Writing is a great personal development practice because it invites us to take writingconcepts that form in our minds and put them to paper, making our thoughts concrete. It’s not a negotiation. Once we have written down something—be it a thought, idea or desire—we have put it out into the universe. We cannot take it back. Therefore, we must hold ourselves accountable to what we have written. Writing our thoughts down breathes life into them, and that helps steer us in the right direction.

There are a few ways that you can approach writing to increase personal growth and development:

Lists: This approach involves simply listingthe things you want. To get started, imagine a catalogue where items are listed for purchase: a pair of jeans, a new smartphone accessory, personalized kitchenware. Imagine the thoroughness of the descriptions for each item that are intended to incite the consumer. Write down this systematic list of things you want (i.e. car, hot tub, Tudor home) on a sticky note and place it somewhere you know you’ll see it every day, like a bathroom mirror or on the dashboard of your car.

Stories: This method involves picturing a day in your ideal life and jotting it down. In other words, write out a day in your life as a story and rely on as much detail as possible. If you can conjure up the emotion of how it would feel to be living this day, your brain will start to seek out a journey that makes this story a reality. The details are extremely important because they create the emotional connection to the experience. So, create a full sensory experience detailing all of those things you have and all of the things you do in this ideal day of your life (i.e. the way things smell, look and taste). If you were to ask any of my friends 10 years ago what I was writing down in my ideal day they will tell you: “I wake up in my house in the country, serve the environment and get paid to make a difference.” All of these things panned out for me exactly as I vividly imagined them.

Gratitude Rant: How often do we go on a rant for those things that we are grateful for? Instead, we’re usually quick to gripe about things that are going wrong in life or things that we don’t have. Instead, choose to rant aboutthose things that you are thankful for, even if it’s something as simple as the fact that you woke up this morning or you have coffee in your coffee pot. So many people are caught up in the wanting of things that all they are left with is more wanting. But the more you share your gratefulness for the things you have, the more life will give you things to be thankful for. In other words, what you focus on is what you will ultimately be like.

Positive statements: Write down positive statements about anything you are trying to draw towards you. These positive affirmations are very important when you’re trying to change your thought process.For example, a positive statement I often use is “I live a life of freedom doing the things that I love.” Remember to never include the word “want” in these statements. Rather, you’re convincing your brain that you are already there living out those positive affirmations—even if you are the farthest place from them. In writing down positive statements, you are ultimately convincing yourself that these things have already happened and that you are grateful for them.

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