A personal development journal is a great self improvement tool.
Learn how to keep a journal that will help your personal development.
Read what to write & how to write a journal to improve life for you.
journal writing ideas for journal writing topics.
Self help journaling
can boost any area of your life. Try it!
What is a Personal Development Journal?
development journal is sort of like a traditional diary - only
The traditional diary has to do with external
things ... what you and other people said and did, events that
happen - plus perhaps what you feel and think about them. And
you're supposed to write in your diary pretty much every day.
The personal development journal is all about change.
Getting from one place to another, better place -
in your life
(improving your life) and
In other words: The personal development journal has to do
with your self development and is focused on you as a person -
plus your experience of life.
circumstances you're probably not going to write in your
personal development journal every day (though when things get
'wild' you might).
What's the Biggest Advantage of
Keeping a Personal Development Journal?
That would be the
'kick butt' effect of noting where you are, where you want to
go, how you plan on getting there, what you actually did to
get there - and how that worked out.
A different word
for that effect is this: Awareness!
Or, if you prefer:
The point is: By recording
these things you get an overview you wouldn't have had
otherwise. This really helps you learn and improve.
example of this is how the journal helps you keep watch over
the internal workings of your mind. In order to bring your
various mental processes more in harmony with each other you
need to get to know them.
The same goes for your
feelings, needs, actions and beliefs. Record them all when you
notice them. Notice any and all patterns that show up.
Evaluate everything and reflect on it (what do you like and
what don't you like?). Then make decisions that will improve
your life ... and record how they turned out.
things will help you immensely.
There are many more
advantages, though. Towards the end of this article I'll
7 of the Greatest Advantages of Keeping a Personal
but let's first look at some other,
What's the Difference Between a
Personal Development Journal and a Self Improvement
In my opinion? There isn't any.
development journal = self improvement journal.
What's in this Article (about a Personal Development Journal)?
This is a pretty big article that will tell you more or
less all you need to know about how to keep a journal of this
I'll present you with some general journal
writing ideas that will help your ego development (self
actualization) and your personal empowerment - and help you
improve life for you in every way you want it to.
Who Am I to Talk?
Well, I've been keeping a personal
development journal for many years, and I still do.
my personal development journal I record anything and
everything that has to do with my life improvement, self
improvement and spiritual development, and it does me a world
What I Get from Keeping a Personal
The single most important thing keeping
a journal gives me is the one I mentioned previously:
Writing in my personal development journal
is tantamount to inducing consciousness in myself.
get to record frustrations, note possibilities, ideas,
decisions and progress, and over time the patterns that govern
my life become obvious to me.
Then, as I notice these
unconscious patterns, I start to govern them instead. I learn.
I empower myself.
Thus, the increased consciousness
leads to me having more choices, more power and more freedom.
After making the transition to a general condition of
inner peace I don't write in my personal development journal
as much as I used to, but for the first many years of my wild
personal development I wrote in it approx. two or three times
a week, every week (and I'm a certified personal development
These days (after a decade of crazy, INTENSE
personal development) I probably write in it once or twice a
My conclusion after all these years?
personal development journal is a great self improvement tool
- one of the very best ... and also one of the cheapest.
What KIND of Personal Development Journal Do You Want?
Some people prefer writing on their computer, others prefer
writing by hand. Decide what suits you best and go for it!
If You Love Pen and Paper
If you're the hand
A) You could just write on loose sheets
of paper. This has the advantage of being something you can do
anywhere and it also makes it easier to sort later - in
folders or a ring binder (indexed, perhaps, with one index for
every major element you want to journal about - e.g. money,
love, self esteem, inner journeys, etc.).
If you do
this, be generous in your use of paper. Try to stick to one
subject on each page. If you want to write something about
another subject, take a new piece of paper. This will make
putting it in folders or ring binders much easier.
You could also get one of those blank journals (books with
blank pages) - perhaps one that has dividers for ease of use (though
you can also add those manually, using little 'index'
stickers). You might also go for a luxury leather journal; or
a really huge one that will allow you to put in pictures,
drawings and clippings.
You could also use a
traditional diary, although it may not really be set up for
the kind of entries you will be making. However, it's still a
good idea to have a section to log in daily.
You Love Your Computer
Some people prefer writing on a
computer, particularly those who use it a lot and who are,
perhaps, much faster on a keyboard than with pen and paper. If
you have a laptop or netbook, that's perfect, because then you
can make entries pretty much anywhere.
If that's you:
A) Perhaps you'll simply want to use your word processor.
In that case you have at least two main choices:
Simply start writing in one single document which will
eventually become very long. If you do this, do remember to
put in dates for each entry and make lots of telling headlines
so you'll be able to quickly find the info later. (Your word
processor probably also has a search function, though).
This very basic method is the one that I use. When I reach
approximately 200 pages, I start a new file so that my
document doesn't get too long and unhandy. I have a number of
those files. (Yep, I told you, I've been doing this a lot!)
Also, of course, I keep older versions of each file on backup.
I do consider my personal development journal to be one of the
most important documents I have.
a2) Create a folder (perhaps
called 'PD Journal' or some such) and a number of sub folders
dedicated to each of the subjects you'll be working on (money,
relationships, career, feelings, thoughts & ideas, beliefs,
etc). When you write entries, file the document (entry) in the
relevant sub folder.
B) You could also use some sort of
dedicated diary or calendar software
for your personal
development journal. I don't have any experience with this
sort of thing, but I believe that for instance Google offers a
product called Google Calendar. You can make searches for, say,
journaling software, or freeware diary software, or free
calendar software on the Internet.
Please be careful
about how you store your personal information,
suggestion is to not use a system where your data is stored on
the Internet itself.
One of the purposes of keeping a
personal development journal is to work on the most personal
things imaginable (including revealing your darkest secrets).
You don't want those lying around on an Internet server.
On your personal computer you might even want to password
protect your file (provided you're the type who can remember
What Do You Write in a Personal
Development Journal? (Angle no. 1)
You can write anything
you want, of course. But as the name suggests, you'll probably
want to focus on your development.
I'll give you two
different angles on the same subject - journal writing ideas.
Depending on your preferences you may prefer no. 1, no. 2 or
Here's angle no. 1 on what you can focus on in
your personal development journal:
- who you are
how you like being that person
- who you choose to be
instead (i.e. what to change)
- how you get to be the
person you choose (incl. what you've tried)
- where you
failed and where you succeeded in your self improvement
- what your life is like
- how you like
living that life
- how you choose to improve it (i.e what
- how you achieve that (incl. what you've tried)
- where you failed and where you succeeded in improving
What Do You Write in a Personal
Development Journal? (Angle no. 2)
I can also offer you a
different way of viewing journal writing ideas / how to keep a
journal of your self improvement and personal development.
This is angle no. 2 ...
Basically you'll want to write
about two big things:
a) You as a person
life as you experience it
Perhaps you could go about
it by (for each of those two main subjects and any subjects
that they entail) this simple seven step template:
Status (what are you and your life like right now?)
Reflection & Evaluation (what's great and what sucks?)
Wants, Visions & Goals (what would you really like to change?)
4) Show Stoppers (what's limiting, hindering and stopping
5) The Break Dance (break those show stoppers -
they're NOT real & true!)
6) Action Steps (what to do to
get where you want to go)
7) Progress & Results (is it
The above seven step template is actually a
brief and simplified version of one part of a huge system I've
made for myself and which I use in my coaching practice.
Being the type I am, I've pretty much thought everything
through and field tested it until I've come up with what works
for me and my clients.
Perhaps, one day, I'll write a
book about it ... :-).
Here's the most important other thing
about using your personal development journal:
Total, radical, ruthless, relentless, unfailing honesty.
You need that. You really do. There's no way around it.
Most people have secrets. Dark things they're not proud of
and want to keep hidden.
I used to, too, but I dropped
that. (No, I no longer keep secrets. Not a one, but that's
Well, if you want personal development
those secrets are something you're going to want to let go at
some point, and the best place to start is in your personal
Why you need that radical honesty
is a long story (for another time). Right now, just trust me:
You will want that total, complete honesty in your personal
7 Great Advantages
Keeping a Personal Development Journal
Some of the
wonderful things about a personal development journal are:
1) You get to play with ideas and possibilities, wants
and needs, dreams and visions.
This is all all very
positive stuff, because the journal is all about making
yourself and your life BETTER!
You want to eliminate a
bad habit or to switch to a much more satisfying job (or even
become self employed)?
Great, note it in your journal,
set a goal, consider what it takes, and then start taking
action. Note your mistakes, failures and successes (i.e. the
ongoing results) in your journal.
2) You get a
huge relief from being able to vent and reveal your darkest
Recording all your REALLY personal stuff -
like what your greatest weaknesses (and strengths) are - and 'what
you did last summer' that you regret and are now going to make
up for is like having a 'shrink' for free.
get to tell some really interesting, personal stories.
My personal development journal, for example, contains a
record of some pretty outrageous things I've tried. When I
felt that my personal growth was too slow I'd test out new
self improvement techniques or personal development methods -
or go meet a spiritual teacher of some sort.
this would lead to very interesting things.
On one self
help seminar I met my love partner, which was not only a
pretty fascinating story in itself, but also a totally life
changing event for me.
Another example is my notes
about some of my inner journeys - to me they're like reading a
fascinating science fiction novel - where I am the
4) You get to notice habits and
patterns plus evaluate and reflect on things you've never
reflected on before.
This really deepens you as a
person and gives you the perfect opportunity to improve your
For example: When was the last time you reflected
on the effect that being bombarded with useless information is
having on you? You know, so-called 'news' on the TV, on the
radio, in newspapers, in magazines, in commercials, in your
work, in your e-mails, in letters, on the telephone, with your
friends and family, etc., etc.
(researcher and writer, particularly writes about trends and
the future) coined the phrase 'information overload'. Back
then he was primarily speaking about the future. Today, that's
what most people have. Information overload makes them
stressed out, clouds their minds and muddles up their
judgement. In other words: Information overload makes you
stupid and weak.
Did you ever think about that? If you
use a personal development journal you might, because one of
the things you get to do is evaluate all sorts of influences
in your life.
5) You get to LEARN from your
What you're keeping is really a reflective
learning journal. You learn a lot when you start recording
your personal development initiatives, and the results of them,
plus noticing your patterns and habits.
you'll discover cycles in your life, and when you do, you can
start to improve your life based on you new knowledge.
For example, by keeping my personal development journal over a
number of years I discovered that every time the season
changed from autumn to winter my energy levels dropped
drastically and I would have a much harder time being joyful,
outgoing, social and productive. I'll get back to that in a
6) You start to take yourself and your
life BOTH more seriously AND less seriously!
sound strange? It isn't. If you are like most people, you
actually have both tendencies.
For instance most people
tend NOT to take their own happiness (the pleasant, 'good'
things in life) seriously enough ...
... and they also
tend to take their unhappiness (the unpleasant, 'bad' things
in life) TOO seriously.
Both behaviors will tend to
make you much more miserable than you have to be.
Keeping a personal development journal will alert you to both
tendencies and give you the opportunity to do something about
Essentially by keeping a personal development
journal you are creating a hotline of communication to BOTH
your subconscious AND your superconscious (your intuition,
your creative self, your bigger self, your higher self, your
essence, your soul, life itself). That's one HOT line of
communication to have!
7) You get to improve your life
in general and yourself as a person.
Obviously this is
by far the most important reason to keep a personal
development journal (or, if you prefer: self improvement
To continue the example mentioned above (from
my personal life) the seasons are quite varied in Denmark,
where I live. During the winter there's not that much actual
daytime, and on top of it being dark most of the time, it's
often nastily cold. This affects me and my life a lot.
Years ago, every time we reached Christmas, I would be
depressed and drained of energy. Not so cool!
Eventually, by looking over my entries in my personal
development journal, I noticed this pattern.
immediately started trying out all sorts of things to change
it, and after approx. three years of experimentation and
steady improvement I learned to manage my energy levels much
Today those winter depressions are a
thing of the past for me.
You can do the exact same
kinds of things in your life. If you start keeping a personal
development journal. :-)
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