Journaling tips that work: How to start journaling
Have you ever purchased a cute journal or two with every intention to start journaling, but never use it?
It’s okay. You are not alone. Shamefully, I have purchased more than my fair share of journals just because they were cute but I never used them. I had good intentions. That should count, right?!!
Even though we know the positive benefits of using journals, it’s easy to become overwhelmed or become distracted from journaling regularly. Journaling can start to feel like one more thing for us to take care of instead of a form of self-care or even wellness.
But here’s the thing, journaling is a habit.
Sure, it’s easy to pick up a journal periodically when the mood hits you. Yet, I challenge you to identify how you can incorporate journaling as a regular habit.
If you are going to create the habit of journaling, you must know WHY you want to start journaling.
Knowing why you started journaling will help you sustain the habit, especially when you hit the hard seasons of life.
Once you know why you want to start journaling, these journaling tips will help you create a journaling routine that works for you.
Journaling Tip #1: Attach writing in your journal to an existing routine.
Starting a journal is easy. Keeping up with a journal, well, not so much.
Finding time actually to write in your gr journal isn’t always so simple. If you’re not careful, taking time to be journal can feel like one more thing added to your never-ending to-do list. The simplest way to start and keep up with your journal is to include it with a routine that already works for you.
Enjoy quiet time in the morning with your coffee; it’s a great time to journal.
Enjoy quiet time before bed reading; it’s a great time to include your journaling.
Connecting your journal to an existing routine will increase the likelihood of you consistently using your journal to build healthy habits.
Journaling Tip #2: Use a list of journal prompts when you don’t know what to write.
“I don’t know what to write” is one of the main reasons people don’t journal or get frustrated with journaling.
When we don’t know what to write, we tend to walk away from journaling. Journal prompts can be used by anyone and can help inspire you to dig deeper with your thoughts. You can choose journal prompts based upon the theme or focus of your writing. Choose from prompts about gratitude, self-awareness, mental wellness, or your relationships.
To maintain the habit of journaling, keep a list of journal prompts to help you when you don’t know where to start.
Check out our 30 simple gratitude journal prompts for beginners on the blog. Get a free journal prompts list you can print and keep in your journal.
Journaling tip #3: Make your journal a judgment-free zone.
One major benefit of journaling is the freedom to share your thoughts and feelings in a safe space.
When you begin journaling, it’s vital to set a judgment-free zone.
Don’t try to police your thoughts.
Don’t over-analyze your emotions.
Don’t suppress your voice.
Give yourself permission to write freely, write the words you are afraid to say, and own your story.
Journaling tip #4: Create an intentional journaling routine.
Creating an intentional routine is necessary if we want to cultivate a thriving lifestyle.
Keeping up with our gratitude journals, habit tracker, or Bible journaling won’t just happen. We need a plan.
Some steps to consider when building an intentional journaling routine:
- Where: Identify where you will spend time in your journal.
- When: Identify what time of day works best for your schedule
- What: Decide the purpose of each step in your routine. Does it help or distract? Too many steps create frustration.
Many of our journals are guided to help you create a routine that works for you.
Journaling tip #5: Use your journal as a health tracker.
Journaling can be one of the most effective ways to track your health. When we use journals as a health tracker, we can identify patterns of behavior and areas of concern when we talk to our doctor.
You can use a journal to track your:
Journaling tip #6: Use sticky notes to write daily affirmations.
Mainly known for productivity, sticky notes are also a valuable tool for self-awareness, self-growth, and mental health wellness. On your sticky note, write a daily affirmation to continue to help you overcome negative or self-sabotaging thoughts.
Your affirmation may focus on your identity, self-worth, growth, or healing. You get to choose.
Once you write it, speak it.
Be sure to post your note somewhere you will see it regularly, like your bathroom mirror, computer, or planner.
Journaling tip #7: Choose a pace that works for you.
Many people are hesitant to start journaling because they think you must journal every day. Journaling daily doesn’t work for everyone; actually, it creates a lot of pressure.
When you choose to begin journaling, decide how often you can journal consistently.
Maybe you want to start once a week, doing a brain or life dump of your feelings, ideas, and reflection of the week. Or perhaps you want to journal on days before you go to therapy or at the beginning of the week when using your daily planner.
How often you write in your journal is up to you. Just be sure to choose what you can sustain.
Journaling can seem daunting and even frustrating, especially for beginners or people who think journaling isn’t for them. However, implementing even a couple of these journaling tips can take you from a novice journal writer to a journal lover.
You can make your journal fit your lifestyle and fit your learning style. Your journal can be whatever you like. Just remember, there are NO rules and NO wrong way to journal—experiment with what works for you. The good news is when you are ready to start incorporating a journaling routine, you can start with these simple journaling tips.
What journaling tips would you add to the list?
Cheering you on,