Self Improvement Through Journaling

Posted by guest author Chris Lloyd

I have tried almost every form self improvement there is… meditation, NLP, hypnosis, goal setting... you name it! All of them can be helpful, but if I could only recommend one thing to someone beginning an earnest self-improvement program- I would definitely go with keeping a journal.

If you are interested in self-improvement it is because you are not happy with some part of your life (maybe every part of your life). In many cases it is safe to assume that your current situation is a result of your thoughts and behavior patterns. Self reflection helps a lot to get to know those patters and make modifications where necessary.

A journal encourages self-reflection and introspection. The act of writing about yourself and your actions forces you to examine exactly what you are feeling and doing. It is extremely difficult to write about your day without examining your actions more objectively. Journaling on a regular basis helps you to start learning the patterns that are affecting your life. It is an excellent medium for self discovery.

There are many ways for you to reflect on your patterns. Journaling, however, is the simplest and most flexible way. It can take as much or as little time as you want. It can be very formal or very casual. You can use an old-fashioned journal or use something digital (like blogging). And almost any way you maintain a journal, it is essentially free.

How to start

The only problem for some people is getting started. I have been a fan of journaling for several years now and I have helped several friends to get started. Some people don’t know where to start. I tell them to just write one sentence. It starts the ball rolling and most people won’t stop at one sentence. Some people need a little more structure to get started. I give these people some questions to answer when they write. Talk about the best or worst thing you did in a day. Write about what you are grateful for or what you could improve on in the future.

Self discovery or more specifically, self improvement might be the best thing about keeping a journal. As long as you start reflecting, there really is no wrong way to do it. So, try it now.

Discussion Questions:
1. Do you keep a journal? Is it on paper or in the form of an online blog (personal diary)?
2. How much has it helped you in your path of self discovery?
3. If the answer of the first question is “no” then will you consider starting a journal?

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  1. I have always kept a journal since I was a small child. It is a great opportunity to reflect on your life and it has helped me discover where I go wrong and how to correct things. I would highly recommend this as a form of self help!

  2. I once kept a paper journal for a short while, although not for self improvement. I'd have to say, it's an invaluable therapy tool, that I'd recommend it to anybody.

  3. I used to keep a journal. But I got annoyed when my family members started peeking on it and teased me about the secrets that I wrote in it. However, I still keep a journal for the important events of my life. As of now, I don't have any plans of making another journal. I'm sadly too busy.. :(

  4. Hey Print

    You bring up a good point. There are a number of journal software programs that provide encryption so prying eyes can't read it.

    I know that time is always an issue, but even something as simple as one sentence about the most important thing that happened in a day can be helpful

  5. Chris Lloyd, thanks for this wonderful guest post.

    Yes, i also agree that journaling can be greatly beneficial. i'd like to say that, i also used to keep a diary 2 years back. i wrote on it for over 3 years and it has helped me a lot to become the person i am today.

    thanks once again and sorry for the late reply. my home's net connection was out.

    thanks CS, JH, PBC for your words.