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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)
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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.

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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.

6 Most Important Emotional Intelligence Skills To Have 7 Ways To Expand Your Horizon And Push For New Frontiers How to Start Journaling for Self- Development (6 Simple Ways) How To Take Back Your Life When Things Get Out of Control How to Commit to Self-Development for Continuous Growth

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

What Is SWOT Analysis? 5 Ways It Accelerates Your Self-Improvement

What Is SWOT Analysis? 5 Ways It Accelerates Your Self-Improvement
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If I told you that there was one activity that you could do frequently that would dramatically accelerate your rate of self-improvement, would you do it?

SWOT Analysis may very well be the solution to your problems of feeling lost, unproductive, worried about the future, and the general struggle that inevitably arises on the road to personal development. It is quick to carry out, reliable in terms of changing your perspective, and effective in getting you the results that you desire.

So what exactly is this SWOT Analysis? You will find everything you need to know about it below as well as how to do it and all of the amazing benefits that it will bring to your life.

What Is SWOT Analysis?

SWOT Analysis is a business term that has steadily made its way over into the world of personal development due to its effectiveness in getting things to improve — whether that be a company or, more recently, a person.

S.W.O.T. is an anagram that stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. When assessing these four key pillars in life, it gives a very good picture of which direction you should be heading in and even highlights some of the best ways to do it.

All in all, it is a great way to reflect on past actions and to decide on the best way to move forward.

How to Do a SWOT Analysis

Carrying out a SWOT Analysis is relatively simple. The best way is to take out a pen and paper and write down four columns: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. From there, you can begin to fill out each one and apply it to whatever situation you find yourself in.

If you are considering expanding your enterprise, you might want to write down the current strengths and weaknesses of your business as well as the opportunities that you could possibly move into and the threats that you might need to minimize.

If you are an individual looking to improve yourself, you can carry out a SWOT Analysis either on the micro or macro level. A micro example would be focusing on one specific area of life. For example, you could write down your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats when it comes to dating, productivity, or changing your job.

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You can also take it to the macro level. You might simply write down your current strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats across all areas of life — or simply the areas that you want to focus on for now.

SWOT Analysis is very easy to do and is excellent for the bigger picture stuff. Here is a rough template with a few questions across various areas of life that you can use for your own personal development purposes:

Strengths

What professional qualifications do I have that make me stand out from everybody else?

What do I exceed at where most people are either average or below average?

What achievements have I been awarded?

What struggles have I overcome in the past that give me hope for the future?

Weaknesses

Where do I fall short where others seem to excel?

What bad habits do I have?

What thoughts tend to hold me back?

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Opportunities

Is there any significant advancement happening or about to happen that I can take advantage of?

Is there a new position in a company that maximizes my skillset?

Is there a gap in the market that I could potentially fill?

Is there an opportunity that is low-risk (i.e. I can fail fast and decide if I want to keep pursuing it)?

Threats

What competition do I face in a certain area?

What is the most likely thing to throw me off course? Is it me?

If there was an economic downturn, would I be in a position to survive? Could I even turn it into an opportunity?

Benefits of SWOT Analysis for Self-Improvement

Now that you know what it is and how to do it, you may already start to see all of the benefits for your personal growth that can come from a SWOT Analysis. If you haven’t already started to think about how to use it in your own life, here are a few ideas to get you started.

1. It Gives You an Actionable Plan

One of the most obvious benefits of doing a SWOT Analysis is the fact that it gives you an actionable plan. It is rare for someone to actually sit down and write out their strengths and weaknesses as well as the opportunities and threats they are facing, so you will be getting well ahead.

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More importantly, taking the information from all four of these areas allows you to create an effective plan for yourself going forward — whether that be doubling down on your strengths, a plan to overcome your weaknesses, or how to leap at one of the opportunities in your life.

SWOT Analysis is designed specifically to drive actions and decisions — it is not simply a discussion exercise that you put to one side once you are finished with it.[1]

2. It Allows You to Zoom Out

Far too many people are so trapped within their day-to-day activities that they forget to see the big picture. Not being able to see the forest for the trees is one of the things that hold many people back from reaching their full potential.

SWOT Analysis allows you to take a moment of reflection, see the big picture, and then to make an informed decision about what your everyday tasks and activities are going to be, rather than the other way around.

It is important to be able to zoom out from time to time to make sure that you are on track with whatever your objectives are in each area of life. SWOT Analysis is the best way to do just that.

3. It Helps You Recognize New Aspects and Patterns

One of the unique things about SWOT Analysis is that it manages to combine different areas of your life and lets you see patterns, opportunities, and much more that you wouldn’t have otherwise seen.

An example would be the combination of your strengths and your opportunities. When you look at both of these side-by-side, you get a good idea about where the crossovers are, and, as a result, you get a clear picture of what opportunities are worth pursuing based on your strengths.

Another example would be looking at your strengths and threats next to one another. When you have a decent idea about what your strengths are in a certain situation, you can start to see how those strengths might come in handy when it comes to mitigating certain threats that you might face.

The truth is, any combination across SWOT Analysis creates a unique perspective that will be extremely useful for your own self-improvement.

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4. It Minimizes Risk

Branching out from the previous point, a SWOT Analysis is carried out to help minimize risk [2]. Although this is primarily a benefit from a company’s standpoint, it can also be helpful from an individual’s perspective as well.

On a personal level, risk can come in a variety of forms. It might be an imaginary risk that feels real, like asking your crush out or asking your boss for a raise. It might be an actual risk where you are thinking of expanding your business or entering a new market where you have little experience. Either way, seeing the threats you face as well as the strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities you have allows you to go down the path that minimizes risk and maximizes gain.

5. It Can Marks Stages of Your Path

An interesting way that companies use SWOT Analysis is that they carry it out every month or every quarter in order to reset and recalibrate their destination. It can be used in a similar way by you as well. Just like there are certain times when businesses use them, there are certain times when you should use them.[3]

Every month or every couple of months, take the time to do a SWOT Analysis to see how you are progressing. What strengths have been added? What weaknesses have been discovered? What opportunities have revealed themselves or been lost? What new threats are you facing and which have been removed from the picture?

Not only will carrying out a SWOT Analysis on a frequent basis accelerate your self-improvement by helping you see where you want to go with less distraction, but it is also nice to see how things change and, hopefully, get better.

It is also worth looking back at your SWOT Analysis from the start of the year when you reach the end of the year to see how far you have come.

To Wrap Up

So there you have it. SWOT Analysis might just be the tool and technique that you have been waiting for to truly take the next step in your self-improvement journey. It is practical, easy to carry out, and effective in terms of planning your next moves.

Whether you do it on a consistent basis to ensure that you are moving in the right direction or you only do it when you feel lost, SWOT Analysis will always be right there waiting to help.

Featured photo credit: Kyle Glenn via unsplash.com

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