8 tips to journal for self-growth


Have you tried to journal before only to get overwhelmed by it because you convince yourself you are not doing it ‘right’, doing it ‘enough’, or you simply just don’t know what to write?

This used to happen to me all the time. I would get a journal, try and write in it, start overthinking what to write in it, feel guilty for not writing in it only for it to eventually end up in a box in my closet collecting dust.  Out of sight, out of mind.

Can you relate?

If so, you are not alone.

What I have learned from working in the self-development field as a social worker for the past decade is that people can become easily overwhelmed with all the perceived ‘rules’ involved in any self-development and personal growth activity.

The thing is...there are no ‘rules’ when it comes to your personal growth journey. Because it is just that.

YOUR personal journey.

Yes, there are guidelines you can follow, strategies you can use and advice that most definitely will guide you along your path - but ultimately this is your journey and you have to find what works for you.

There is a no “one size fits all” here.

And this is the same with journaling.

There is no right or wrong way to journal. There are no rules.

This is the magical thing about journaling – it is completely up to you how you want to journal.

It was not until I began to let go of doing it ‘right’ and began to understand why journaling was such a powerful tool in my self-care and self-development journey; that I began to shift my mindset around journaling and fully embrace this powerful practice.

I hope you find this article useful to give you tips, ideas, and inspiration for your journaling journey. But again, these are just ideas and suggestions…take what you love, leave what you don’t.

Find what works for you to get you inspired to start, and keep, journaling.

Why You Need to Start a Journal Today

Before we dive into the tips, understanding why journaling is so powerful helps you to fully embrace the practice.

Not only has journaling been proven to have significant self-care benefits for your mental wellness, but journaling is also a gateway to living a more intentional and conscious life.

All self-development and personal growth starts with awareness.

An awareness of your thoughts, your beliefs and your patterns.

Awareness is always the first step in making any significant change in your life. 

By journaling your ups and downs, your highs and lows, your gratitude, your affirmations, your dreams and your desires you are creating a space where you can look at your life from a bird’s eye view and gain another perspective.

Literally making you the scientist of your life.

It is so easy for us to get caught up in our own self-limiting thoughts and beliefs we have about ourselves – but putting pen to paper allows us to consciously reflect.

Getting us out of our heads and into our hearts.

Not to mention, neuroscience has shown writing things down, like your dreams, desires and aspirations can literally re-program your subconscious mind to help create the life you desire and help you keep new healthy habits.

 8 Tips to Create a Self-Empowering Journal

1. Write Free from Judgement

Let your dreams, fears, hopes, desires flow free from judgement. Think of things you want to do, who you want to be and how you want to contribute to the world. Let yourself re-ignite that light within you and don’t allow self-imposed judgments to enter this book. It is a place of high vibe energy, authenticity, passion, love and rawness.

2. Be as Creative or Simplistic as you Like

Are you a crafter? Cut out magazine photos and paste them in. Are you a minimalist? Keep it clean and all in one colour. Are you a free spirit? Mix up whatever feels right to you. Make it yours. Dream. Be you. Have fun with it.

3. Add in Sprinkles of Gratitude

When you are feeling thankful for something or someone in your life – write it in your journal. Writing out gratitude infuses positive energy into your life and reminds you how wonderful life can be – moving you from a scarcity mindset to an abundant mindset.

4. Add in Affirmations, Mantras and Positive Quotes you Love

When you get a quote or mantra that resonates with you – write it down. Make it big and loud on the page so when you flip through it you are reminded of this quote. Add colour, pictures or keep it minimalist. Whatever you do – capture those words that capture your soul. You will thank yourself later – I promise. Below is still one of my most fav entries that I look at ALL. THE. TIME. Because it reminds me to keep chasing my curiosity.

5. Make Sure to Put the Date on your Entries

Okay this one sounds so simple – but it is so important. When you are reflecting on your journal in the months and years to come, you will see how far you have come, or where you are still staying stuck.  

6. Write When You are Inspired or When Your Intuition Nudges You

Many people give up on journaling because they think they have to do it every day. Regardless of how often you write, the most important thing to do is let your pen flow when you are feeling a nudge or inspired, or needing to get some energy out of you. This shifts journaling from being a chore to being a place of passion and authenticity. 

7. Practice Self Reflection

Awareness is the greatest gift you can give yourself. Having a dedicated place to write all of your hopes, dreams, desires and feelings provides the perfect opportunity for you to be the scientist of your life. To reflect on what you want in life, what self-limiting beliefs may be holding you back and what patterns you may need to work on. You can also use your journal as a grounding strategy for those times in life when you are struggling, not aligned or feeling ‘off-course’.

8. Gift Yourself a Journal You Love

Okay, this is not a necessity, however…. I highly recommend getting a journal that speaks to you as you are going to have it for a while and you want it to evoke happiness in you. There are sooo many beautiful journals out there and as this is a special dream book – treat yourself to one you love. 

Do you journal? Why or why not? Leave a comment below and let me know!

If you are needing help to stop your negative self-talk, or you are wanting to learn how to set intentions for your life, click the links for these free resources to help get you started. 

Meet the author 

 Lora Devries, Social Worker + Holistic Mental Health Blogger

Lora Devries specializes in supporting people who are ready to make changes in their life to create healthy mental health habits so they can live a more conscious and intentional life. After noticing how hard it was for herself and her clients to let go of their self-limiting beliefs and keep healthy habits, Lora immersed herself in neuroscience and quantum physics to understand why. Combining her practical social work skills with the science of the brain and the heart, she supports others to make lasting change from within. Lora guides people to think outside the box, do the inner work, the shadow work and the heart centered work so they can be more confident, happier and self-empowered to create a life based on their definition of happiness.

Instagram: @Lora.Devries
Facebook: Lora Devries Inc 
Pinterest: Lora Devries Inc. 


  • I’m so happy I was led to your blog. You saying that journaling isn’t a one size fit all and there’s no right or wrong way of journaling really resonated with me. That’s a subconscious feeling I had. I’ve journaled off and on for over ten years but always saw my periodic entries as a negative thing. You helped make me aware that there’s no right or wrong, as long as I do it. Thanks for sharing this. Wishing you all the best!

    Mrs. B
  • Thank you for sharing information!

  • B Attar – this is amazing! Thank you for sharing and way to go on getting into this healthy life habit! From someone who had also struggled with mental health, journalling has had a significant impact on my overall health – mind, body, spirit and soul. ✨💕

    Lora Devries
  • I am currently on a journey to self development and I started a journal called the 6 minute diary. It is a really good diary as I have never written one before. It focuses on self reflection and gratitude and just positivity in general. I write in it first thing in the morning then reflect and write again in the evening/before bed. It also has weekly positive questions and a habit tracker.

    I suffer from anxiety and insecurity issues so it is helping me a LOT.

    Thank you for the article and great posts they’re wonderful! x

    B Attar

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