Journaling is an excellent habit to start doing every day, and today is a great day to start. Have you heard of the benefits that writing daily can provide? Do you know someone who has overcome anxiety or stress due to journaling? It's always a good time to write down your thoughts every day.
If you wonder where to start journaling, know it's not hard to create. You don't need a unique diary or pens to start, even though I love having a cute notebook and pen! If it would help you get started, grab those fancy pens and a special notebook! Journaling covers a wide range of benefits and is all about your comfort level.
Here are a few tips to help journaling become a part of your day-to-day.
Know your WHY
Having a reason or a why for journaling before you begin is essential. Your why will help you stay motivated to write every day. Unfortunately, it is common for people to decide to journal, then give up after the first few days. However, if you have determined WHY you want to journal, you are more likely to keep up with it.
Reasons to journal:
Cope with depression,
Promote healthy self-awareness,
Release thoughts that repeat in your mind,
Be prepared for fears and problems to surface,
Clarify jumbled thoughts in your mind,
and Create goals and tasks to achieve your dreams.
You may have more than one reason to begin a journal, and the more, the better! I journal because I have thoughts racing through my mind at all times. I named my journal “4 am Random Thoughts,” and I jot down my ideas, then expand on them later in the day.
How to Journal
Traditionally, a journal is a notebook, but there are plenty of phone apps or documents on your computer. Therefore, choosing a method of journaling that fits your life and will allow you to be consistent is vital.
Writing in a journal may be your best option if you are a list maker. However, if you rely more on your mobile device, using an app, your phone notes, or an online document may be your best bet. Whichever is going to allow you to be consistent. For example, I use the notes on my phone to jot down my random thoughts, then I use a notebook and expand on the ideas later.
Especially in the beginning, don't be too hard on yourself when journaling. Even if you enjoy writing, burnout often happens and can quickly turn into resentment and wanting to give up.
I started journaling for 10-15 each day, setting a timer. If that seems too long, then start with 5 minutes. You can add more time later once you get into a routine and get comfortable putting your thoughts into words.
Don't force yourself to write at the same time of day. Life happens, and morning, noon, or night may be the right for you. Try different times of the day to see what time works best for you. You may be like me, and on certain days of the week, I journal in the morning and other days in the afternoon or evening. Many find that mornings work best for them because they can get any negative or lingering thoughts off their mind and get on with the day. Find a time that works best for you, and keep writing.
Skipping a day because of mental exhaustion or unexpected situations can change the whole trajectory of your day. So it's ok if you don't write every day, remember to start the next day again.
I admit some days that it is hard to write. Whether I feel so overwhelmed with life, I can't focus, or I forgot, remembering my why helps me regroup and restart. It's challenging to stay motivated to journal during this time. Remember that journaling is a tool for coping with stress and anxiety and not a chore. Going back and reading through my journal also helps me find motivation.
Tip #1 – Prompts
Journaling prompts can be easily found online and help if you can't think of something to write. For example, “What is something you want to have accomplished by the end of the year?” This simple question can trigger enough to write for 10 minutes and give you the necessary nudge.
I ordered a guided journal from Amazon, or you can go to your local bookstore. These guided journals are filled with questions and prompt to help guide you to write down what's on your mind.
Tip #2 – Habit, Not a Hobby
You should view journaling as part of your day-to-day routine. Considering journaling as a hobby instead of a habit may have you not stick with it daily. Then the notebook gets put away until you decide to play with it again.
Journaling should be a task you need to complete, brushing your teeth. Viewing it as an essential part of your day lets you reap the benefits more quickly.
Tip #3 – Every Day
Use an alarm on your cell to remind you to journal every day. The time should be when you can consistently write in your journal or remind you to schedule a time for the day to write.
Once journaling becomes a habit and a part of your daily routine, you may no longer need the alarm.
Tip #4 – Environment
A change in scenery can allow you to get comfortable enough to relax and journal. When I feel stuck, I move into a new room, or I journal at a different time when the lighting is different in the room. Journaling doesn't have to take place in your home. Try going to a coffee shop or park to journal and see what inspiration a new environment can evoke.
Journaling has many benefits once you get started. Writing can feel like a struggle sometimes, and it can quickly become a great release. Perhaps one of your favorite hobbies and habits. The shared tips will help you find it easy to devote a small part of your day to journal your thoughts, feelings, and dreams with proper planning.