26 Ideas for Creating a Personal Growth Journal

A bullet journal system for keeping reminders of self-care and personal growth.

Filling out pages of ideas and lists in journals is one of my greatest pleasures in life. I love a good pen and notebook, and carry them everywhere I go in hopes that inspiration will strike. I’m always prepared for a spark in creativity and I feel like it’s a signal to the universe to send good ideas my way.

Because of that, I started using the bullet journal system again recently, and decided that I should make a separate bullet journal style notebook dedicated only to the feel-good stuff like self-care, happy moments, uplifting messages and reminders for the rough days.

As humans, we go through hard things. Every day isn’t sunshine and rainbows, even when we strive to have a positive outlook. We don’t always know how to get out of a funk. So having a physical journal to flip through that’s filled with words from us to read in times of sadness, frustration, stress or complacency is vital to picking us back up. Sometimes we need little reminders that things will get better and that we’re not stuck where we are.

I want to dive into how we can fill our lives with more joy, live our best lives and get through the crummiest moments through our beautiful messages to self.

Get a pen and your prettiest journal (the one you’re always afraid is too pretty to write in) and start filling it with all these lists. Grab any highlights, stickers and all your fun stationery and make this a fun project.

You can even make this a more hygge activity and invite your friends over to make personal growth journals and get cozy.

Here are 26 ideas for filling the pages of your personal growth journal.

1. What to do when you’re feeling down

What steps should you take when you’re feeling down? It’s best to write this on a day you’re feeling good, and list the steps you took today that made you feel this way. Don’t make it unrealistic; just a few pick-me-up actions you can take on bad days. You’ve gotta remember that you’re not going to be in the mood to do these things on a bad day – so make it a simple to follow list that is tried and true to you.

2. A list of things that make you happy

Keep a running list of what lights you up and never fails to make you smile. Sometimes we forget to appreciate the little things and need reminders that there are so many things that bring us joy. Keep it simple and accessible – like creating something new, drinking an iced latte, browsing insta feeds filled with cute puppies. 

3. Acts of kindness

You can pay for someone behind you at the coffee shop, preferably anonymously in a drive thru. Or write a post it note of encouragement and leave it somewhere for a stranger to find. Or maybe simply send a text to your friend to show your support.

4. A list of places you want to go and things you want to do

Create a bucket list of places you want to go, and start checking one of them off the list. If you don’t have the budget to make it happen, start working on how you can save up for a trip. Working toward, anticipating and planning trips is half of the fun of traveling. 

5. Goals for the month, quarter or year

When you’re feeling passionless, it can help to remind yourself of your vision and what you can do right now to get back on track.

Personally, I like to set goals at each of these times. But the most important thing for me when it comes to goal-setting is the actions I’m taking regularly and the systems I have in place.

6. Good poetry and quotes

Write your own or gather your favorite lines from poetry books or blogs. Our favorites are r.h. Sin and Morgan Harper Nichols.We have quotes on what to do when you’re not feeling like enough.

7. Affirmations and mantras

Affirmations and mantras have a bit of a reputation for being cheesy, but when done well, can be so transformational for our mindset. Repeat affirmations while looking in the mirror. Use the mantras while you meditate, first thing in the morning, or while you’re driving – the options are endless.

8. Mood tracker

If you’re testing out new habits, a good way to know if it’s having a positive affect on you is by creating a mood tracker. You can make it as artsy or basic as you want, but it is so nice to see a visual representation of how you’re doing – especially if you’ve been feeling a wave of mood swings lately.

9. Personal growth books to read

We’re a little obsessed with personal development books over here, and find that there are so many wonderful words of advice in them. Here’s a list of books we love for becoming your best self. Grab a copy of one, highlight it and use it in those times of 

10. A letter to your past self

We all have old childhood wounds we need to heal from. What do you wish you knew when you were younger? Write down all the things your younger self needed to hear.

11. A letter to your future self

What is your future self in five years time doing? What does your life look like? Write about what that life looks like, what you’re doing with your career, how you’re feeling, and get specific. What has changed about you and your lifestyle?

12. A morning routine checklist

If you struggle with snoozing until you’re frantically running around the house to get ready, it might be time for a morning routine checklist. The most important part of a morning routine is purpose. Why are you getting up early, and how important is it to you? For the longest time, I struggled with a morning routine, because I wasn’t sure what to do when I first woke up. Create a checklist with at least the first three things you’ll do. 

13. Movies & TV shows that always brings you joy

Invite someone over to watch them, or create a self-care date night to enjoy. Lists of what you love to watch is helpful, because they’ll almost always comfort us and put us in a better mood. Sometimes we just need to kick back and enjoy something that feels familiar.

14. Personal commandments

We stick to habits more when we place our identity with them.

For example:

  • I’m the kind of person who wakes up early.
  • I’m the kind of person who never misses a work.
  • I’m always early.
  • I can’t live without coffee.
  • I could never go without breakfast.

We make these statements all the time, and it becomes our personal rulebook, without us even realizing it. How many things do you say that keep you stuck? Rewrite your personal rulebook and create identity around the way you want to be.

15. Pictures or artwork that you love looking at

If you’re a visual person, adding in pictures and artwork that brings you joy can be a fun way to make your journal more personal.

16. A list of your strengths

Write down all of your best strengths and how you might be able to apply them. Use the Enneagram test or Myers Briggs or StrengthsFinder if you need help with coming up with a list of your strengths.

Here’s a post on how to figure out your strengths and how to use them.

17. Mindset shifts you can make

Is there a way to see things differently? Write down some mindset shifts that you feel good for you. Here are some shifts you can make to get back to feeling good vibes.

18. A list of hobby ideas

What have you always wanted to try but have never gotten around to? Maybe it’s time for a change and you can finally start a new hobby on the list. Here’s a hobby roundup list we’ve created to get you started.

19. Reasons why you’re proud of yourself

We often forget how much we’ve accomplished. When you’re not feeling good, reading about all the things you have done right can be a little boost. You’ve done a lot; don’t forget to celebrate yourself.

20. What makes you feel put together

Is it working out, taking the time to shower and get ready for the day, going outside, wearing a certain outfit? Write it down so you can refer back to it and follow the steps to feel like yourself again.

21. Feel good playlist

Do you have go-to songs that make you happy? Craft a feel-good playlist on Spotify or wherever you listen to music. And write down your all-time favorites. 

22. Hygge practices

Hygge, aka the Danish art of coziness, is all about surrounding yourself with loved ones, slow living and total coziness. How can you feel cozier and slow things down a little? Write down your best slow cooker recipes, and create a list of hygge practices. Here’s a list we created of how to make your home more hygge.

23. Gratitude log

Keep a running list of everything that you’re grateful for, and read through (or add to) it when you’re feeling blue. It’s a good reminder of all the positives that you have in your life. There’s always always always many things to be thankful for, and it can really get us out of a funk when we deeply reflect on how much is going well. 

24. Notes of encouragement from people you love

Have you received any nice cards or personal messages from family or friends? Write down what they say to you. If you don’t have any of that, ask five friends for feedback. It’s hard sometimes to see your own value, but the people who love us can see all of our best traits. 

25. Habit trackers for healthy habits you’re working on

Are you working on new habits? Habit trackers can help you keep a tab on how often you’re keeping up with fitness, healthy eating, early bedtimes, etc. If you’re looking for some habits to include, try these wellness habits that can change your life

26. Challenges to work through

Speaking of habits, challenges can be a great way to introduce a new habit into your life. Try a 30 days of meditation or 5 days of balance challenge. We have a list of cool challenge ideas to try for personal growth.