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How to Improve Your Well-Being and Achieve Your Goals by Keeping a Journal

Writing in a journal has many advantages for your health and well-being. Find out what they are and the ways you can use writing to improve your life.
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Keeping a journal can prove to be one of the best decisions you’ve made. You can do incredible things when you take the time to sit and write about your plans and thoughts.

People have documented their lives for thousands of years, from the stoics like Marcus Aurelius to Anne Frank’s famous diary. You could say that some of the Egyptian hieroglyphics were a form of journaling.

egyptian symbols
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Today people journal to relieve stress, keep track of their goals, and brainstorm ideas.

Writing down your goals increases the likelihood that you’ll reach them by 42%. So, if you’re writing about them every day, then you’ll really have an advantage! Aside from that, here are even more benefits you can expect from journaling.

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The advantages of keeping a journal:

  • It gives you the time to explore your life and discover what’s working and what needs to change. Acknowledge your successes and hack your mistakes. 
  • You can get bursts of valuable insights to solve issues.  
  • It strengthens the immune system and can even decrease asthma symptoms.  
  • Reduces stress and anxiety and increases well-being.  
  • Writing fortifies your working memory

As you can see, this ancient practice can be life-changing! There are also many different ways to do it.

How to use your journal to boost your well-being:

1. Journal to vent your frustrations

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Journaling allows you to vent out what’s bothering you, so you don’t have to keep it all inside. It’s frowned upon to blow up on people in public. So, keep your cool and let it out through your writing. That way, you can silently scream your heart out onto the paper as much as you’d like. However, you might want to destroy the evidence afterward.  

Releasing your frustrations will make you feel so much better. It can help you process the emotions and let go of anger, jealousy, and bitterness.  

It doesn’t have to be Shakespearean. If you want, you can cuss to your heart’s delight and break all the grammar rules!

2. Track your progress in your journal

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It can be difficult to notice how much you’re progressing each day. But if you read your past entries, you’ll realize that you’ve actually accomplished a lot. Set deadlines in your journal and include what you need to do to reach your goal. Also, what’s working well and what isn’t?

3. Journal to heal past traumas  

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“Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open”

—  Natalie Goldberg

Keeping a therapy journal is an effective method to promote healing. Expressing your emotions can help you process them, furthermore, it’s free.

Sometimes you might need “someone” to listen, and that someone could be your notebook or laptop. A journal is like a free therapist that is always available.

Studies from Cambridge University discovered that writing about trauma for 15 minutes boosted participant’s well-being. It helped people understand themselves and discover solutions to their problems.

However, if it makes you feel worse then skip this step.

4. Encourage yourself in your journal  

woman in blue floral top sitting while using journal.
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

“Journal writing gives us insights into who we are, who we were, and who we can become”

—  Sandra Marinella

In your journal, you could brag about your accomplishments and qualities. Go all out and include every remarkable thing you’ve done and the best qualities you have. Then if you feel down and discouraged someday, you can read it for a quick boost of confidence.  

Writing about your situation can really help get you through some rough times. I journaled off and on throughout “The Shasta days,” and I’ll probably include parts of it if I write a book about it. It was a crazy time! Writing helped me not lose my mind after 9 months of no running water or refrigerator. Hopefully, you don’t ever experience that.  

5. Clarify your thoughts

Journal to clarify your thoughts.
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“Journal writing is a voyage to the interior”

— Christina Baldwin

Writing down how you feel helps you to understand what you need to do next. It can help you to communicate better when you speak to people also. Therefore, it will improve your relationships and decrease arguments.

6. Ease rumination  

Journal to ease rumination.
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“Sitting for even five minutes with a journal offers a rare cease-fire in the battle of daily life”

—  Alexandra Johnson

Have you ever had a negative thought play on repeat in your mind? I know, it’s no fun. But writing can help get it out of your head so you can let go of it for the time being. This can be extra helpful before you go to bed because it’ll help you get to sleep sooner.  

7. Increase your emotional intelligence  

collage photo of woman
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

“Documenting little details of your everyday life becomes a celebration of who you are”

—  Carolyn V. Hamilton

When you write down how you feel, your emotional IQ naturally rises. You become more calm and stoic. No longer will you get upset at the smallest inconvenience, and you become more resilient.

8. Re-read your journal

photo of person with journal
Photo by Alina Vilchenko on

“Journaling is a great way to pay attention to “how it all came to be”. In looking back, you gain insight into your challenges, lessons, and perseverance”

—  Melissa Steginus

Reflecting on your life improves mental and physical health. If you don’t do this, the obstacles that hold you back could keep you stuck for years.

How can you learn from your mistakes if you don’t reflect on them? You might be surprised at how much you can change after just one month. Re-read your old entries and imagine someone else wrote them.

That way, you won’t have a bias towards yourself, and you see the whole picture. Where did you mess up or make a bad choice? What you did right? Then you can use these lessons to boost your progress.  

Helpful tips:

photo of woman sitting by the table while writing
Photo by Anthony Shkraba on
  • Add 15 minutes of journaling to your daily system or routine.
  • Don’t try to make it flawless. Just get the words out, and let it flow.  
  • Write what’s bothering you but don’t obsess about it.   
  • Think about solutions more than problems.  
  • Also, don’t forget to include the things you’re thankful for that day. 
  • Always end your writing session on a positive note!

In short, journaling can be incredibly eye-opening. Also, when you’re old, you could revisit the past via your writing.

So, put on some headphones, play some music, and just type. Write every thought that pops in your head, and don’t worry about grammar; just let the words flow. If you make it a habit, then you’ll increase your well-being and improve your health!

Also, don’t forget to subscribe below to Motivated Progress so you can learn more valuable tips to make the most out of life!

Do you journal?

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  1. I find journalling to be one of the most effective forms of personal therapy. I never knew it fortified my working memory too! Thank you for sharing. Great post 🙏

  2. Sheryl, Your words are eloquent and meaningful. They inspire us to greatness. They move us to action. Thank You!

    ~ Trent

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