How to Use Journaling for Self-Improvement

Building your self-image, boosting your determination, and improving your relationships can all be done through journaling. This seemingly simple activity can help you create a better and happier life. But first, you have to give it a chance.

A journal can give you a perspective on your inner thoughts, your misjudgments, and habits that hold you back. Overall, journaling is a powerful tool for overcoming limiting beliefs.

Take a step towards transforming your life by embracing journaling. With that being said, here are some tips that will get you started.

Release Your Stream of Consciousness

Journaling allows you to have a deep conversation with yourself. It is your safe space to open up your heart and mind. Therefore, you should let your hand roam freely and express any thought that comes out.

Don’t overthink what you’ll write. Unleash every feeling, opinion, or worry that you have stored in your mind.

A neuroscience study found that getting your worries and thoughts onto the paper will free your mind. The process makes cognitive space for more important things and tasks in hand. Additional proven effects of expressing your thoughts freely are reducing anxiety and stress.

There is no right way to do a stream of consciousness writing. However, it is helpful if you give yourself a time limit (5-10 minutes, for example) and don’t stop writing until the time is up.

Writing down your stream of consciousness will allow you to observe your unfiltered thoughts. Moreover, it may surface some subconscious thoughts that are holding you back. You’ll be able to pinpoint repetitive negative self-talk and start working on that.

Express Your Gratitude

This fast-paced life filled with challenging situations makes us overlook our blessings. Use your journal to express gratitude daily, and your quality of life can improve immensely.

Being aware of your blessing will leave less room for negative emotions. Instead, you’ll consistently remind yourself of the good things in your life.

Psychology Today reported that there are seven scientifically-proven benefits of expressing gratitude:

  • Improving physical health
  • Improving psychological health
  • Improving self-esteem
  • Enhancing empathy
  • Increasing mental strength
  • Embracing new relationships
  • Sleeping better

All these benefits can improve your quality of life, make you happier, and motivated for further improvement.

Sharing what you are grateful for in the journal will shift your inner focus towards positivity. Rather than being consumed with envy, regret, or resentment, you can direct the spotlight on the good things in your life.

If you are ready to practice gratitude through journaling, you can start by writing down 3 goals a day. Preferably, you should do this in the morning or the evening. In that way, you can start your day on a positive note or wrap up your day with positive thoughts.

Set Your Short and Long-Term Goals

Did you know that you can increase the chance of achieving your goals by 42% if you write them down regularly?

The power of journaling your goals is real. Use your journal to store both short term and long term goals. The journal will be there as a reminder of what you need to focus on.

If you keep your journal daily, your goals will always be there to provide you with guidance and remind you of your priorities. That’s why journaling your goals is so impactful.

Try to be as detailed as possible when writing down your goals. According to Forbes, people who describe their goals vividly are around 1.2 to 1.4 times more likely to accomplish those goals.

Don’t just state the goal. Write about why you want to accomplish it as well. How will crossing that finish line improve your life?

For example:

Meditate 4 times a week – I will feel more relaxed, release my anxiety, and improve my focus.

With that clarification right next to the goal, you’ll give your goal additional meaning. You’ll have a vision of a better.

Answer the Key Question

Do you want to hear the key question for self-improvement? Here it is:

What am I most proud of today, and what should I improve?

The answer can be:

I am proud that I made my bed, but I should exercise more.

The value of this question is that it helps you celebrate small wins, but it also motivates you to keep getting better. With time you’ll learn that even the simplest activities can make your life better.

Also, when you repetitively write about something that should be improved, your brain will make a permanent reminder of that. You’ll be more inspired to make that change when it’s deeply embedded in your brain.

Answer this question daily, and with time, you’ll learn how to feel good about yourself. You will learn how to be proud of your small victories, which is essential for a happy life.

Deal with Stress and Problems in a Healthier Way

Stressful situations can bring out the worst in people. As the frustration and anger accumulates, we tend to make the wrong choices, say words we don’t mean, and even hurt the people we love.

Not being able to deal with stress and problems healthily can harm your relationships. This doesn’t have to happen if you learn how to deal with stress and observe your problems with a clear head. Here enters journaling.

According to an article published by the University of Rochester Medical Center, journaling can help you “prioritize problems, fears, and concerns” and “recognize triggers and learn ways to better control them.”

Whenever you are stressed or overwhelmed with thoughts, write about them in your journal. When your sister makes you angry, or your partner drives you mad, write about it in your journal.

Before you make any rash decisions or react impulsively, “have a talk” with your journal first. Once you step back and observe the curious paths of your mind, you will realize that some problems aren’t unsolvable like you think.

Reading about the questions that trouble you or why people annoy you can help you surface the solution.

Final Thoughts

Self-improvement doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a long and sometimes demanding journey. Having a faithful confidant in the form of a journal can be of great help.

You can create a better world for yourself. Buy a journal, start writing consistently, and work towards self-improvement one entry at a time.