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7 Journaling Ideas for Developing Self-Awareness

Updated: Oct 19, 2023

I’m always encouraging my coaching clients to start reflective journaling if they haven’t already been using this tool for personal development. Many of us journal to capture what’s been happening in our daily lives, to express our gratitude, and even to celebrate our successes.

But, reflective journaling is an empowering tool for getting to know your Self better. And, this is what I want my clients to discover – their inner Being. Creating self-awareness is a crucial step towards understanding yourself and making positive changes in your own life.

However, when I suggest writing a reflective journal, many of my clients don’t know what to write about. If you’re in the same boat, don’t stress. Use these seven tips below to get started.

1. Identify Your Moods and Triggers

Start paying attention to your moods every day. List them in a notebook and then find time in the evening to reflect on your moods. Identify your emotions – were they happy, sad, angry, or frustrated?

Describe what the emotion felt like for you and where you felt it in your body. Did the sadness make your heart feel heavy or painful? Or did the happiness feel like fluttering butterflies in your stomach? Reflect on the actions you took based on the moods or emotions you were feeling. Write all of this down in your journal.

Can you identify the triggers for these moods? It could have been an event or something someone said to you in a conversation. Whatever it was, write it down in your journal. Your moods are an indicator of what you were thinking. What were those thoughts?

By exploring yourself from the inside out, you’re starting the process of understanding what thoughts you hold and how they determine your emotions and your actions.

2. What Would Make a Better Story?

What stories do you keep telling yourself and inevitably, to anyone you talk to? Are you aware of these stories and where they come from? And, do these stories serve you or not? Defining moments in our lives become our stories – both positive and negative. The trick is to identify which stories should be told and which ones should be shelved.

Think of defining moments in your life and describe how they’ve impacted you. Has this story brought you to where you are today? Does telling the story make you feel happy or sad? What can you learn from this experience?

If the story doesn’t serve you, you can change it. If you were to create a better story from this defining moment how would you describe it? Write it down in your journal.

3. How do You Spend Your Day?

Do you know how you spend your day? By identifying the quality of your daily activities, the people you interact with, and the thoughts you experienced, you’ll be more self-aware of what serves you and what doesn’t. This way, you can determine what made you feel good and what didn’t.

Most of us are guilty of wandering through life mindlessly. And, yet if you took the time to observe yourself and what you do every day, you can add more meaning to your daily life. You can start to identify activities that energised you and those that bring your moods down. What bored you and what got you excited? These are questions you should be reflecting on every day to get the most out of living a fulfilling life.

This isn’t an exercise in monitoring your daily tasks. Instead, it’s about reflecting on what inspires you so you can do more of it while removing those activities or interactions that have no purpose anymore.

4. What Decluttering do You Need to Do?

We’re all familiar with the idea of decluttering physical objects in order to create a more peaceful environment to live in. And, you could journal about what it feels like to realize that grandma’s antique rocking chair really irritates you and how much you would love to get rid of it! But, decluttering your mind of mental thoughts that no longer serve you is also essential for a peaceful soul.

Journal the various thoughts you hold that keep you from moving forward. Identify what memories you still hold onto and why you’re afraid to let them go. You could also identify conversations that need to take place but you’re too scared to start the process.

By learning to let go and declutter your life, both internally and externally, you create space for new things to come in. Your energy levels will improve and new opportunities will present themselves. Describe in your journal why decluttering needs to take place and watch the space!

5. Discovering the Awesomeness of Your World

It’s very easy to get bogged down in the challenges of everyday life. And, not seeing just how awesome your world actually is. Spend time every day seeing and acknowledging what's awesome about your life. Reflect on the simple, ordinary happenings and identify how special these moments actually are. Write your thoughts down in your journal.

By expressing gratitude and giving thanks for the awesomeness of your own world, you’re expanding your love and light. You’re raising your vibrations to receive more of the beauty that is life. You start to appreciate the flower blooming in your garden or the birds singing while taking your early morning walk.

You could identify what makes you an awesome person as well as what makes every other person you engage with the amazing beings they are. Each and every one of us has special characteristics unique to us. By being aware of these and acknowledging them, you’re tapping into the awesomeness of yourself and others.

6. Facing Your Fears

We often avoid writing about our fears. But when you do, you’re allowing yourself to tap into your inner powers. By facing your fears head-on, you’re building your confidence and self-esteem by taking on challenges that normally frighten you.

Identify what scares you and then challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone. Reflect on where this fear came from and what core belief you’re carrying. When you're able to identify the root cause of your fear, you can start to change it.

Our fears are often only an illusion and when you realize this, you’ve got the potential to do absolutely anything you want to do. By identifying your innate fears and reflecting on them, you are learning to take back your personal power.

7. Being in Harmony With the Universe

Many of my clients express their desire to live a harmonious life. But, what does this look like for you? Being in harmony with the Universe requires living in a conscious state. How can this be achieved? What actions do you need to take to tap into the energy field? Describe your reflections in your journal.

Getting into a meditative state before reflecting on these questions will help you to find some clarity. Meditation raises your vibrational level, helping you to tap into the Source. Going for a walk in a local park or quiet suburb is another way of clearing your mind while exploring what it means to live a harmonious life.

By reflecting in your journal, you’ll discover what it means for you to be in harmony with the universe. Each one of us will have a different answer and that is fine. Remember, you’re your own person with unique qualities so find what works best for you so you can find harmony and balance for your mind, body, and soul.

What You Need for Reflective Journaling

If you’ve decided to venture into reflective journaling, you’ll need to prepare yourself for the journey. This includes having the following:

  • Quiet time every day to write without any interference

  • A place where you can write without being disturbed

  • A journal

  • A pen

  • A willingness to be open to exploring your Self

  • Curiosity

Final Thoughts

Self-reflection is empowering and allows you to grow through self-awareness. Journaling is one way of capturing all your thoughts while finding solutions at the same time. The more you reflect and write in your journal, the more you’ll discover your Self. And, the more you’ll discover the amazing inner resources available for your to tap into.

This post was originally published on October 18th, 2021, and updated on November 16th, 2022.

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