Getting into the habit of a new habit is the hardest part. We may jump into something new wholeheartedly, but making it a habit is another story.

Many of us aren't very reliable when it comes to committing to something, and sticking to it through thick and thin. We start off enthusiastically, but we're so easily distracted.

Certainly this is understandable. Life gets busy with work, family, and other commitments, and sometimes staying on top of new self-improvement rules can seem daunting on a day-to-day basis. Yesterday, you were 101% committed to a fresh start on a new healthy habit, but today your lofty intentions were derailed by a million little things.

You can use your journal to be more successful with your self development initiatives. It acts as a gentle, friendly reminder that we need to nurture our goals consistently if we want them to flourish, much like we need to water plants every day if we want them to blossom.

The problem is that journaling itself is a habit, and your procrastinations around other habits and goals apply just as well to your journaling practice.

Before you can use journaling to help reach goals, it must be comfortably established as part of your lifestyle, something you are glad to do almost anytime. When your journaling is no longer an obligation, when it has become a pleasurable everyday practice, then it can become your most powerful personal resource for success.

In order to move your journal writing through early awkward stages and on to a relaxed and intimate relationship, go about the process slowly and as steadily as possible. Pick an opportune time of day and, at first, just write for five or ten minutes, setting a timer to keep track.

Stop writing before you are ready to stop. Leave the activity while you are still wanting more of it. This will help you to return to it tomorrow.

Another crucial step in making journaling a well-established habit for your life is to be sure you reflect on the journaling process itself, as well as on your previous writings. Reflection will give you appreciation, inspiration, and continued dedication. If you fail to review things now and then, you can easily underestimate your achievements and miss altogether the profound magic of the practice.

Once you journal every day because it's part of your lifestyle, you can use the tool as a daily dose of focus for achieving other goals.

At the beginning of each week, write down one goal for the next seven days. Pick only one so it is more manageable and not overwhelming.

Each day, set aside five or ten minutes to reflect on your goal for the week and jot down notes on your progress. You won’t have major news or breakthroughs every day, but write down even the smallest ideas, victories, and questions.

You can keep at it, even if it gets tough at times, because your journaling keeps you in line by providing proper perspective. Your journal is your coach, who believes in you and never lets you down. This one powerful habit can command all other personal habits and make us at last into the person we want to be.

Author's Bio: 

By Mari L. McCarthy - Journal / Writing Therapist. Are you looking for more information on journaling and its therapeutic effects? Please visit My trademarked program, Journaling for the Health of It! ™, helps my clients live healthier and happier lives. I recently published an interactive ebook, 53 Weekly Writing Retreats: How to Use Your Journal to Get Healthy Now; and a collection of primers in Mari's Most Musefull Journaling Tips.