• Kara DeMaio

How To Use Journaling and Writing for Personal Growth

Updated: Dec 28, 2020


Did you know that journaling is a powerful tool that few people take full advantage of? It can seem like a silly waste of time to some, but as someone who loves to write my thoughts down each day because it makes it easier to navigate my feelings, I'm a huge supporter of writing in a journal or using a planner. It may feel like you don't have time to fit this in your day, and for some, it becomes just another thing to add to a never-ending to-do list, however, journaling provides a ton of benefits and a surprising number of highly successful people make journaling a daily habit.


You can learn a lot about yourself and gain a lot of insight into your life. There’s something magical about writing that thinking alone just doesn’t possess. I have notebooks all over the place because writing has become such a powerful tool in my life. My notebooks and planners contain jumbled notes and thoughts, goals I want to achieve, words that inspire me, feelings I'm trying to make sense of, and scribbled pictures I want to remember for one reason or another. It doesn't have to be anything formal, and it doesn't have to take a ton of time. It's something for you and you alone.


Here are a few tips to start journaling to help gain insight into your mind and life:

  1. Review your day. Take a look at your day and make some notes. What happened? How can you use this in the future? What did you learn? What mistakes did you make? How can tomorrow be better than today?

  2. List progress toward your goals. Think about your goals and list the progress you made toward each. If you failed to do anything to make progress toward one or more of your goals, note that, too. Be proud of the progress you’ve made. Become more determined by the progress you failed to make.

  3. Address your fears. Write about your fears. What are you afraid of? Why do you think you’re afraid of those things? How do your fears impact your life? What is your plan to address those fears?

  4. Choose one way to enhance yourself. Pick something you want to work on and work on it. Write about it in your journal. Perhaps you want to strengthen your communication skills, or talk kinder to yourself, or add mediation to your day. It could be absolutely anything that helps you feel better and happy.

  5. List your goals each day. Writing down your goals each day is a powerful way to stay focused on them. Did you know that writing down goals and progress toward those goals make you 80% more likely of achieving them?

  6. List five things that make you feel grateful. What are you grateful for? Make a list of several items each day and notice how your perspective on life changes.

  7. Write about the obstacles in your life. What’s standing in your way? List the obstacles in your life that you believe are blocking you from happiness or achieving your goals.

  8. Make a plan for the future. Aside from your specific goals, what does your dream life look like? How are you planning on getting there? Think about it and sketch out a plan.

  9. Write about what is causing you to feel negative emotions. What is getting you down? What are the situations, people, habits, and beliefs that are causing you the most grief? Why do these things bother you? What can you do about it?

  10. List the best thing and the worst thing that happened today. What are these two things and what was so great or terrible about them?

  11. Use journaling prompts. There are literally thousands of journaling prompts online you can choose to use at any time. Here are a few examples to get you started: Make a travel bucket list. List five things you appreciate about each member of your family. Describe your ideal day. If I could speak to my teenage self, I would say… I wish that others knew I… I wish I could say no to...

Journaling or utilizing a life planner each day can take some time, but it’s time you're investing in yourself. And if every single day feels overwhelming or like something you aren't able to manage, try setting aside time once a week to do it instead. Develop a routine that incorporates journaling into your life, even if it isn't every single day, and you will see and feel the benefits long-term.

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