The Most Effective Tool For Personal Growth
For years, I refused to start journaling. Despite the many benefits, I saw it as another time suck. After all, I’m terrific at recalling details (famous last words of those who misplace everything)! After tiring from surrendering to limiting beliefs in life & entrepreneurship, I started journaling. As a writer, the thoughts and words quickly fell onto the paper. However, for many, there’s a degree of “Ummm… OK, now what”? when looking at a blank page. Here are some great ways anyone can begin journaling for personal growth.
Tackling the Because
While hitting the ground free-writing can feel like looking for buried treasure hand-tied and blindfolded, focusing on “because” is a simple starting point. Here are a few examples.
- I attract cheaters because…
- The way she spoke to me made me angry because…
- My business isn’t picking up speed because…
- I’m out of breath going up the stairs because…
There are three musts when using this strategy. First, it requires a fair amount of self-awareness. Second, pour in a heaping tablespoon of brutal honesty. And third, ACCOUNTABILITY!!
For example, when reflecting on why you attract cheaters, you can’t stop at “I’m too nice.” Is it because you don’t think you deserve to be the appetizer, entree, and dessert? Do you have commitment issues and prefer to keep it light because you fear abandonment?
Wherever your “because’s” take you, follow in without judgment! It’s just between you and your journal. Find gratitude for the insight it will give you and consider yourself worthy and capable of taking responsibility to make the changes you need to change a situation.
Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve
This next strategy in journaling for personal growth is to reflect on something that sticks out and tackle the would’ve, could’ve, should’ve. If you often find yourself wishing for do-overs, this can help you build conflict resolution habits that make you proud.
For example, if a coworker dumps a pile of their work on your desk and you begrudgingly say “no problem,” your response may haunt you for weeks to come. If you read this post, you know there’s a thin line between being the bigger person and being a doormat.
Would’ve, could’ve, should’ve, connect you with your true feelings about a situation, what you really wanted to say, and what you will say in the future. By thinking about it ahead of time (visually walking through the scenario), you work your “drawing and enforcing boundaries” muscle.
Getting All Artsy Fartsy
After having the pleasure of chatting with Amanda Anderson, owner and artist behind the genius Sketch and Sealed, I had to share her with you!
At www.sketchedandsealed.com, Amanda offers creative alternatives to traditional journaling. Whether you’re replacing written format or want an extra layer, expression through images is brilliant.
Combining both would bring maximum benefit. The art helps you release and express on one level (while connecting you to your inner child and creativity), with the written uncovering behavior patterns and Aha moments.
When_ I _
The “when_ I _” style of journal prompt works as a perfect precursor to the above-mentioned “because” posts. For example, you can write out an observation “When I receive a critique at work, I shut down emotionally… because…”
This prompt is meant to identify a pattern of cause and effect so that you can determine whether or not it’s serving or sabotaging you. It also gives hidden gems that will take you closer to uncovering the root cause and limiting beliefs you hold as a result.
So Many Options For Journaling
While there are many options to help you start journaling for personal development, these are some of my favorites. I use these in my journaling and with my 1:1 clients. There are many other styles of questions and prompts to help you dig deeper, but my intent isn’t to overwhelm you, but rather to inspire you to get started. When done intentionally, these are a great start to building self-awareness and gracefully leading the ongoing Tango between yourself and limiting beliefs.
Let me know which prompts you use and find most helpful!