Using a journal as a meaningful tool to self discovery and growth is invaluable. Instead of the ‘dear diary’ once used to vent negativity, this outlet can be used to better understand yourself and to foster emotional growth. Once you make a commitment to examine your values and motivations through writing, you will define the characteristics that guide the choices you make in your life. Your journal is a place to align focus on what you want, rather than what you do not want. Through writing you can better organize your thoughts, define goals and create action plans.

This may not be your first time using a journal, and if so you understand the commitment it takes. Set aside 20 to 30 minutes a day to work in your journal and practice this to make journaling part of a healthy lifestyle.

If you have are not sure where to begin start by defining the ideal situation in all facets of your life:

Career, Business and Finance
Relationships (family, career, friends and yourself)
Health, Fitness and Body Image
Fun and Recreation
Physical Environment
Emotional Development
Spirituality and Life Contribution

As you describe the details of your ideals (dreams) visualize being there using all your senses and become very specific using descriptive language to bring it to life.

Move on to create action plans that you can begin to implement to move toward what you have described in the various areas of your life. Start out broad then narrow your thoughts down to very specific details. Break your goals into steps by setting small attainable goals that will create a path to achieving those ideals in each part of your life. Use your journal as a place to evaluate and adjust. Look back at each step and reflect. It is all about learning, even when things do not go as expected. Set palatable timelines and become accountable to yourself. At the same time forgive your missteps, learn and move on. Ensure you take time to celebrate your journey and reward yourself often, sometimes by simply allowing yourself to feel pride.

As you plan and progress, you will undoubtedly have thoughts that provoke fear and doubt. Use these feeling to be reflective and proactive. Practice in writing changing these thoughts and overcome the negative voices that will surface. When you have a negative thought try to relate it to a belief you have about yourself, the world or others. This belief is neither right nor wrong, but it may be not moving you forward and indeed holding you back. Define the belief, look at where it came from and write about how you can change it. Continually ask are my thoughts words and actions supportive of my ideal future, if not how can I think or do things differently? Record these exercises in detail and revisit when a similar situation arises.

The journaling experience is intended to create a momentum in your life and to give a satisfaction that has you looking forward to recording your thoughts and refining your life plan. Your journal will create a clear picture of where you intend your life to go and build an agenda to get you there. Start your journal today and soon you will have a record to look back on that will reflect how much you have learned and how considerably you have grown.

Author's Bio: 

Lisa Colbert created Vital Spark as part of her natural progression through education, career, parenting, business ownership and personal and professional development coaching. She is the author of the IF EVERYONE… poem.

The Vital Spark Mission: To become more of what I want to be by helping others become who they were meant to be.

Visit to learn more about Lisa and to help her share the IF EVERYONE… poem to change the world.