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Article: How to start journaling

how to start journaling

How to start journaling

Doing what inspires and taking action is what we’re all about. But how do you actually move forward when things get tough? How do you stay sane and “normal” when trying to achieve the abnormal? 

When you aim high in life, things are just a bit tougher, let’s be honest about that. What helped me immensely in life is journaling. It’s different from a diary, and it’s not only for the ladies, let me tell you that. 

Journaling has become one of my top 3 rituals that changed my life. Journaling offers a way to stay conscious and deal with the good & bad of life. It helps to stay focused, deal with setbacks and achieve clarity in decision-making. I highly recommend diving into it. 

In this article, I’ll share everything I know about how to start journaling. Partially coming from my own experience, but also a lot from the research I did. I know journaling is such a great tool in life, that I loved getting to the bottom of it. 

So in this article, you will learn how to start journaling, what you’ll need, how to create a routine, and tips and tricks for making the most out of journaling. I hope it to be the ultimate guide on How to start journaling for you as an achiever. As a life adventurer, a warrior. So let’s dive into it, journaling.

The Benefits of Journaling  

What Is Journaling?

Believe it or not, there is no easy or straightforward definition of journaling, mainly because it is incredibly subjective. For me, journaling is catharsis, a process of releasing, and it is a form of therapy that I use to practice mental health, wellness, and self-reflection. 

According to the Journal of Mental Health Journaling has been proven to help manage anxiety, reduce stress, and cope with depression. Not everyone writes to improve their mental health. It is perfectly normal for others to write about their goals, what brings them joy, what they are grateful for. The list truly does go on and on. 

The most important thing to remember when journaling or starting the practice is that it should bring value to your life, and there is a way for everyone (and I do mean everyone) to benefit from journaling. 

What To Expect When You Start Journaling 

Creating a journaling routine, like starting any new habit, requires time and patience. So, be ready to endure a bit of frustration as you figure out what works best for you. You can also expect to uncover some emotions that may not have yet bubbled to the surface. It is common for those who start journaling to realize the feelings that they have about a person, situation, or another topic that they overlooked before because they haven’t spent as much time on the subject. 

Another reaction that may surprise you is how unnatural journaling can feel at first – don’t let this discourage you! It takes a bit of time to find your written voice, one that doesn’t feel too “dear diary…”. It is normal for journaling to feel like a forced practice in the beginning. You just have to get past that initial discomfort, and you will find that it becomes a very rewarding ritual. Also, don’t feel bad if you notice that many of the things you have written down so far are negative. Your journal is meant to be your absolute safe place, so it is okay to let out your frustrations, anger, fears, and discontentment because it is solely yours. When determining and managing your expectations of journaling, just remember, there are no rules. 

Advantages Of Journaling

According to Psychcentral journaling has an endless number of benefits, and that is no exaggeration. Because every individual approaches journaling differently, we all gain different things from this routine. For example, the primary advantage I experience from journaling is a calmer mind. When I have stopped or slacked on my practice, I noticed that my stress, anxiety, and just the overall noise in my head seem to get louder, making it very hard for me to focus and take on my day with a clear mind. The main point of stress and anxiety I feel in life is health anxiety. It might have come from losing my dad at a young age, or maybe copying his health anxiety in life. Picking up my journaling practice immediately calms down my weird thoughts about my health.

While there are countless advantages to journaling, here are some that most people seem to experience. 

Benefit #1: Journaling Reduces Stress

Excessive stress is incredibly damaging to your mental, physical, and emotional health. It affects everything from your central nervous system to your immune system! Journaling has been proven to successfully help with managing stress. It is a habit that is good for you and lessens the negative impact of biological stressors on your health. Studies have shown that writing and journaling can positively impact your health by simply dedicating just 15-20 minutes, three days each week.  Those who participated in the study showed that only four months of journaling lowered their blood pressure and improved their liver function. Writing about stressful situations and experiences can help you manage your feelings in a healthy way – much like a meditation habit. 

Benefit #2: Manage Anxiety And Depression

With the right journaling practice, expressive writing can help you understand and manage feelings of depression and anxiety. The Center For Journal Therapy created a set of journaling guidelines referred to as the acronym WRITE. Easy enough! :-) This simple acronym stands for: 

W – What Topic

Assess the things that are going on in your life. Think about what is going on, the thoughts that have been running through your head, what you are trying to achieve, and what you would like to avoid. Figure these things out and put them on paper. 

R – Review / Reflect

Take a few moments to calmly focus on what you have decided to write about. Start your sentences with I feel, I want, and I think to ensure that you are focused on making sense of your inner thoughts and emotions. 

I – Investigate

Investigate your feelings and thoughts while you write. If you feel like you are running out of ideas related to your topic, take a few moments to refocus your attention. An excellent way to do this is by reading over what you already have on the page and continuing from your last thought. 

T – Time Yourself 

Timing yourself is an effective way to ensure that you are spending enough time on your practice – aim for at least five minutes, and feel free to extend this period as you develop your journaling routine.

E – Exit Smart 

Close your entry strategically and with an element of introspection. Reread what you just wrote and take a few minutes to let it sink in. Figure out what you have taken away from your journal and end the entry with a short 1-2 sentence summary of your takeaways. 

Benefit #3: Organize Your Thoughts

Journaling helps us make sense of our thoughts. I know that my thoughts can sometimes feel like they are shooting back and forth in my mind like a ping pong ball. Writing them down helps me to identify what has been going on in my head. This helps to organize and consider what has been taking up space in my mind. If you are using a digital journaling tool, you tag and archive your entries based on the topics of your thoughts. 

Benefit #4: Create And Achieve New Goals 

Journals aren’t just for writing about things that are perplexing or confusing. A journal is a fantastic place to write down your aspirations, ambitions, and goals. They can be big or small, but when you write down a goal, you are much more likely to achieve it! 

Similar to the Intention Card you receive when ordering a Chibuntu bracelet. It’s meant to write down what you aspire to achieve. 

Believe it or not, writing down your goals makes you 42% more likely to achieve them! As you write down new goals and aspirations, be sure to document your successes, as well. This will help you stay focused on progress and achieving new goals. 

Benefit #5: Inspire Creativity 

Are you a writer, artist, or simply a creative type? The excellent news for you is that journaling helps us create and release new ideas. In 2009, famed author David Sedaris told The New Yorker, “ I’ve been keeping a diary for thirty-three years and write in it every morning. Most of it’s just whining, but every so often there’ll be something I can use later: a joke, a description, a quote. It’s an invaluable aid when it comes to winning arguments. ‘That’s not what you said on February 3, 1996,’ I’ll say to someone.”

Everyone has the potential to tell a story. Many of us have just not realized it within ourselves yet. Your journal is a safe and effective place to stay exploring all of these new sides to yourself – you get to let your imagination run wild! 

Benefit #6: Evoke Mindfulness and Gratitude

The connection between happiness and mindfulness is impossible to dismiss

Journaling helps you to focus on the things that bring you joy, make you feel centered, how you have overcome past frustrations and obstacles, and so many more things that can affect your happiness. Much like meditation, journaling gives you the opportunity to focus your intention and your direction for the day, which can be incredibly rewarding to your mood and emotional well-being.

Benefit #7: Strengthen Your Self-Discipline

Setting time aside each day to write is a practice in self-discipline. This act of discipline will begin to exude itself in other parts of your life. When I realized that it was possible for me to set aside ten minutes each day, it really gave me the confidence to incorporate other new habits and routines into my life – all of which have helped to improve both my mental and physical health. 

The Difference Between A Diary VS. A Journal 

How Are They Different?

Simply put, a diary is used to record your life events and experiences as they happen. However, a journal serves the purpose of exploring ideas, feelings, and thoughts as they take shape in your life. The words diary and journal are usually used interchangeably, but they serve two very different functions. 

Diaries are used to track data and experience; think of a food diary. It is used to record and monitor what you are eating each and every day. However, a food journal would further explore how you felt while you were eating a meal and possibly what you would do differently in the future. Diaries are more often used to discover patterns and connections within data or experiences -whichever you are choosing to record. 

Journaling, on the other hand, is less about record keeping. They are usually less limited in terms of the content. Journals are perfect for writing down random thoughts, emotions, ideas, experiences, memories, lists, and anything else that may come to mind. My journal is a reflection of what goes on inside my head, so I include everything. If you peaked inside mine, you would see lyrics, doodles, my current emotional state, maybe even something someone did that drove me absolutely crazy that day. Journals are a way to explore yourself in a safe and private space. 

Should You Choose A Diary Or A Journal?

Determining whether to choose a diary or a journal depends on what your goals are and what you hope to gain from your experience. If you want to have an incredibly regimented and detailed record of your day or certain things that take place during your day, then a diary may be your best option. Diaries are typically marked by dated pages and chronological entries or retellings. Journals are better for those looking to express themselves in a less structured way. If there is no need to date or order your writing in any specific way, then journaling is likely better suited for your needs. 

When my friends ask me which is a better option, I always ask them this question: “Are you trying to document your life, or are you trying to understand your life?”. Diaries are perfect for creating a chronological, daily account of the things that occurred throughout your day. While they likely contain some of the events that occur in your everyday life, journals are much more focused on determining how those events made you feel, whether or not you learned something from them, and other thoughts that revolve around reflecting on your life. Diaries provide structure and are a form of record-keeping, while journals allow for more freedom and liberties in both design and content. 

Journaling Supplies 

Before you start embarking on your journaling practice, you are going to need supplies! This is actually a very fun part of the process, as you can choose things that reflect your personality and make you feel excited to use them every day. Like many aspects of journaling, the supplies that you need are going to directly correspond with the purpose and goals you have for your journal. 

For example, so may just be looking for a notebook that they can use to quickly jot down thoughts and ideas, while others want to create an experience within their journal and may gravitate more toward bullet journaling. Two of the most essential supplies anyone will need are a journal and something to write with. If you are looking for a more elaborate experience, then you may be looking for stickers and other add-ons to embellish the pages. Don’t worry, I am going to cover everything, but let’s start with the most important part first! 


Plain or Unlined Notebook

There are plenty of different types of journals to choose from! For those who are genuinely just looking for something to write in when they are feeling inspired, a blank notebook journal is ideally suited for your needs. The most important factor you will want to determine is whether you need a large or small notebook. If you are looking for one that lets you jot things down on the go or maybe during your commute, a smaller notebook is perfect! It will fit inside your laptop bag or daypack without creating too much of an inconvenience. Choose a plain or unlined option if you want something that you can doodle in or embellish. 

Gratitude Journal

If you are looking for a journal that is positive and uplifting, gratitude journals provide an excellent outlet for exploring and recognizing the joy in your life! Some people prefer to use a blank journal, but there are notebooks that are specifically designed to help you realize what you are grateful for. These structured journals are a great option for those who aren’t looking to take on an extensive journaling routine. The entire purpose of a gratitude journal is to focus on the positive while cultivating a space of appreciation and positivity. 

Dream Journal

While there is no specific type or format of a journal that you need to keep for this purpose, keeping a small, sturdy journal next to your bed is a great way to record your dreams. You don’t need anything special, just a quick and straightforward notebook close by to jot down your dreams before you get out of bed and forget them. 

Bullet Journals

Bullet journals require a lot of time and effort, but they truly are spectacular. These medium-sized journals are equipped with dotted pages. This layout allows you to create fantastic and elaborate pages. Most bullet journalers require more materials than just the notebook; however, a quality bullet journal will make the experience ten times better! 

Writing Supplies 


I have always preferred pens, but if you are a pencil person, that is your prerogative – do you! For pencils, I would recommend that always beloved Ticonderoga. However, any high-quality pencil will do. Of course, if you aren’t keen on having to sharpen them every so often, there are always plenty of fun and colorful mechanical pencils to choose from. 


Whether you already journal or not, anyone who spends a lot of time writing knows that the right pen can make or break your handwriting! For your journal, choose a pen that dries quickly. This prevents smearing as you drag your hand across the page – this is especially important if you are left-handed. While some (like myself) prefer a standard, high-quality black-ink pen, there are plenty of options when it comes to choosing colors. If you like to write with the colors of the rainbow, go for a multi-color gel pen pack. 

Ultra-Fine Markers 

For some, the ultimate writing utensil is hyper-pigmented and super permanent. If you prefer markers, be sure to look for ones with a very fine tip. You will also want to go with a brand that dries quickly and resists bleeding and smearing. There are plenty of quality brands to choose from now, so you will have countless options regarding colors and other features. 

Other Creative Materials

There are plenty of additional journaling supplies that may suit your journaling needs. Those interested in bullet journaling typically require extra supplies to meet the needs of their designs. These can include stickers, special tapes, rulers, printables, pencil cases, and any other creative materials required for your journaling style. I haven’t seen guys needing these, but maybe you do. I certainly recommend going easy on these in the beginning if you are brand new to journaling. While bullet journaling is incredibly relaxing and fun, it can be quite an overwhelming practice to start. So, just start off slow and slowly build your collection. 

How To Start Journaling

Setting Goals 

For me, there are many reasons to keep a journal, but my primary goal is to focus on managing my emotions and stress. Having goals for your journal is incredibly important because it gives you a why – a reason to keep up with the practice. There are two goals you should set when you get started. The first is how much time you would like to spend each day, week, or maybe even each month dedicated to your journaling practice. Personally, I like to spend about twenty minutes each day to set aside for my journaling, but others may only like to spend five minutes a day or twenty minutes each week on their journals. It has to work for you and make sense with your schedule; otherwise, you won’t stick with it. You don’t need to start writing at your goal time, but it is great to have something to work towards. 

The other goal to figure out is what you would like to gain from your journal. My goal is to create peace of mind and understanding as I use my journal. Others may choose to keep their journals for a more specific purpose, like a gratitude journal or a dream journal. The reason for this type of goal is to create a purpose that is aligned with your journaling practice. For some, it may be organizing their thoughts and emotions about a particular situation, while others may be trying to find new ways to spark their imagination and creativity. Whatever your goals are, write them down on the first page of your journal to remind you why you started and why you keep up with them. 

Creating The Space

Creating a specific spot in your home or elsewhere for your writing is a fantastic way to create a safe retreat for you and your thoughts. As someone who journals every day, I know that it is very difficult (especially in the beginning) to focus on your writing. Your typical spaces can feel overwhelming or too loud to give you the opportunity to pay attention to the thoughts that are trying to make it to the page. So, how does one go about creating a unique, dedicated space for them and their journal?

To create an excellent space for your journaling practice, you will want to build a little hideaway. This can be somewhere inside your house, outside, in your care – anywhere, and I do mean anywhere that feels safe, calm, and gives you everything that you need to center yourself and get to writing. It doesn’t have to be any specific way or meet anyone else’s expectations. The purpose of the space is to allow you to get away from any and all distractions to find a place of stillness. It is here that you will be able to listen to the words in your head and bring them to life on the page. 

Remember, writing is not the only important part of journaling. It is also very beneficial to take the time to reflect on your entry after you have written it. One of the primary purposes of journaling is to reflect and make connections. Your journaling space should provide the opportunity and tranquillity needed to take the time and reflect on your words. Try to stay away from places that already have dedicated purposes like your bedroom, your office, or even your couch. You already do too many other things in these areas, which may make it challenging for your brain to get into journaling mode. Choosing a spot that has yet been unclaimed by any other task or purpose is always the best way to go! 

Techniques And Reasons For Journaling

One of the most challenging parts of journaling, especially as you are getting started, is knowing what to write! Even the most skilled creatives and seasoned writers can find it challenging to spark inspiration or know what to write on the page. The good news is that there are endless reasons to write and many techniques that can help you get started. For example, if you are really struggling, like you can’t think of a single thing, then search online for journaling prompts. You will be able to prompts or just about anything, so simply choose the ones that catch your attention. You should write about what you want to write about, not what you think you should be spending time writing about. Here are a few other techniques that really come in handy for beginners or those suffering from a bit of writer’s block. 

Free Writing 

Freewriting is so incredibly liberating – hence the name. All you need to do is sit down with your pen and paper (or your laptop) and start writing. Don’t have any expectations; simply set a time and let your thoughts and your words flow. Don’t worry about grammar, syntax, or editing. This is just to let your mind run wild and materialize as many thoughts as possible. I like to do this on my laptop sometimes, as it is a bit easier to get my thoughts out quickly as they sometimes move much faster than my hand can write, and I don’t like to lose them! 

Morning Reflection

Some people love writing in the journals as soon as they wake up, and for a good reason! When you write first thing after you wake up, there are hardly any excuses to skip your journal session that day. Because you are completing it before any other task for the day, you are much less likely to find reasons not to do it. Even better, many writers and creatives alike agree that they are most inspired and imaginative in the morning as soon as they wake up. Maybe it is because it the time of day in which we are closest to our dream states. 


Yes, listing is a form of journaling, and before you jump to conclusions, we aren’t talking about a grocery or task-driven list. You can write a list of the ten things that you love most about your life or five things you would change if you had a magic wand. The more creative the list prompt, the better! Listing is not only a great way to combat stress and anxiety, but it brings out more emotional depth than most people would assume. This is especially true when the subject of the list is something thought-provoking or profound. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself with the technique. 

Bullet Journaling 

I touched on this quite a bit in the supplies section, as it is a more intensive form of journaling. To better describe its purpose, bullet journaling is very much an organizational tool, with some people even using it to help manage their ADHD. Bullet journals are not just planning mechanisms, and they can include so many different elements – to-do lists, reminders, schedules, daily thoughts, quotes, goals, poems, song lyrics, the list is truly boundless. 

Dream Journal 

If you are someone who has a very active imagination while they are sleeping, the chances are that you forget most of the wonderful dreams you have had soon after you wake up. A dream journal is meant as a solution to this problem. Whether you wake up in the middle of the night or need something first thing in the morning, a dream journal can help you record your dreams before they slip away throughout the day. 

The TLC Method

This is a fantastic journaling method for beginners and advanced writers alike. It is a great way to end the day and helps you focus on consistently staying present. The TLC method stands for Thank, Learn, and Connect. You want to think of something that happened during the day that you are thankful for, share something you have learned, and share either an intellectual connection that you made or a connection you made with another person. 

One Line A Day

Not all practices have to be intense or impressive, and sometimes it really is that smallest thing that can make a lasting difference in our lives. This approach is much more manageable than free writing or bullet journaling. The idea is incredibly straightforward. Every day you write just one line in your journal. It can be five words, or it can be twenty. There are no rules; all you have to do is take a few free moments and jot something down! 

Make It Work For YOU

It doesn’t matter which method or approach you choose when journaling. Remember, this is a practice that is meant to help you grow in some way, but you determine what that means! The most important thing that you need to determine is how to make journaling work for you. Figure out your goal or your why, and then decide which technique suits you the best. Simply stated, if you find something that works best for you are much more likely to stick with it and receive the benefits of creating a healthy new habit. 

Building Your Journaling Routine 

How To Build Your Own Routine

From my own experience, I know that building and starting a journaling routine requires more motivation and self-discipline than initially expected. While everyone will undoubtedly have their own approach to figuring out how to start journaling and building a routine that works best for them, here is how I began making my journaling routine.

First, I bought an actual journal – no spiral notebook, no laptop, simply a specific, bound notebook that I declared to be my personal journal, a Montblanc Journal to be precise. Check it out here on Amazon. Of course, you can choose to keep your journal somewhere on your laptop, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with using a plain composition or spiral notebook. However, by going out and finding a new notebook that felt special, well-made, and high-quality made me feel like I was already starting to dedicate myself to this practice. 

On top of that I also bought the Montblanc Pix ballpoint pen. I wanted to make this daily journaling a special moment. So I was happy to invest in it. It truly helped me get into the daily groove of journaling. 

In short, find a way to make journaling unique and separate from the other things that take up your day. In many ways, this practice and journal will become friends, so it is essential to start this routine and relationship off right. 

Next, determine when you are going to write. I start my day with journaling, so it is first thing in the morning for me, but others choose to do it before bed (more on that later). It helps to know that there is a specific part of your day that is dedicated to journaling. If you already practice some form of mediation or mindfulness practice, then you know how important it is to maintain a schedule when creating a new routine. If you need help staying on track, set a reminder or alarm on your phone. You will be much more likely to stick to your task if your phone gives you a little push every once in a while. 

Finding the perfect place to journal is a great way to build your routine. Some people like to journal on the train on their way to work, while others find it much more peaceful to create a little nook inside their home. I prefer to write in my bed first thing in the morning. I think it is better to have a specific spot, but I stay in my bed and journal rather than picking up my phone and scrolling through social media as soon as I wake up. Bottom line – find a place that allows you the freedom and stillness to find the words and put them on the paper. 

Now that you have your journal and set aside a particular time every day, you need to figure out what you want to write about! It can be very daunting to open that new journal with a blank, fresh page and know how to start. Choosing your approach beforehand can make this much easier. If you are lost, check out a few journaling prompts online – there are countless free options. You can also try freewriting to get the creative juices flowing. Maybe, you want to ask yourself a question and explore the answer on the page. Just get started! It doesn’t have to be perfect or mean anything incredibly significant, but once you start, you’ll get on a roll, and then the entire process will become much easier. 

When To Journal – Morning Vs. Night

Should you journal in the morning and set your intentions for your day, or maybe just let a stream of consciousness fill the pages? Or, is it better to practice a bit of self-reflection with your journal before bed? Should you do both? The truth is that each time of day has its own set of pros and cons. 

The morning allows you to recount dreams, set intentions, and share affirmations, while writing at night gives you’re the opportunity to kind of debrief your day and unwind. While writing early in the morning can help to jumpstart your creativity for the day, you are also more likely to be a bit groggy. This can make writing feel like more of a chore, and you may be less likely to share significant thoughts and feelings. On the other hand, writing during the evening may make you stay up too late or increase your anxiety and stress if you recount negative parts of your day. 

Here is how you determine which is the better time of day for you to journal. First, you have to think back to the reason you are journaling in the first place. I like to write at the start of my day because it allows me to write down what I am looking forward to, what I am worried about, and how I plan to overcome my fears throughout the day. This is incredibly helpful for my anxiety, but I can easily see how this may not work for others. However, if you are using your journal to help you manage your emotions and other inner workings, I suggest getting it done first thing! 

If you are looking to reflect on your day and make sense of your emotions and moods throughout the day, it may be best to write at night. For some, writing at night is a fantastic way to let go of the day before they lay down to go to sleep, helping people fall asleep faster! If you are already a night owl or just need something to help you make sense of your emotions and thoughts before you go to sleep, writing during the evening is likely a better option for you. 

For those who want to have their cake and eat it too, here is what you should do! If you are looking to comprehensively manage your emotions, thoughts, moods, and self-reflection, why not journal during the morning and at night? For example, if you want to journal for ten minutes each day, spend five minutes in the morning and five at night. This is also a great option for those who aren’t sure when journaling works best during their day. You have the chance to spend some time writing during the morning and the night, and you can decide which works best for you! 

Choosing What To Include 

Are you trying to determine what to include in your journal? I like to write at least one affirmation and up to three. This helps me maintain my focus throughout the day and is very helpful for my anxiety and depression. When I feel myself becoming worried, uneasy, or upset, I think back to the affirmations that I set for that day, and it reminds me that every day has a purpose. 

You may want to include prayers, poems, pictures, quotes; the possibilities are endless. How can you decide? First, determine what kind of journal you are keeping. Do you want to free write, are you keeping a bullet journal, or maybe you are keeping a journal of lists? Once you have decided, you can get a better idea of what to include. 

For example, if your journal is a way for your to meditate and bring some mindfulness to your day, you may want to add affirmations and prayers to remind you of your purpose and intentions. These are all great options for people who are looking to gain a spiritual experience from their journal. Others who are keeping a bullet journal may find it more beneficial to include an aspirational or motivational quote, productivity logs, and even set goals for the day as this kind of journaling is typically more conducive to organization. 

The most important thing to keep in mind as you determine what is put into your journal is that it is meant for you! If you think including a poem in your morning reflection will bring my value to your day, then add a poem. Feel like you need to write down a list of all your tasks so that you can feel anxious – go right ahead! Don’t get caught up in trying to determine what should go into your journal. Instead, focus on what makes your feel great! 

How to start Journaling Tips and Tools 

Random Tips 

A few things to keep in mind as your get started…

#1 Start Small

While it may be tempting to tell yourself, “ I am going to journal for 30 minutes every day”, that can be a very challenging goal to stick to for someone who has never held a journaling practice. Instead, start with five or ten minutes and work your way up from there. You are much more likely to stick with it. 

#2 Mentally Blocked? Show Some Gratitude

Having a hard time figuring out what to write can discourage someone who is just getting started. If you are feeling a bit blocked, start writing about the things that you are thankful for! It doesn’t have to be complicated, and it can be as simple as,”…my coffee from the shop today was delicious, and it made my morning so much more joyful…”. 

#3 Track Your New Routine 

A great way to stick to something is to record when you should do it and when you have completed it. Creating a chain of your work makes you more likely to continue journaling because we hate to see our new habit chain broken – it makes us feel unaccomplished. 

#4 Switch Up Your Technique 

Don’t be afraid to try new approaches and methods to explore your thoughts and emotions. Switch it up from time to time! 

#5 Don’t Be Afraid To Get Messy 

Your journal does not have to be perfect. Do you like collages? Make it a beautiful mess of photos, clippings, words, whatever! It’s all about you. 

#6 Keep A Mini Journal

Do you find yourself forgetting about things that happened throughout your day? That can make it hard to reflect and write about them later. Trying to keep a smaller journal in your bag so that you can jot down a few notes when inspiration strikes or the thoughts are still fresh. 

Journaling Prompts 

Having a hard time finding the words to put down on the page? Take a look at a few of these prompts to get the creative blood pumping… 

  1. My favorite way to spend a free day is to…
  2. Make a list of 10 things that bring you joy, and explain why. 
  3. What are you most grateful for? 
  4. What is a place that you would like to travel to, and who would you bring along? 
  5. If you could have dinner with three people living or dead, who would it be, and what would you talk about? 
  6. I feel most beautiful when…
  7. The greatest lesson I ever learned was…
  8. Using just ten words, describe yourself. 
  9. What is an opportunity that you wish you had taken?
  10. Who is someone that you appreciate at the moment? Write them an unsent letter. 

Journaling Apps 

Looking for a way to journal on the go, or do you need something smaller and more integrated to get started? Here are three of my favorite journaling apps…

  1. The Five Minute Journal App – You get a prompt each morning and evening. This helps to build your routine and sparks your creativity and imagination. 
  2. Day One – This app is better suited for those who prefer to free write. This app's advantages are that there are numerous integrations, plenty of security, and the ability to tag your entries (perfect for those who like to stay organized). 
  3. – This one is very creative. Each day, the app will send you an email with a writing prompt. Simply respond to the prompt with your entry, and you have completed your journaling for the day! 

The Takeaway

By now, you should know that journaling is an incredibly personal experience that is meant to bring something to your life that you think will add value. This works best when you keep up with a consistent habit, as this is how you will notice results! I know that it is hard to start a new routine, but there are baby steps that you can take to make sure that it is something that you slowly work into your day and that it works for you. Don’t worry about what is best for anyone else. This is your time that you have set aside to help you calm your mind and become more mindful. Make it as fun and loud or as organized as you would like – your journal should be a reflection of you! Now all you have to do is ask yourself, “What is the first thing I am going to write about?”. 

Thank you!

I truly enjoyed writing this How to start journaling guide. From my own experience and my online research I think the guide is quite extensive, but for sure never complete. So please leave a comment below on how you started journaling. On what your journaling tips & tricks are. I would love to learn from you guys!

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