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  • Writer's pictureCassandra Martin-Himmons

8 Ways To Journal So That You Can Develop And Grow

How do you motivate yourself to keep learning?

There are so many ways to do this, from taking classes online, to making use of your local library card, to spending time with others who are knowledgeable. But another way that you can continue to develop, and grow is through journaling.

Journaling can be used as a learning tool that enhances the lifelong learner mindset. Which is important because continuing to grow, develop and progress in life is one of the ways that you can manage your stress before your stress manages you.

In this post, first I’ll talk about how to journal in order to continue your growth process, then I’ll talk about how to journal creatively – which will also help with your progress.

Track Your Habits

This can be habits that you currently have or habits that you want to cultivate. You can use a bullet (or dot) journal and create your own forms of tracking. Or you can use a premade habit tracker. Either way, over time, you’ll be able to look back and see your progress. You will have hard data that can be analyzed which will allow you to make the decisions necessary for your success.


If you are using your journal to reinforce lessons, then note taking is for you. For example, if you’ve taken up baking during the pandemic, you can journal about how a particular recipe turned out, any changes that you made and you might do differently the next time. You can even take pictures of each version of your recipe as part of your learning curve. You can even create a cliff notes version if that suits you best.

Create A Manual

Learning a whole new process? Journaling the in’s and out’s and the steps and protocols can help you make a reference sheet or manual that will cut down your time in the future when your refreshing your knowledge.

Craft Your Way To Greatness

You can use your journal to go deeper into your hobbies and passions. Say you love wine and you’re learning how to properly taste wine. As a newbie you knew nothing but over time you could discern the special notes and layers of the wine. Journaling about your wine tasting helps build your experience with wine.

Or if you’re into a hobby like scrapbooking, you can journal your ideas for future page designs or experiment in your journal with color swatches to form new and different color combinations.

Journaling To Encourage Creativity And Out Of The Box Thinking

One of the things that I love about journaling is that it allows you to get out of the boxes that others sometimes put you into. You can be deliberate in your creativity which will help you to continue to develop, grow and become. Through it, you can tap into both the left and right sides of your brain.

Three easy ways to do this is though the use of mind mapping, guided journaling and free writing.

Mind Mapping

Mind mapping gives you a visual sense of the interconnectivity of various concepts. You take your main idea and write (or draw) it in a circle in the center of your mind map. Then you think of other ideas related to the main idea and each of those ideas gets its own space (inside of a circle) branched off the main idea. For each of those ideas, you think of subtopics and branch those subtopics off the secondary ideas. This continues until the original or main idea is developed in very fine detail.

Mind mapping is an out of the box way of journaling and lets you see the big picture of a particular topic. You can use it to help you start thinking about details so it’s good for working out problems or developing ideas.

Guided Journaling

Guided journal work by providing prompts either around a single topic or a wide variety of topics. One great one to help you stretch your creativity is called “Wreck This Journal.” It has you drawing outside the lines, smear things or otherwise create controlled chaos 😊. Do you really love the idea of writing but have a hard time figuring out what to write about? Then find a journal with prompts that will make it easier for you to express yourself.

If you’re trying to work on a specific project or goal, then come up with a list of questions that you want the answers to or that you think will help you figure things out. Set them aside for a few days or weeks. Then you can come back and use those questions as the prompts to guide you through whatever it is that you’re working on.

Free Writing

Free writing is very similar to brainstorming. When you free write, think of the issue that you’re going to write about, then just let the words flow. Don’t censor yourself. Whatever it is that comes to mind about that topic – just write it. If you want, you can set a timer and write for a specific amount of time or just write until you can’t write any more. Later you can go back and look for patterns or themes that you can use either to develop and grow or to strengthen your creativity.

So there you have it, a myriad of ways that you can use journaling to help you learn, grow and develop your creativity. It won’t necessarily be easy, but you can do it, because it’s all about Making Time.

Let’s talk. How do you use journaling as a learning tool? Let me know in the comments section.


Cassandra Martin-Himmons is a facilitator, stress management coach and author of “Yes I’m Grateful,” a gratitude journal. She believes in empowering her clients to help them manage their stress and increase self-care. In her spare time, she enjoys papercrafting, volunteering and travel. Connect with her on Instagram or LinkedIn

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