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Published on January 6, 2021

How to Start Journaling for Self- Development (6 Simple Ways)

How to Start Journaling for Self- Development (6 Simple Ways)

Self-development is something we all strive for, but we often don’t know where to start. Have you been looking for a way to finally reach your goals or improve areas in your life? Journaling can be an outlet that helps you pinpoint where you’re struggling and how you’ve grown. It’s also a great way to purge the mind of negative thoughts and document positive feelings and accomplishments.

When you journal, you’re putting aspirations and frustrations into words. Once you begin writing these moments down, you will find yourself on the road to achieving your dreams. Here are 6 tips to help you get started with journaling for self-development.

1. Set Your Intentions

The first step for starting a journal is to decide why you want to begin writing and what you hope to get out of it. Maybe you would like to have a memoir-style diary where you document your feelings, tasks, or daily activities. Keeping a daily log is a quick way to jot down thoughts and get things off your chest. Or perhaps, you are beginning a new chapter in life and want to keep a record of how things started and progressed, like a fresh relationship, new job, or health journey. Journaling with the intention of recording your growth can be extremely eye-opening.

Finally, you might consider starting a journal to give to someone else. If you’re a new mom or dad, consider keeping a diary of what it’s like to be a parent and family life, then gift it to your child when they’re grown. Whatever your intentions for journaling may be, it’s important you begin the writing process with a clear purpose. This ensures you will stay motivated to journal and work on self-development.

2. Choose Your Medium

When you document your thoughts, it does not always have to be in a traditional lined notebook. You might find it easier to express your feelings when you speak out loud, so using a recording device as your diary may be more beneficial. Or perhaps, you’re the type of person who has long trains of thought and would rather quickly document them on your phone or computer.

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If do you stick to a classic notebook, finding one that you’re excited to write in will push you to journal more consistently. You might also consider starting a video journal, where you record messages and document significant life memories. Talking to a camera can be a great outlet for expressing your feelings, and it creates a project you can always look back on.

After you are confident in your purpose for journaling and what medium you plan to use, you can then begin documenting your feelings in ways that will allow you to work on self-development.

3. Find a Schedule That Works for You

If you’re trying to journal for self-development, then you want to avoid it feeling like a chore or a burden. This can happen if you don’t set aside the ideal time of day to write or record. The best journaling session time will be different for everyone.

Maybe you’re the type of person who is most focused early in the morning with a cup of coffee, and this is the time when you can really put your thoughts into words. Or perhaps, you’re someone who is always on the go and rarely has a moment to yourself. If so, you might find using a recorder and talking things through on the drive home from work is effective. It’s all about finding the right time to journal that fits with your lifestyle.

If you try to force yourself to write every single day but find you’re too busy with meetings or taking care of kids or a pet, then aim for journaling once a week. It’s perfectly fine to just write a recap of your week or touch base every few days. Even journaling once a month can still provide measurable results.

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No matter how often you journal, you will instantly feel lighter after every session. You do not have to write for an hour as you may have thought when considering journaling. It can be a quick check-in that is as short as 5 minutes just to jot down your emotions. Discover how much time you can truly commit to journaling, form the habit, and you will feel more relaxed from the process.

4. Categorize Your Goals

Another aspect of journaling for self-development is writing down your aspirations. When you put your goals into words, you are more likely to achieve them. The key is to categorize your dreams into different areas of life so that they become more tangible. If you’re journaling in a notebook, you can divide it into separate sections for career, health, relationships, and life adventures.

In your career category, you might document achievements you’re proud of, or list out frustrations while brainstorming ideas to overcome them. If you want to lose weight, you might use the health section to keep track of your progress. It’s an opportunity to write down inspiring words that will encourage you to keep going.

For the relationships category, you can journal about your dating life and the excitement and nerves that come with a first date. You might vent about your parents always fighting, or how friends are getting on your nerves. Writing down aspects that do or do not work well will help you learn what is really important to you in life.

Finally, personal growth isn’t just about your career or relationships; it’s also about devoting time to your passions. That is why the life adventures category is so important. This is where you can journal about places you want to see or talents you want to develop. It’s your chance to openly write about dreams and put a plan of action together.

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In no time, you will be able to look back and see how much you have achieved. Dividing your aspirations into sections will allow you to concretely devote time to each area of your life.

5. Write About What Inspires You in the Moment

A journal does not have to fit a concrete outline. Although sometimes in life, we need to check a box or have firm expectations, in a journal, you can creatively let your feelings flow. In fact, the most effective journaling sessions will be ones where you write freely about topics that excite you at the moment.

You can write about your day and list things that happened, the activities you did, or tasks you accomplished. Or you might develop a mood journal where you have short daily entries about how you were feeling that day. This allows you to express your feelings in a safe place and talk yourself through emotions.

Another option is to start a gratitude journal. You might consider writing down 5 to 10 things you are grateful for every day or week. Pausing and taking a moment to reflect on aspects of life you are grateful for can create a more positive mindset.

The possibilities for journaling are vast, and it’s all about finding what comes naturally when you sit down to write. From there, you will be able to leverage journaling for self-development.

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6. Use Your Journal as Your Own Best Friend

The beauty of a journal is that it is a safe space for all of your thoughts. Journaling is essentially writing to yourself and being your own best friend. In the movie of life, your friends and family are all the supporting characters, and you are the main star.

Journaling is where you have the opportunity to really focus on yourself and make sure you continue to shine. When you journal, you can truly say anything you want. You can be brutally honest about your performance on a presentation or your excitement from meeting someone new. You can write motivating words to yourself that you can always look back to when you need a confidence boost. By venting frustrations, you might realize you were overreacting, as journaling helps to improve our perspectives.

There is also room to document any events or thoughts you might feel silly sharing with someone else but want to remember. Your journal is the ultimate keeper of your secrets and your loftiest goals. Having the ability to be your own cheerleader through journaling can be an empowering source for self-growth.

Final Thoughts

The hardest part of trying something new is actually starting it. Once you make it over the hurdle of writing your first journal entry, the rest will come easily.

Self-development is a never-ending process, and journaling is a way to document your growth. We are always changing and improving every single day, whether we are aware of it or not. It can be very enlightening to look back on journal entries you made a few months ago and compare them to more recent ones. You might find that you accomplished more goals than you initially planned or that your desires have actually changed.

Journaling can give you the deepest insight into your feelings, which is the path to becoming the best version of yourself. So, take these 6 tips on how to start journaling and challenge yourself to embark on a journaling adventure. In no time, you will be proud of how far you’ve come.

More Tips on How to Start Journaling

Featured photo credit: Thought Catalog via unsplash.com

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Nancy Solari

Nancy Solari is an accomplished CEO, life coach, and motivational speaker.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2021

12 Learning Goals For Personal Growth And Self Development

12 Learning Goals For Personal Growth And Self Development

Learning is an essential part of life. The more you learn, the more you need to learn. As Harry Truman put it,[1]

“It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.”

Your attitude toward personal growth and self-development through continuous learning is an important factor in how you succeed in life. In this article, I have highlighted some learning goals to help you become a better version of yourself and be more successful.

How Independent Learning Leads to Growth and Development

When you are dedicated to lifelong learning, you will experience development in key areas of growth. This includes intellectual, professional, social, and physical growth.[2] You can pick these areas of growth one by one and learn something to improve yourself. When you have achieved your goal in one area, you can then consider another area that also needs improvement.

There are different ways to learn, and these include reading, listening, webinars, online courses, mentoring and any other means by which knowledge can be passed and absorbed. You can also learn by observing people: friends, colleagues, bosses, or any other person whose lifestyle you admire.

Examples of Personal Learning Goals

We learn not just for the sake of learning but to gain knowledge and improve certain areas of our lives. Highlighted below are areas where you can set personal learning goals. There is a sample learning goal statement for each of the items on the list. You can adopt these goals or adjust them as they apply to you.

1. Develop Communication Skills

Your ability to communicate effectively plays a crucial role in your pursuit of success. This applies to both verbal and non-verbal communication to colleagues, clients, customers, friends, and families. While everyone cannot be an orator or great writer, we can all be great communicators by learning.

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In whichever industry you are in, having a goal towards improving your communication skills would be of great advantage.

Enroll in online courses to learn topics in communications, such as speaking to an audience, communication strategies for sales and marketing, effective corporate communication, virtual communication, etc.

2. Negotiation Skills

Whether it is about contract terms, business deals, salary, or prices of commodities, negotiation skills are essential to have at hand. They can save you tremendous time and money and can also give you leverage in your dealings with people. You might not be able to always get everything you want, but negotiation skills can help you get more of it.

Take an online course or read three bestsellers on strategies and skills for negotiating effectively.

3. Ethics and Social Responsibility

Sometimes we know what is expected of us, but at other times, we are not so sure. We often come across situations where we get confused about what we are supposed to do.

Knowing what to do and being able to meet up with expectations can boost your positive image and earn you a favorable reputation at work or in the community. It can also open a door to leadership or make you more effective in your leadership capacity.

Continue to learn about ethics and social responsibility by reading wide on the subject. In addition, read all available information within an organization regarding its ethics and core values. Read also the ethics of the particular industry.

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4. Teamwork and Flexibility

Some people find it easy to blend into a team, while others are more of the solo type. If you belong to the second category, you need to be intentional about being flexible and working in a team to achieve a common goal.

Learn to be open-minded, volunteer to help out, and ask for help from colleagues. Also, offer suggestions on solutions to fix a common problem.

5. Reasoning and Making Good Judgment

The ability to make sound decisions depends on how you can deploy your reasoning skills. Unfortunately, this is not something everyone can pull off easily, especially when it comes to making tough decisions.

A Harvard Business Review article outlined the following useful tips for making good judgments[3]:

  • Listening attentively or reading critically to turn knowledge into understanding.
  • Picking up what is not said and interpreting body language.
  • Cultivating sources of trusted advice: people who are bold enough to tell what you need to know and not what you want to hear.
  • Understanding, clarifying, and accepting different viewpoints.

Improve the capacity to listen and read information and intentions carefully to gain proper understanding and assess different viewpoints before making a decision.

6. Critical Thinking and Problem Solving Skills

Critical thinking and problem-solving skills are described as the ability to use knowledge, facts, and data to effectively solve problem.[4] It is being able to think about a problem and proffer an immediate solution or come up with ideas that can lead to a solution. The competitive world of work requires a great deal of critical thinking, and being able to fix problems is a great advantage.

Learn how to analyze and synthesize information and predict the future outcome of a decision. Use puzzles and games to develop logic and create mind maps to practice visualizing a problem and its solutions.

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7. Analytical Thinking

Analytical thinking is also a component of problem-solving skills. It is described as visual thinking that gives one the ability to solve problems quickly using a methodical step-by-step approach.[5] Analytical thinking helps to break a complex problem down into smaller, manageable components.

Improve analytical thinking capacity by practicing brain games, reading books, and using the analytical approach in solving problems.

8. Creative Thinking

Thinking about new ideas and ways of doing things rather than the old way is creative thinking. It can also be referred to as disruptive thinking — bringing new, fresh perspective into current realities. In this era of innovation, creative and disruptive thinking are essential to achieve success at work.

Improve creative abilities by tapping into inspiration from books, videos, documentaries, and other sources. Create time daily or weekly to brainstorm and create something new.

9. Improved Memory

A good memory prevents us from forgetting important dates, facts, and deadlines.[6] Memory also helps us to avoid committing the error of omission due to forgetfulness. Such an error can have serious consequences on our work and business.

Boost memory by learning to memorize and recall. Learn a foreign language or learn to play a musical instrument.

10. Staying Organized

Take control of your schedules, activities, and routines by getting organized. Getting organized will give you focus, increase your productivity, reduce stress, and help you manage your time better. Some have assumed that being organized has to do with personality types, but being organized is really not an issue of personality. Anyone can learn and develop this habit.

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Learn more about how to be organized. Create a daily to-do list. Learn to keep things in their proper place and declutter regularly.

11. Build Self Esteem and Confidence

One of the ways to build your self-esteem and confidence is through reading. Reading equips you with valuable information that makes you knowledgeable and vast. It also makes you more intelligent as you will gain a broader perspective on issues, and this makes you more articulate and confident when communicating with people.

You can also build your self-esteem by learning to make positive affirmations about yourself. Read self-help books and make daily positive affirmations.

12. Toughness and Resilience

Your ability to stand strong in the midst of storms depends on how tough and resilient you are. Whether you anticipate them or not, there will always be some tough times on your success journey.

Learning to be tough and resilient will ensure that you don’t buckle when under pressure. It also helps you to keep your mind sane when working through difficult situations. Read biographies or watch movies and documentaries featuring heroic acts. Participate in mental drills.

Final Thoughts

As much as it feels good to learn new things, consider perfecting an area of learning before moving on to something else. You might have a number of things to improve on (and you should), but you can’t take on everything at once. When you have chosen your learning goals, put a timeframe on each of them. You can also create a yearly calendar for your learning goals and pick them one after the other.

More Tips on Learning

Featured photo credit: Seven Shooter via unsplash.com

Reference

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