The National Journal Writing Month will begin again on January 1st. Appropriately, the theme for January is Journaling for Personal Growth and Achieving Goals (see more below.)

A new year is a great time to set new goals, build on previous finished and unfinished goals, and develop good habits for personal growth, enrichment, and positive personal well-being.

As in past months, NaJoWriMo is based on a thematic approach to journal writing, though you don’t have to use the theme to participate in the month-long journaling challenge. Participation can be as simple as writing in your journal or diary for 31 days straight. (Note: here are some other ways to participate in NaJoWriMo)

Goal Setting

Most experienced journal writers know that the power of journal writing lies in writing and reflection. First, writing things down — in a journal, a planner, or a worksheet —is commitment. It’s an action that goes beyond passive thoughts and wishful thinking.

I don’t see writing as a magical force that automatically leads to achieving one’s goals. However, I see writing as a way of making sense of our lives and figuring out how to overcome obstacles and connect with our subconscious thoughts.

I don’t achieve all my goals as planned, and my bucket list still only has about five or six items scratched off, but the act of getting things done guides my writing.

NaJoWriMo, for instance, started as a written goal in my journal. As I wrote my first book, journal writing helped me finish it.  The writing always brought me back to the project after being away from it for a while.

In her book, Write It Down, Make It Happen: Knowing What You Want And Getting It, Henriette Ann Klauser says,

Through your writing, your subconscious is letting you know what you want. Writing speaks to us, gives us clues, sometimes in a roundabout way. Use your writing to interpret the symbols.

Too often, some people think that simply making a list of goals is enough. We’ve often been told to plan how we will achieve our goals. Developing a plan is essential, but writing about goals regularly helps us dig deeper into ourselves and discover the why, how, and when of what we’re striving to achieve.

Klauser says,

In writing it down, of visualizing, there is a constant surrender, a constant working on the issues to keep you from your fulfillment. It is not only about writing things down. There is a parallel course, there is work that has to be done [emphasis added].

Journal writing can bring us back to what is most important, mainly if we write honestly and regularly. Journal writing can help us achieve our goals, improve our studies and relationships, and address habits we’re trying to change or develop, but writing is most useful when getting things done.

It may take much longer to achieve our goals than planned, and sometimes, we don’t achieve what we set out to do. But we get things done, and we even accomplish unexpected achievements.

NaJoWriMo Preparation

1. Select your method of journal writing: pen and notebook, online journaling, or digital journaling using a computer or mobile application.

2. You can complete the NaJoWriMo any way you like, but you might want to complete one of three journal writing challenges for the month.

3. If possible, set aside a scheduled time to write in your journal, such as in the morning before going to work, school, or bed. You’re more likely to finish the writing if you schedule the time.

4. If you are a Twitter user, use the hashtag #amjournalwriting to share about your daily journal writing. You can search for that tag or bookmark this page to see tweets using the tag. Using this hashtag will help spread the word about how helpful journal writing can be for various purposes.

[Tweet “I’m participating in National Journal Writing Month. Join me. #amjournalwriting”]

NaJoWriMo Prompts

Journal Writing Book

Successful people use their journals to keep track of their best ideas, gratitude, growth, and mindfulness. Journaling for Personal Growth and Achieving Goals is the journal to develop and keep track of your goals. This journal is an inspiring source to help you:

  • Think about your personal growth
  • Identify goals
  • Write your goals daily
  • Reflect on your progress
  • Build good habits
  • Write your daily plan of action
  • Set a deadline to achieve your goals
  • Celebrate your successes
  • Spread positivity through creative writing
  • Be mindful of your life.

Journaling for Personal Growth and Achieving Goals is a magnificent gift for anyone who needs encouragement, wants to keep track of their goals, or needs a place to reflect.

NaJoWriMo is set up for you to start on the day you choose, though the official months are January, April, July, and October.

Subscribe to Journaling Prompts

The theme for the January NaJoWriMo is Personal Growth and Achieving Goals. You can subscribe to receive prompts for this theme by heading to the NaJoWriMo Courses page.

You must use NaJoWriMo for your particular needs to get the most out of your journal writing.

Year End Reflection

As last year ends, now might be a good time to do some journal reflection on the past year.

Here are some prompts to get you started with an end of the year reflections:

  1. Did you write goals for this year? If so, review them and see what progress you made.
  2. On the scale of 1-10 what would you rate this year in terms of your personal achievement and well being? 10 being very positive.
  3. Make a list of experiences you most value or are most grateful for this year.
  4. Make a list of what you gained and what you lost in this year.
  5. What changes, both big and small, happened to you in this year?
  6. What was most unexpected in your life in this year?
  7. What got left undone in this year that you still want to accomplish?

One benefit of a year-end reflection is figuring out what you want to achieve in the new year and what you should probably let go of.

Also, I encourage you not to be too hard on yourself. Too often, we don’t acknowledge many external factors that impede our goal, and we blame ourselves for what we didn’t accomplish. Resist doing that. There’s always next month, next year, two or three years from now. We always have time for what is most important in our life.

[Tweet “Just used a few NaJoWriMo writing prompts to do some reflective writing about this year.”]

I hope you’re looking forward to NaJoWriMo as much as I am. Please share how you use your journal to reach your goals. I as usual, I welcome your feedback on NaJoWriMo and how to improve it.

Subscribe Today

Whichever approach you choose to take part in NaJoWriMo, be sure to subscribe for updates from this site. The subscription is free, and you will receive tips, reminders, and suggested resources for getting the most out of journal writing.