5 Journaling Ideas for Self-Development

“Dear diary”… many people associate journaling with angsty teenagers and long musings about unrequited love. But despite their reputation, diaries are actually a really useful tool for self-improvement. Journaling allows us to reflect on ourselves, our thoughts and our day-to-day lives. It helps with setting short and long term goals and manifesting positive change. So, whether you simply want to document your thoughts, or use a journal to reach your goals, grab a notebook and a pen and pick one of these five journaling ideas to get started.

Take some time in the evening to reflect on how you felt during the day, and why. This will help uncover patterns of negative thinking and will make you more aware of your thoughts and feelings in your day-to-day life. Keeping track of your mood can help you connect certain feelings with events or habits in your life – for example that you tend to feel down after meeting certain people or tired and irritated after eating large meals. Noticing these connections allows you to make small changes in your life that will improve your overall mood and attitude towards daily life.

Listing a few things that made you smile each day can do so much for your mood. Again, the magic word is awareness – we take a lot of things for granted, and taking some time to reflect usually makes us realise that life consists of many small joys and beautiful moments. Some inspiration: a warm shower in the morning, a nice homemade lunch, fresh air and sunshine, a short walk, a good podcast or a nice chat with a friend.

Trying to eat more healthily? Then you should plan ahead and write things down. Setting intentions is key here, and if you plan ahead and are prepared, you’re way less likely to fail. So, instead of buying that afternoon chocolate bar, plan your healthy snacks for the week and have them ready in your bag for when you feel peckish. Writing down a meal plan will also save you money, as you can do a weekly shop and meal prep in advance, instead of buying overpriced ready-meals when hunger strikes.

This one’s for the advanced self-improvement enthusiasts, as it requires you to prop yourself up and jot down your dreams as soon as you wake, rather than going back to sleep and forgetting about them. Ever had a really interesting dream and wondered what it means, only to wake up in the morning, not able to remember the details? Dreams can tell us so much about ourselves and offer a unique window into our subconsciousness mind. They can help us uncover feelings we’re not even aware of. Allegedly, dreams can even help to practice skills that can then be used in real life. And lastly, we have dreams to thank for smash hits like the Beatles’ ‘Yesterday’ and Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Purple Haze’ – the musicians have both claimed in interviews that the inspiration to those songs came to them in their dreams.

To-do lists. We love to hate them, don’t we. Generally, writing down all the things you need to do is helpful, and ticking a finished task off a list feels great. However, to-do lists can get overwhelming and be a source of stress and anxiety. So why not counter that with a ‘done’ list? Taking a few minutes out of your day to jot down all the things you accomplished will give you a sense of achievement. It will also make you realise how much you actually accomplish, even if that big to-do list stays untackled. Nothing’s too small for the done list – not everyone makes their bed or goes for a 10 minute walk during their lunch break after all.


Gina is a content writer at Papier, a fast-growing, personalised stationery start-up that specialises in offering exclusive collections of high quality products, from notebooks & cards to wedding invitations & photo books, which can all be customised. She loves writing content that helps people plan their dream wedding, preserve special memories and organise their lives, all with the help of beautifully designed stationery.


Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books–written by men–barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

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