Journaling for Personal Growth

By the end of this post, I hope that you will feel a little more motivated to decide on why journaling for personal growth can help you move towards your intentions.

When I talk about personal growth, what do I mean? I think it means capabilities and potential. For myself, it’s my capabilities, noticing my current capabilities, and also my potential. It’s understanding my own personal self. What do I think I’m capable of? What do I think my potential is (not society’s thoughts about my potential – what not what society tells me I should be capable of). 

For some people, this contrast between what society suggests, and what we think our capabilities are, can be confusing and disheartening and frustrating.

Some people have never questioned the messaging they got about their capability and potential, and when they do question that assumption, it can feel very unstable and shaky. Journaling for personal growth can help. 

If you find yourself in this unstable, shaky experience, because you’ve lately started to question what you want compared to what you’ve been told you should want, I get it. You’re not alone. Many people can feel the rug pulled out from under them when they realize “I don’t think I want what I thought I wanted.”

This post is meant especially for you. 

This post contains affiliate links.  I may earn a small commission from qualifying purchases (which could happen if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase). This does NOT result in any additional cost to you.

Mental Redirection 

Seeing the difference between what society tells you you should want and what you actually want might take some mental redirection and unlearning. I’m sure for many of us, especially those of us who are in an older versus younger age, we got an idea of who we should be, and how we should be from media and from society, and from our community. 

At some point we might come to the realization “I don’t want that. I want something different for myself.” (Some people might not know what that something different is).  So the first destination of your next personal growth might be figuring out your potential.

Then, personal growth is all about moving towards that potential in a good way, from a place of desire and excitement,  not from a place of fear or worry that I need to reach that potential, or else.

Let’s not confuse capability and potential with worth and worthiness.

One of my favorite concepts is that all of us, since the moment we were born, are already, and always will be, 100% worthy. 

The Worthy Baby

When a baby is born, we look at that baby and we think “yes, 100% worthy human. You deserve to be here. You deserve respect and humanity. You deserve it because you’re here and you’re human.”

That deservingness and worthiness never changes. 

From that time that the baby is born, then grows up and becomes a terrible 2 toddler or goes through the awkward puberty stage or into the recklessness of young adulthood and even gets into full adulthood –  that person who started out as the worthy baby- is still just as worthy, at any age, as the day they were born. 

You are one of those worthy babies. You are still the equal amount worthy now as the moment you were born, no matter what you have done or not done in life. 

Your Potential 

Now that we’ve established that you’re 100% worthy and always will be, let’s revisit the question of potential. Your potential can just be what you want, what you’re interested in, what lights you up. 

Your potential is not something you do or strive towards in order to make you more worthy. You already are worthy.

Another way to think about your potential is through the idea of a growth mindset excellently explained by  Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck in her book Mindset

People with a growth mindset, who believe their abilities have the potential to grow, flourish and succeed more than those whose mindsets are more fixed and who don’t believe in their potential. 

If you want a shift in your understanding of value of both success and failure, check out this book.

Hierarchy of Needs

Another one of my favorite concepts when it comes to personal growth is thinking about Maslow’s hierarchy. If you recall from Psych 101, there’s a hierarchy of our human needs.

It’s represented in a visual form as a pyramid. The base of the pyramid includes food, shelter and safety. Then the middle of the pyramid includes belonging and self esteem.

 As we climb up, we start out by  making sure that we have food, shelter safety.

Then we fill the need for belonging and feeling connected. 

We fill the need for self esteem. 

The whole time we’re climbing up that pyramid towards self actualization. 

What this climb up the pyramid represents is giving our brain a good problem to solve, a good challenge to meet. Once we’ve already met the challenge of safety and security and belonging, now we can say “okay, I don’t need to create drama in those areas. I’m secure in those areas. What is the next problem I can solve? What is the next challenge I can meet?”

Problems to Solve

I’m using the phrase “problem to solve” in quotes. Because wherever we are in the hierarchy is never a problem. 

If we are in the first level and just looking for food, shelter and safety, that’s our current capability, that’s what we’re solving for. Once we have food shelter and safety, we might be looking for a feeling of belongingness and establishing our own esteem. Again, not a problem, just the area we’re currently growing in.

I’m guessing since you are reading this post, you probably have food, shelter, and safety handled. You’re more curious about self-esteem and self actualization (even if you don’t call it that).

That thing that you’re looking for, that need that you’re fulfilling, that “problem” you’re solving for is your personal growth.

Personal growth means looking for other areas of our existence to improve, not to prove. (we have nothing to prove, we’re 100% worthy).

Examples of Personal Growth Areas

Here are some examples of personal growth areas you might consider for your own “problem to solve:”

  • A new habit (may I suggest consistent journaling)
  • A new skill
  • Development of a talent
  • Deepening of relationship with self

And there are so many other examples too. These were just a few I thought of to get you thinking of the possibilities. 

Why We Climb

We are climbing that pyramid, and we are growing personally just because we want to and just because it would be fun and interesting and engaging to do that. 

One thing that might stop people from pursuing personal growth is a lack of belief that it’s possible. Sometimes, feelings of lack of worthiness may come up here. 

Why We Don’t Climb (Resistance)

If you’re thinking “oh, I would love to achieve that. I would love to create that. I would love to grow into that.” You might also think “but I couldn’t. I’m not sure I can. I’m not sure if that’s attainable for me.”

Here we go: resistance. When we think about what we want, in the areas that we want to grow and what we want to achieve for ourselves, resistance will probably come up and journaling can help us notice, recognize and isolate that resistance. 

The great news is you can decide what you want to do with your resistance. 

Journaling for Personal Growth

Journaling can help you identify and specify your personal growth areas. Then, journaling can also help you identify and specify the resistance to those personal growth areas. 

How can journaling help with personal growth? During a journaling session, you can write down what you want for yourself and explore those areas.  

Then also write down the reasons why you think you might not be able to get what you want for yourself and explore those areas too. 

3 Journaling Suggestions for Personal Growth 

I have 3 suggestions for you to work through this process, either mentally or in the pages of your journal. 

The 3 suggestions are set, move and celebrate.

Set the Intention for Personal Growth

The first suggestion is for you to set the intention. Choose anything you want. Any area of your life you want to grow in. Decide why it’s right for you right now. Then set the intention that you will move towards it. 

It might be helpful to know or think of a reason why you are setting this intention. Knowing why you want something can help you when the resistance pops up.

A really good “why” can be “because I want it.” 

Just wanting something is a good enough reason and you don’t need further justification or clarification, or logical reasoning.

Of course, you can have other reasons besides “I want it.“

You can want a certain area of personal growth so that you can be an example to your children or so that you can provide a better lifestyle for yourself or so that you can feel proud of yourself, whatever reason you choose strengthens the intention that you set.

Move Up the Pyramid

The second suggestion is to actually start to move towards your personal growth. Consider how you will move up that pyramid.  What steps will you take? What obstacles will you face and overcome? What will you learn? What will you try? What will you create? 

You can use each one of the questions that I just mentioned as a journal prompt.

Journal Prompts for Personal Growth

One way you could do this is to decide to journal about your personal growth every day for one week. On the first day of the week write down the intention that you set (that was suggestion number one) on the second on the remaining days of the week answer each of those questions one question a day: 

What steps will I take? 

What obstacles will I face? 

How will I overcome these obstacles? 

What will I learn? 

What will I try?

What will I create? 

Each of those questions helps you better understand the steps that you will take, and since they are all slightly different, they help you look at each of those steps from a different angle and perspective.

Thinking about and writing the answers will give you more insight.

Celebrate Progress and Growth in your Journal

The final suggestion that I have for you is to celebrate your progress. Keep track of your progress.  Journal about it. Tell someone else about your personal growth and your climb up the pyramid. 

You could create a wins list on the back page of your journal, and every time you experience a win,you add it to the list. You could sprinkle celebration prompts throughout your journal.

Sample Celebration Prompts for Personal Growth

Here are a few sample prompts: 

What progress have I made? 

What progress can I celebrate? 

What do I get credit for?

How far have I come?

Hopefully these ideas have given you a little bit more motivation right now to decide on a personal growth area (maybe just because you want it) and move towards it through setting the intention, actually taking the steps and then giving yourself credit once you do.

Your Next Step

What I want you to do right now is write down one possible intention for personal growth. You can change it later. But just to get the ball rolling, think about what you might want to move towards. Write it down, either on your notes app on your phone or in your journal. 

Then, I want you to think and write about how you can lean towards that intention. How might you move towards it? And, finally, how will you celebrate?

Featured Notebook

This week’s featured notebook goes right along with the topic of Journaling for Personal Growth.

It’s a Good Vibes Daily Planner! Get it here: 

It’s an undated daily planner to keep track of everything you have going on.

Every other page is a blank dot graph page for notes and lists including possible plans, things to try, ideas to consider, and everything else.

Each day has open space to write your own time periods and you get a To Do List, a place to write the intention you have set.

You can list out your Gratitude (like I suggested in last week’s post about journaling for stress relief).  

You can note your mood.

Plus, keep track of your daily schedule and there’s plenty of space for notes.

You can see a quick video of this planner on YouTube

In Non Journaling News

If you’re in the East Valley of the Greater Phoenix area (or if you’re willing to travel!) join me on either or both of the next 2 Wednesday nights for a Paint Party

Especially if being creative and trying new hobbies is an area of personal growth you’re interested in. 

I’ll provide you with a pre-outlined canvas and all the supplies and instructions you need to create a fun piece of art. 

You can come alone and meet new friends or bring some friends or family members with you. 

Get all the details and the link to register to Save your Spot at