Successful people are a source of inspiration in many ways. You can learn from their wins and even from their losses. How they live their lives often carries principles necessary for success or failure. That is why our focus today is journal sections that successful people have. Examples of successful people who used to journal during their lifetime were Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, Bruce Lee, and Benjamin Franklin. We shall be looking at what some successful people include in their journals. The thrust is to draw some principles out of that that anyone can emulate. By now you ought to know the importance of journaling from the several articles I have done. This article marks the final article in a series of journaling topics we have been exploring lately.


The most common section is on goals. This spans from personal goals to other areas such as family, business, and so on. The likelihood of a goal being acted upon is boosted by it being written down. In my experience, I have realized that whenever I write down a goal and the steps to achieve it, I usually accomplish it. I have also noticed that it is easy to think that you will always recall everything. When you do not write something down you tend to forget about it over time. That is why successful people prioritize having a section where they document their goals. It also extends to even the seemingly menial things e.g. what to wear tomorrow. Goals setting and writing them down sets the tone for accountability and seeing to it they get accomplished.


Successful people are usually hit or impressed with ideas all the time. I recall Elon Musk once likened the experience to ‘a never-ending explosion’. That is why most successful people need to journal the ideas that come to them. Otherwise, they would easily forget them since they are always coming. Virtually all famous historic scientists and inventors kept journals. It was meant to help in documenting ideas and mind mapping. Once an idea is noted down it is easier to refine and investigate it further. Richard Branson is an example of a successful entrepreneur who still keeps a journal on him daily. He uses it to document ideas that come to him as he goes about his business.

Wish Lists

A wish list is a list of desired things. It can be things like where one desires to travel e.g. for a vacation. It can also refer to things one desires to buy e.g. a particular vehicle or property. In a way, this can morph into what is called a vision board – something I recommend everyone to have. Most successful people have wish lists as part of their journals. Some can simply just list what they desire by writing it down. Some go as far as including visuals of the desired things e.g. photos. Then every day they take some time to look at them and visualize their wishes fulfilled. Wish lists also help in planning as well for things such as finances or logistics. Some come up with what are called bucket lists i.e. a list of things to accomplish before one’s death. Most successful people have these in their journals.

Gratitude And Affirmations

Study any successful person and you will see these two aspects. These are the importance of being grateful and making positive or faith-filled affirmations. Even when you listen to the content of most life or success coaches it is anchored on these two aspects. That is why it is common to find a section where successful people actively practise gratitude. They do this daily where they write and verbalize what they are grateful for. They do this to suppress the common temptation to live a life filled with negativity.

They also write down affirmations that they say out loud daily. This is based on the law of attraction which spells out how you attract what you say. As in, your words attract what is consistent with them. It sounds counterintuitive because you would naturally think it is accurate to speak in line with the present circumstances. Yet being grateful and affirming, despite the contrary circumstances, is the secret to success.

Daily Life

Overall, successful people keep journals about their daily lives. It can be a daily record of their thoughts and feelings about things happening in their lives or around them. It can be regarding their life’s work or it can be specifically about their family or romantic lives. Albert Einstein had separate journals he kept for each of the areas I just mentioned. This is the reason why many published books document the lives of famous historic figures. It is because they kept journals that detailed their daily lives. Such accounts are invaluable sources of insight to learn from.

What I did in this article was looking at the separate sections. However, some successful people do not incorporate all of them in just one journal. A notable example I gave, Albert Einstein, had several journals for different purposes. So that is also an option you can consider. Instead of confining everything in one journal, you can dedicate separate journals. For example, you can have a journal for travel, a journal for ideas, and a journal for mental health.