You’re about to discover the benefits of journaling and great journaling techniques so you can journal for success.
You’ll find out how to start a diary and get ideas for topics, so you can write your first entry today…
But you won’t find any “Dear diary…” here.
So before you shrug this off as a silly activity or a waste of time, know that hugely successful entrepreneurs like Oprah or Richard Branson use journal writing, too.
Journaling can be easy
Grab a pen and piece of paper (or bullet journal, morning pages, gratitude journal, success journal, notebooks, journal pages, or use an online diary).
There are endless journaling techniques to jot down your state of mind, deepest thoughts, self-doubt, moods, and life goals.
Ask yourself what you want to achieve and write down your personal goals and career goals. Now you can reread them whenever you like.
If you’ve never had a daily journal, this can feel a bit stressful. But just wait and see why you might want to give this a try. Even if journaling lies outside your comfort zone.
We saw the benefits of journaling for success briefly last week in Part 2 of this personal development mini-series. Today, we’ll explore this helpful activity a little deeper.
And to fit it into your busy day, you can make it part of your morning routine.
Section 1: The benefits of journaling for success
There are physical, emotional, and mental benefits to consistently keeping a journal. Something happens in your mind and with your emotions when you record your day’s events and thoughts.
And when you link your journaling practice to your values instead of just your observations, your time of reflection becomes even more impactful.
So before we see how to start a diary, and what important information to write about, let’s first check out some of the many benefits of keeping a journal of your daily events.
1. Boost your mood
Writing a success journal (or gratitude journal) boosts your mood in several ways. When you put pen to paper:
- You get the stress and negativity out of your system
- You remember the awesome little things that happened
- You keep yourself inspired with your goals
- You can measure your progress
- You get better writing skills
- It can be part of your mindfulness practice
- This all can be beneficial to your mental health
Success Journaling can even improve your communication skills because you regularly express your thoughts.
And for motivation, imagine looking back on an older diary entry and see how much you improved on a specific topic or skill. This makes you realize how far you’ve come.
And that’s very powerful because we always forget how “bad” we actually were at the start.
Your success journal allows you to go back to your humble beginnings.
And it makes you feel great because your progress is measurable.
2. Get more confident
When you connect your journaling habit to your personal values it can improve your confidence.
“The power of positive thinking is not just in the heads of hippies and therapists, there is actually scientific evidence that proves that thinking positively can impact us for the best” – Jennifer N. Smith
In the short term, writing about personal values makes people feel more powerful, in control, proud, and strong.Stanford professor Kelly McGonigal in The Upside of Stress
And even if you don’t include your values, you can write down all the great things that make you feel proud of yourself.
This can be things you appreciate about yourself but also compliments from others.
We tend to forget that, so it’s an awesome reminder to write all of this down!
Then, when you need a confidence boost, you can look up all the nice things you put down. You’ll also gain a deeper understanding of yourself.
3. Relieve stress
Instead of bottling everything up, you can write down your frustrations, fears, and self doubt (also check out these 45 quotes to overcome self-doubt). It’s a form of stress management.
Seeing your stressful events on paper, you can then choose your priorities and think of possible solutions.
And that’s a great relief. So instead of running on auto-pilot, you get a glimpse of hope or maybe even peace of mind.
…Just by taking the time to consciously think about your challenges.
4. Change your Perspective
As we saw in benefit #2, regular journaling can provide a greater sense of confidence and self-identity. It helps you identify important patterns in your life which you can then change.
What’s a pattern? Maybe you’ll realize that the first thing you do when you get to work is complain about it to your colleague.
This sets the tone for the rest of your day. So, once you’re aware of this, you can work on starting your day in a more positive way. A little mindfulness can go a long way.
It also allows you to see opportunities for growth and helps you overcome adversity.
An effective journaling routine helps you focus on yourself instead of on other people’s negativity.
5. Improve your memory
When you write down any new information you’ve learned, your brain will make stronger connections with this information.
That’s just one more reason how and why it helps to start a diary.
It’s almost like studying, only it doesn’t feel like such a chore. By repeating what you learned and putting it down on paper, your brain remembers it (better).
6. Keep your thoughts organized
Your brain has limited active storage, so when you write down your thoughts and observations, you make more room for new things and ideas.
Also, it keeps you from overthinking and breaks looping patterns. Once you got everything on paper, it gets easier to look at it objectively.
The diary entry topics you’ll see later in this post will help you get started.
7. Achieve your goals
One of the benefits of journaling is that it keeps you focused on yourself – but also on your goals. It allows you to dig deep and get clear on what you truly want.
Clarity is the most important first step to achieve the life of your dreams.
A bonus benefit is that if you write it down, you are more likely to achieve it.
Feeling stuck? Join our FREE email course to uncover the top 7 goal mistakes that sabotage your success!
8. Improve your self-discipline
A journaling habit improves your discipline, especially if you do it around the same time every day.
This can be early in the morning when everything is still quiet. Or just before bedtime when you wind down and relax.
Whatever works best for you.
A scheduled time also has the added benefit of getting your mind into the right mode.
Routines let your mind know what it’s supposed to do, so your task becomes easier and easier over time. In the long run, it will also improve your writing skills.
9. Spark your creativity
Whatever journaling technique you prefer, a personal journal is a great place to record your ideas and great quotes. And when your mind knows that your ideas are “safe”, it will come up with even more of them.
One of the great benefits of journaling is to inspire creativity, so write down everything you can think of.
Also, when you declutter your brain (on paper) you leave more brainpower for more creative ideas.
And reviewing your collection of ideas can get your creative juices flowing, too.
Section 2: How to start a diary
You can start small
Don’t worry if you’re hyperventilating now or thinking you still don’t know how to start a diary. Day one of diary writing may feel weird and unnatural.
Don’t fear the blank page. You don’t have to start off as Hemingway.
If you put too much pressure on yourself, you can’t get to the important stuff you need (to fuel your success).
Journaling is not about sounding good or writing plenty. You can start small with just a few bullet points, or simply one sentence.
Journaling is a positive and stress-free activity with lots of great side effects. It can help you become more successful, boost your self-confidence, and be valuable in achieving your goals.
And it can also have a positive impact on your physical well-being and mental health.
What you write down in your journal is for your eyes only. It’s not like you’re going to post it on Social Media. So, it really doesn’t have to be perfect. No pressure!
You don’t have to get writer’s block over finding the perfect topic or words.
And if you really have no idea how to start a diary, you can check out this list of entry topics below to get your success journal rolling.
For your first journal entry, you can also start by writing motivational quotes that inspire you.
Get a list of entry topics to help you start your diary
Examples of diary helpful entry topics
- What are you good at or passionate about? How could you make money with that?
- What habits would you like to pick up? Why and how can you get started?
- Write down 3 things you are looking forward to this week…
- What are some good qualities you have? How do they help you?
- Are you worried or excited about your future? Why?
Do you want to take action and become successful?
Maybe it’s time to give success journaling a try. You’ve seen quite a few benefits of journaling and journaling ideas.
You know how to start a diary and you even have entry topics so you can get started today.
Journaling is an activity for anyone serious about wanting a better life. There are no excuses why you can’t get a new journal and keep writing until you love it.
Don’t make the mistake of shrugging this off as a girly thing.
Highly successful people like George Lucas (Star Wars), John D. Rockefeller, Albert Einstein, and Richard Branson keep (or kept) a journal, too.
Adapt journaling writing to your needs
You can write a lot. You can write a little. It can be full sentences or bullet points. It can be quotes or one-liners you like.
You can opt for a more organized structure or a “stream of consciousness” style like Julia Cameron‘s morning pages.
You can write in a beautiful Moleskine notebook, on loose paper (if all else fails), in a bullet journal, in an App, or on your laptop. The form doesn’t matter.
It also doesn’t matter whether you have more time in the morning or feel more inspired in the evening. Whichever works best for you. Just kick off your new writing habit.
Section 3: Great journaling techniques
Maybe you’d still like to see a few journaling ideas. So let’s take a quick look at some journaling techniques you could use.
1. Gratitude journal
For the gratitude list, you write down everything you are grateful for. When you think of the positive things you appreciate, your mind will look for similar experiences.
And then, all the memories of things, experiences, and people you are grateful for will flow.
This positive energy greatly improves your mood and allows you to see that good things are happening. And that has a great impact on your life!
2. Morning papers
Every morning, you write 3 handwritten pages about what’s on your mind. Don’t think about it, just let it all pour out on the pages. The good, the bad, and the ugly.
3 pages (US letter or A4) are the minimum to get to what’s really going on inside your mind. So make sure you have 30-40 minutes of alone time.
3. Goal journaling
Intentions help you focus and make you more successful. It’s more about your feelings and your mindset than a to-do list.
How do you want your day to go? What do you want to accomplish today? You can make it part of your morning rituals to ask yourself these questions.
And then you set your goals for the day, week, month, or year and regularly check your progress. This keeps you focused and motivated.
4. Dream journal
This writing practice is exactly what it sounds like. You write down what you remember from your dreams while they are still fresh in your memory.
For some people, that will be most of it and for others it’s (almost) nothing.
You write down both good dreams and bad ones. After a while, you will recognize themes and see patterns that will allow you to process your emotions.
5. Worst case scenario
If you tend to worry a lot about things going wrong, this could be an interesting journaling technique for you. Write down the worst things that could happen to you.
Just make sure it’s related to a specific topic that’s on your mind (not something broad like the end of the world). Once you have written down all the things that could go wrong, think about solutions for these problems.
So if “x” happens, you could do “y” to improve the outcome. You may find out that even (potential) terrible results are not worth holding you back!
Now it’s your turn
So you can see the benefits of journaling and what a flexible, valuable tool it is.
So, try this activity of successful people today, and every day for the next 10 days.
That’s how to start a diary and it should be enough time to find out if this daily practice works for you.
Happy journaling your way to success,
Improve yourself. Improve your life!
What to read next!
- 28 Personal Development Activities to Ace Your Life
- 7 Motivation Hacks to Stay Excited About Your Goals
- 17 Key Benefits of Personal Development For Success
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