I cannot even begin to explain how much journaling has improved my life. And I don’t mean writing in my diary every evening about what happened that day.
I’m talking about a journal where I hold myself accountable by writing down by goals and creating an action plan to achieve them.
This is serious self-improvement journaling and I encourage you to give it a try.
But first let’s look at all of the amazing people throughout history who have kept a journal.
Successful People Who Journal
- Benjamin Franklin
- Thomas Jefferson
- J.K. Rowling
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Benefits of Journaling
- Keep track of your goals and progress
- Increase your motivation
- Remember what you’ve learned from courses and books
- Hold yourself accountable
- Solve problems
Types of Journals
- Idea Journal: Have one place for all of your ideas. Create lists for different categories.
- Morning Pages: If you haven’t heard of Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages it’s the act of sitting down and writing out 3 full pages of your thoughts each morning. Don’t over think it. Just keep writing.
- Gratitude Journal: Keep a journal where you write down a few things that you’re grateful for each day.
- Finance Journal: Keep track of your spending with a journal that’s solely focuses on your finances. Write down your financial goals or how you’re going to get out of debt.
- Project Journal: Use this journal just for a specific project like ideas for designing your new home or writing a book.
Ideas for What To Write
- Book Notes: This is one of my favorite things to journal about. How many times have you read a book but if someone asked you to tell them about it a few weeks later you wouldn’t be able to remember too much from it? I like to highlight my books and when I’ve finished reading one, I’ll go back through my highlights and refine them as I write the most important points into my journal.
- Gratitude: Everyday I write down 3 things that I’m grateful for in my journal. It’s a really positive way to start the day.
- Problems phrased as questions: This is a really powerful exercise to try. Let’s say your problem is that you can’t afford to buy something. Write down in your journal: “How can I afford to buy this?”
- Affirmations: I like to write down my favorite 3-4 affirmations in my journal before I start working. It gets me motivated and keeps me focused. Affirmations can be about anything so make sure that you take the time to find or think of a few that resonate with you. I like: I believe in myself. I am successful. I am open to new ideas.
- Books to read: I keep a list in the front of my journal for all the books that I’d like to read. Anytime I hear a friend mention and interesting book, I write it down.
- Goals: I love writing down 1 month, 3 month, 6 month and 12 month goals in my journal. There’s something really definite about writing them down. They become more real.
- Planning: I then break down those goals into actionable steps. What can I do today that will get me on the right track to succeed with my goals?
- Daily Successes: At the end of each day, I take out my journal and write down 2-3 small wins. Did I write that article that I know will help grow my blog? Did I go over that course that I said I would do? I write down all the good things that were accomplished today. It’s easy to forget them and it’s important to highlight the progress you’re making.
- 90 Day Challenges: These challenges can be anything from fitness to finances to reading. They’re great for forming new habits. I’m always participating in a 90 day challenge whether it’s 90 days without alcohol or 90 days reading at least 30 pages a day or 90 days of going for a run every morning. I print out a calendar and glue it into my journal so that I can tick off each day that I’ve completed.
- Quotes: I like to write down any quotes I come across that I find motivational or inspiring. They’re easily forgotten if you don’t take note of them.
- Vision Board: Some people like to have vision boards hanging on their walls but I like to have a small one in my journal because I know that I’ll have it with me every where and that I’ll have a chance to look at it at least twice a day. Cut out some images or quotes that inspire you and glue them onto a page in your journal.
Answering Empowering Questions in Your Journal
This is something that I love to do. Each day I’ll answer one question that’s really thought provoking. I keep a list of them but here’s just a few examples:
- What can I do today to improve myself?
- What does success look like to me?
- If not now, when?
- What are you making time for?
- What is the biggest obstacle that stands in the way of your happiness?
- How can I maintain a positive attitude?
Ways To Journal
- Journaling App
Give journaling a try. Do your best to be consistent and write something everyday. Don’t worry about how much or how little you’re writing. Try not to filter yourself. Get your thoughts and goals down on paper and in a few weeks you’ll start to see some of the many benefits of journaling.