.
Now, the outer obstacles are usually lack of time, money, resources, unfortunate location, or anything else that is out of your immediate influence. These are a little bit harder to overcome, but certainly not impossible just require some creative problem-solving.
Be completely honest with yourself and acknowledge all obstacles that you might face while working on self-improvement.
Once you know your obstacles you need to make a plan to overcome them. If it’s a psychological obstacle, then affirmations and positive self-talk might be helpful to get you started. If it’s a lack of knowledge or skill, then make a plan to acquire the knowledge or learn the skill you need.
Whatever your obstacle is come up with at least one way, preferably a few different tactics you can employ to overcome that obstacle. This will be your cheat sheet for success.
Depending on the type of goal you have and how frequently you’ll encounter new obstacles, you will write about them daily, weekly, or maybe only once at the beginning of the journal.
Let’s go back to our procrastination example. Your self-improvement goal is to become motivated and eager to complete all your tasks on time. Now the obvious answer would be, well procrastination is my obstacle. While technically that is the truth, in reality, that is just the surface of it. The real obstacle is hiding underneath the surface and it may be something like poor time management and a feeling of incompetence. One way you can deal with that is by planning out your day giving each task a time frame to complete and writing some encouraging and motivating sentences to boost your self-esteem.
STEP 4: TRACK YOUR PROGRESS
How do you know if you’re making a progress? By measuring it of course. That’s why tracking your progress is an important part of journaling for self-growth.
Once a day, morning or evening, sit down with your journal and write about the previous day. What did you do today regarding your self-improvement, what didn’t you do? Did the action you took, bring you closer to your goal? What worked, and what didn’t work? Were you motivated to complete everything you planned to do, or you had to push yourself? Were there any difficulties or setbacks and if there were, what was your response, what did you do about it? What could you have done better? What did you learn today that could help you tomorrow?
Then from time to time, you can evaluate your progress. How much did you improve in the last week, or from the first day you started? Where were you then versus where you are now?
STEP 5: SET YOUR INTENTIONS
Having clear intentions for the following day is what will give your whole day focus. Journaling for self-growth is about focusing on what you can do every day.
So for every one of your goals, set at least one intention for the day. Choose one thing you have to do that day so that you keep building a habit.
The secret to making your personal-development journal work is consistency and repetition. Even if you did nothing all day journal about it anyway, because that’s where the real growth happens. The actions you’ll take afterward will be the consequences of your persistent journaling practice.