How To Set And Achieve Goals With Journaling?

Are you looking for ways to become more productive and efficient in reaching your goals? If so, journaling might be just the thing you need. 

Even if writing doesn’t come naturally to you, don’t worry – this post is going to take away any hesitation associated with it as we explore how starting a journal can help you better understand yourself and achieve success. 

From setting daily intentions that will keep you on track, to creating accountability logs of progress towards your objectives, learn why taking up journaling should be your next step in reaching greatness!

What Does Science Say About  How Journaling Helps Goal Achievement

Scientific research suggests that journaling goals can significantly help in goal achievement. 

This is mainly due to its ability to enhance self-efficacy beliefs and motivation. 

According to a literature review published on, there is a strong correlation between writing, motivation, and achievement, especially in academic settings.

A positive impact on student achievement…

Professional development initiatives in writing instruction can significantly enhance student achievement. 

For instance, incorporating writing exercises like poetry in science classes, as part of professional development, can foster critical thinking skills essential for academic success.

An effective tool for change…

Journaling about procrastination has been transformative for college students, offering insight into their delay tendencies. 

It improves time management, academic performance, and goal achievement, serving as a creative project for self-improvement and personal growth.

Writing in a journal each day allows you to direct your focus on what you accomplished, what you’re grateful for, and what you’re committed to doing better.

Can help students generate content and discover purpose…

By setting defined writing goals in various disciplines, including science, students can create meaningful content and identify their purpose. 

Likewise, establishing writing goals for preschoolers enhances their reading skills and overall academic success

Scientific evidence strongly supports the idea that journaling can help with goal achievement by enhancing motivation, self-efficacy beliefs, critical thinking, and understanding of learning content.

How Benjamin P. Hardy Used Journaling to Achieve His Goals

Benjamin P. Hardy, a renowned organizational psychologist and author, attributes his success to the daily habit of journaling. His conviction about journaling has only grown stronger over the years. 

“Journaling is not just about writing one’s life story but also about authoring it

   -Benjamin H.

Hardy uses his journal as a tool for self-improvement and achieving his goals. 

He shares old journal entries to demonstrate how this practice has significantly contributed to his personal and professional growth. 

He has often stated that daily journal writing is one of the most powerful habits one can acquire and has listed 23 benefits of journaling, underlining its transformative potential.

In his book “Willpower Doesn’t Work,” Hardy explains that success is more than just willpower. 

It’s about creating the right environments for success, and journaling plays a crucial role in this process.

Through journaling, Hardy is able to reflect on his actions, understand his motivations, and plan strategic steps toward his goals.

Why Combine Goal Setting with Journaling?

Combining goal setting with journaling is a powerful strategy that can help you achieve your ambitions more effectively. 

Here are five reasons why:

  • Achieving Goals Faster: This practice not only allows you to envision your objectives with precision but also aids you in strategizing your actions effectively, all while ensuring you can track progress consistently.
  • Navigating Challenges: Writing about your goals and the challenges associated with them helps you find effective solutions. It offers a platform to brainstorm, analyze problems, and devise strategies to overcome obstacles.
  • Improving Memory and Recall: Journaling improves memory and recall. When you write down your goals, it reinforces them in your mind, making it easier to remember and stay committed to them.
  • Decreasing Stress and Anxiety: Journaling can help reduce stress and anxiety. Writing about your goals and the steps you’re taking to achieve them can provide a sense of control and reduce feelings of overwhelm.
  • Understanding the ‘Why’ Behind Your Goals: Goal journaling encourages introspection and helps you understand the reason behind your objectives.

How To Set Goals With Journaling

Create a Vision:  

Initiating a journaling session is the first step towards effective goal setting. It allows you to articulate what you aspire to accomplish, be it long-term life ambitions or more immediate targets. 

Once your vision is clearly defined in your journaling session, it’s crucial to deconstruct it into smaller, more digestible goals. 


Vision: Run a marathon.

  1. Start Running Regularly: Run three times a week for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Increase Distance Gradually: Add 0.5 miles to one of your weekly runs each week.
  3. Participate in a Half Marathon: Sign up and train for a half marathon within six months.
  4. Train for Full Marathon: After completing the half marathon, start training for a full marathon.
  5. Run the Marathon: Complete a full marathon within the next year.

By breaking down the ultimate vision into smaller, achievable goals, the process of running a marathon becomes less daunting and more manageable.

Take Action:

Next, develop an action plan for each goal. Write down specific steps you need to take to reach each goal. Be as detailed as possible. Having a clear action plan will provide direction and make it easier to stay on track.


Goal: Learn to play the guitar.

  1. Research and Buy a Guitar: Look for a beginner-friendly guitar within your budget.
  2. Find Learning Resources: Search for online guitar lessons or find a local guitar teacher.
  3. Schedule Practice Time: Set aside 30 minutes each day for guitar practice.
  4. Start Learning Basic Chords: Begin with learning and practicing basic guitar chords.
  5. Learn a Simple Song: Choose a simple song and learn to play it on the guitar.

Track Your Progress:

Use your journal to track your progress. Regularly write about the steps you’ve taken towards your goals and the results you’ve achieved. This will provide a record of your journey and make it easier to see how far you’ve come.


Goal: Lose 10 pounds.

  • Week 1: Started a new workout regimen and diet. Lost 1 pound.
  • Week 2: Continued with the workouts and diet. Lost another 2 pounds.
  • Week 3: Faced some challenges with diet, but kept up with the workouts. Lost 1 pound.
  • Week 4: Got back on track with diet and workouts. Lost 2 pounds.

By tracking your progress in a journal, you can clearly see the steps you’ve taken and the results you’ve achieved toward your goal of losing weight.

Celebrate Milestones:

It’s important to acknowledge and celebrate your achievements, no matter how small they may seem. Each milestone is a step closer to your ultimate goal. Celebrating these wins can boost your motivation and keep you focused on the end goal.


Goal: Write a novel.

  • Outline Completed: Celebrate by taking a well-deserved break, perhaps watching a movie or going for a walk in the park.
  • First Chapter Written: Treat yourself to your favorite dessert or a nice meal.
  • Halfway Point Reached: Take a day off to relax and rejuvenate, maybe even have a mini getaway.
  • Final Chapter Completed: Spend an evening with friends or family, sharing your accomplishments.
  • Manuscript Finished: Plan a bigger celebration, like a party or a special trip.

By celebrating each milestone, you keep up your motivation and stay focused on the ultimate goal of writing a novel.

Monitor Your Performance:

Be honest with yourself about your progress. If you’re not making as much progress as you’d like, try to identify why. Are there obstacles in your way? Do you need to adjust your action plan? Reflecting on your performance can help you find effective solutions and keep you moving forward.


Goal: Learn Spanish.

  • Month 1: Managed to grasp basic phrases but struggled with verb conjugations. Possibly need more focused practice on this aspect.
  • Month 2: Improvement in understanding verb conjugations after additional practice, but listening comprehension is still weak. Consider incorporating more audio materials in the learning process.
  • Month 3: Listening comprehension has improved slightly with the use of audio materials. However, speaking fluency is lagging. Might need to start practicing conversations with a language partner.

By honestly monitoring and reflecting on your performance, you can identify specific obstacles and adjust your action plan accordingly to enhance your Spanish learning process.

Adjust if Necessary:

If something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to change your approach. Sometimes, the initial plan doesn’t work out as expected, and that’s okay. Be flexible and willing to adjust your plan until you find what works best for you.


Goal: Improve productivity at work.

  • Week 1-2: The initial plan to multitask didn’t improve productivity. Changed approach to focus on one task at a time.
  • Week 3-4: Productivity improved slightly, but still struggling with distractions. Decided to try using productivity apps to limit distractions.
  • Week 5-6: Productivity apps helped reduce distractions significantly. However, still feel burnt out by the end of the day. Adjusted schedule to include regular breaks for rest and rejuvenation.

By being flexible and willing to adjust your plan, you ensure that you find the approach that best enhances your productivity at work.

Pro Tip: Always be specific with your goals when journaling. Instead of writing "I want to be healthier", write "I will walk 10,000 steps every day". This clarity will provide you with a concrete goal to work towards and make it easier to track your progress. Remember to review and update your journal regularly to keep your goals front and center.

What Is A SMART Goal?

The SMART goal framework is a system of setting SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound – that ensures your objectives are clear, realistic, and grounded in your unique context, thereby enhancing the likelihood of their successful accomplishment. 

Here’s an example of how you might use it:

Goal: Improve my physical fitness.


  1. Specific: I want to be able to run 5 kilometers without stopping.
  2. Measurable Goals: I will track my progress by timing my runs and noting the distance covered each week.
  3. Achievable: Currently, I can jog for about 15 minutes without stopping. With regular training, I believe I can gradually increase this time until I reach my goal.
  4. Relevant: Improving my physical fitness is crucial to me because I want to lead a healthier lifestyle and have more energy throughout the day.
  5. Time-bound: I aim to achieve this goal within the next three months.

Additional Journaling Techniques for Goal Achievement

Gratitude Journaling

This method of noting daily gratitudes in a journal propels you towards positivity. It diverts attention from negatives to positives, nurturing an optimistic mindset crucial for goal attainment. This push-forward approach enhances mood, reduces stress, and improves sleep.


Date: September 2, 2023

  • I am grateful for my health, allowing me to exercise and stay active.
  • I am grateful for my supportive friends who always encourage me to pursue my goals.
  • I am grateful for the delicious home-cooked meal I had today.
  • I am grateful for having a comfortable home that provides me with a peaceful space to rest.
  • I am grateful for the progress I made toward my career goals this week.

By focusing on these positive aspects of my life, I feel more motivated and ready to face tomorrow’s challenges.

To read more about the benefits of writing a gratitude journal, dive into our enlightening blog post at GratiTea and discover how this simple practice can transform your mindset!

Dream Journaling

This technique involves recording your dreams as soon as you wake up. It can help you understand your subconscious mind, uncover hidden desires or fears, and align your goals with your deeper self. 

Benefits include increased self-awareness, creativity, and problem-solving skills.


Date: September 2, 2023


Last night, I dreamt I was climbing a high mountain with a heavy backpack. The climb was tough, but I was persistent and didn’t give up. When I finally reached the peak, the view was breathtaking.


This could symbolize my current challenges and responsibilities, but also my determination and optimism about achieving my goals. It’s motivating to see such resilience reflected in my dream.

Daily Reflection: Journal Prompts for Goal Setting and Self-Improvement

  1. What is one goal you want to achieve in the next month?
  2. Describe your dream life five years from now.
  3. What habits do you need to develop to reach your goals?
  4. What are three personal qualities you’d like to strengthen this year?
  5. What is a professional goal you want to reach by the end of this year?
  6. How can you step out of your comfort zone to reach your goals?
  7. Who inspires you to achieve your goals? Why?
  8. What is one lifestyle change you can make to help you reach your goals?
  9. How will achieving your goals improve your life?
  10. What are some obstacles that might hinder your goal achievement? How can you overcome them?

Wrap-Up:  Achieve Success Through Goal Journal

All in all, it is clear that combining goal setting and incorporating journaling offers the perfect opportunity to bring together powerful thought processes with actionable steps. 

Taking the time to write down your goals and reflect daily can reap many rewards, from increased motivation and focus to a heightened sense of self-awareness and even physical well-being. 

All you have to do is get creative, stay motivated, and keep an open mind. 

Use Benjamin P. Hardy’s technique or try something different entirely – whatever works best for you. 

So grab your pen and paper and start planning your future success.