Do you keep a journal to document your life? If not, it could be a great outlet for you to express your feelings and keep memories alive. People take up journaling for a variety of reasons, and many do so in the hopes of bettering themselves.

You might be wondering how writing down your thoughts can help you become a better person and improve your life. When you’re able to go back in time and read events that occurred and how you viewed them, it opens up your perspective and teaches you about yourself. 

How you handle conflict, the way you see the world, and how you interact with others are all things you can learn from keeping a journal. So, let’s look at five ways to keep one for self-improvement. 

Express Gratitude

Expressing gratitude in your daily life has proven to have numerous benefits, including enhanced empathy and reduced aggression, according to Psychology Today. It’s easy to fall into the habit of focusing on the negatives, which leads to a less fulfilling life.

Constant negative thought patterns can lead to heightened stress, anxiety, and depression. It’s difficult to improve yourself or move on from situations if you can’t control how you view them. To see positive change, you need to force yourself to focus on what you’re grateful for instead of everything that’s going wrong. 

Use your journal to jot down three things you’re grateful for each day. You can be as detailed or general as you want as long as it’s sincere. If it’s challenging at first, which it could be, then refer to the simple pleasures. Did you have a yummy cup of coffee this morning? Did a stranger smile at you on the way to work? 

Choose to be grateful for the small things so you eventually see the beauty in them too.

Take Accountability

What’s the point of keeping a written record of your life if you change the facts? The truth is, sometimes we leave out the messy details when we write because we want to come out the bigger, stronger, and better person. But the truth isn’t always pretty and your experiences won’t be either.

When writing, be honest and don’t leave out specific details because you don’t like them or how you handled them. Part of improving yourself includes being brutally transparent about your actions and words and how they affect those around you. For example, if you’re having trouble growing your business, be honest about what you could’ve done differently.

It’s impossible to make positive changes in yourself if you aren’t open and willing to go through the difficult process. Becoming a better person isn’t easy, but you’ll see results sooner by taking accountability for yourself.

Explore Your Creativity

Your journal doesn’t only need to be for writing. You can use it to express yourself through photos, drawings, graphics, lyrics, and so much more. When it comes to creativity, the world is your oyster and no limits exist. 

Artistic journaling isn’t new as it’s a great way to explore your identity through creativity. In recent years, bullet journaling has become an increasingly popular way to organize your time, set goals, and write about your life. It mixes writing with media for an all-in-one journaling experience. If you aren’t crazy about putting pen to paper, you can start a blog instead. 

Whatever methods you choose, don’t hold back from turning your journal into a visual project if that’s what you want. 

Join a Friend

Perhaps you have a busy schedule or can’t for the life of you remember to journal as often as you’d like. When you set a writing goal, it’s essential to stick to it so that it becomes a recurring habit. Otherwise, your entries will be eons apart and won’t make for a cohesive reading experience.

It’s easier to journal consistently when someone else does it with you. So, find a friend who wants to journal every day and hold each other accountable. You can also join a membership of other writers to feel part of a community. That way, even when you don’t feel like doing it, you have someone to encourage and motivate you to push through.

Track Your Personal Growth

Similar to how a business tracks its campaigns for progress, you can use your journal to track your personal growth. This is easier to do if you set goals for yourself first.

Some goals you can put in place might include:

  • Exercising a few times a week
  • Calling a friend you haven’t seen in a while
  • Practicing open communication with your colleagues instead of staying quiet

From there, you continue journaling as usual. After some time, you can look back at what you wrote and see how you did and if you stuck to your objectives. If not, you can assess where you went wrong, what people or situations to avoid, and how to handle situations in the future better. 

Your Turn

If you want to keep a journal that helps you become a better person, what are you waiting for? There are tons of benefits to documenting your life, and all of them lead to improving who you are at your core and doing so in a fun, productive way. How will you use journaling for self-improvement?