How to START journaling and 5 tricks to STICK with it

Journaling is a hot topic these days and trust me it’s worth all the hype! I must say journaling has just changed my life for the better. If you’re wondering what’s journaling? Why is it recommended? How to get started? Or if you’ve already started it but not able to keep up, keep reading, I have got you covered!

What is journaling?

I read this sentence in an article- “journaling can be whatever you want it to be!” You will be rolling your eyes if you came here thinking journaling is something very fancy. But it really is that simple! Journaling is a record of your feelings, experiences, goals, and many other things. As said before, it’s a record of whatever you want to record! It can be a place to vent out your anger, can be a friend hearing you out, it can be a place where you express your gratitude, where you collect your goals, dreams, and achievements.

4 myths about journaling:

There are some misconceptions about journaling. People think journaling must be like this, like that, you must write only this or that. If you’re one of them, let’s bust some of the myths about journaling.

1. Myth-There’s good and bad journaling:

Journaling is not for judgment. It’s for you, your happiness. Whether you write in best literary language with impeccable spellings and grammar or you write absolute crap, doesn’t matter.

2. Myth-You have to write every day:

Now, I feel this is one of the main reasons why people give up journaling. When you force yourself to write every day, you lose the fun part. It might seem to you like a chore that HAS to be done.

Some days you may not feel like journaling and that’s completely fine. Give yourself the freedom to journal whenever you want. Journaling is more about expressing yourself out of inspiration, and less about doing it regularly. I'm not denying the fact that journaling every day has amazing benefits. My point is don't force yourself.

3. Myth-Journaling is only for dumping negative feelings:

You don’t always have to vent your anger, frustration, and all the negative emotions in your journal. While you have all the freedom to write whatever you want, it can be positive feelings as well. You can write about your achievement, goals, why you felt happy today, you can keep a track of what you ate today, options are plenty.

4. Myth-Writing/typing is the only option:

Let’s say you are someone who doesn’t enjoy writing much. But you want to express yourself, record your experiences. Don’t worry. There are other modes of journaling such as audio and art journaling.

Types of journaling

There are many journaling prompts, but mainly there are 3 types- writing (or typing), audio journaling, and visual (or art) journaling.

As I said before, there are hundreds of prompts if you want to do the ‘writing journaling’. For more details on this, check this very informative post by my friend and fellow

blogger @bloomspace__

Art journaling is where you express yourself using pictures, colors, doodles, and also words. This is a great way of journaling if you love to draw and paint.

Audio journaling is not very popular but it’s very easy. If you are extremely busy to sit and write or if you feel like venting out something on your way back from your office and you can’t afford a place to sit and write, audio journaling is for you. Just pick up your phone, turn on the audio recorder and record your thoughts. That’s it, journaling done!

Benefits of journaling:

Now you know everything about journaling. But why should you keep a journal? You must have heard from someone that journaling reduces stress, anxiety, helps to cope with depression etc, etc....But how? Read on...

  • · When you write down your thoughts, your thoughts take a definite structure. It’ll help you understand better, what exactly are you going through, what exactly is bothering you.

  • · Research has shown that, when you write, your left brain that is responsible for reasoning and logical thinking is active. At the same time, your right brain that is the creative brain is free and wandering freely. This leads to an improvement in your creativity.

  • · Journaling helps you achieve your goals better. Studies show that those who write down their goals are 42% more likely to achieve them compared to those who don’t.

  • · It makes you organized

  • · As you dump all your thoughts on the paper, it creates more mental space and makes way to more thoughts and creativity.

Simple steps to get started:

1. Choose a good notebook/ journal:

I am not saying you need to invest a lot in the most elegant looking journal, but picking up a good notebook with good quality pages or a beautiful cover page might motivate you a little.

2. Start small:

Don’t overwhelm yourself with a goal to write a couple of pages in the beginning. Start writing half page or even 2 sentences will do.

3. Don’t judge:

As I said before, there’s no good or bad journaling. Don’t try to judge your writing style, language, or what you write. Just write whatever comes to your mind.

4. Set a timer:

Sometimes you start writing, but get distracted in between. To avoid that, choose a place and time where you’ll not be disturbed. Set a timer of 15 or 20minutes and put your phone away. Write till the timer goes off.

What to write in journal?

If you’re wondering what to write in your journal, here are 8 things you can include-

1. Affirmations:- Affirmation is a powerful way of making your brain think positive. Write down positive affirmations like “I am enough”, “I am loved”, “I am worthy as I am”. When you write them, imagine in your mind that you truly genuinely believe in them.

2. Gratitude:- Trust me this habit will change your life. Write down at least one thing you’re grateful for at that moment. It can be as simple as your meal, the roof over your head or your health.

3. Experiences:- You can write about your day. How did your day go? What made you feel good or bad? What did you learn? How are you going to improve?

4. Diet journal:- Eating healthy is always a priority. Keeping a track of food that we eat can be very helpful in controlling binge eating and consumption of sugar.

5. Brain dump:- This is my favourite. As the name suggests, just dump everything your brain is holding. Don’t keep any filter and you’ll notice an instant uplift in your mood.

6. Goals and achievements:- A goal not written is just a dream. I have personally noticed when I write down what I want to do, the chances that I take action on it are much higher. When you write down your goal, your subconscious mind registers it and you’ll eventually start working on it.

I cannot stress enough the importance of keeping track of daily achievements. It has made a lot of difference in my self esteem. Your achievement can be as small as not hitting the snooze button, or saying NO to something, or helping someone. Write all the little details. Appreciate yourself generously. Then come back and tell me how much of your self esteem has improved!

7. Bucket lists:- Who doesn’t like bucket lists? We all love to dream and hope for beautiful things to happen to us. Keep a list of what you want to do, places you want to travel to, languages you want to learn.

8. Letter:- I do this once in a while and I love it. When you’re feeling low or in a bad mood, write a letter to yourself. Or make it better; write a love letter to yourself. Tell yourself how much you love yourself and appreciate all your best qualities. Doesn’t it sound fun?

5 simple tricks to stick to journaling:

Many times it is easy to start something but hard to keep up with that habit. If you’ve started to journal in the past but have just quit due to various reasons, here are some simple tricks-

1. Carry your journal everywhere-Life can get very busy sometimes. Have your journal with you all the time so that you can make good use of times waiting for someone or the bus.

2. Select a journaling prompt that interests you- You might like gratitude journaling and your friend might just like to braindump. Feel free to choose any prompt you like.

3. Make it interesting- Try to set a mood for journaling. Light candles, turn on some soulful music and make journaling an enjoyable, calming experience.

4. Use colors- If you’re someone who likes colors, like me, use colored pens, highlighters and unleash your creativity in journaling.

5. Observe how you feel after journaling- Once you notice the calmness and peace inside you after journaling, I promise you’d never stop journaling. You may not understand it immediately, give it some time and you’ll see the magic!

Thanks for being with me till here!

If you're still feeling overwhelmed about journaling, don't worry!

I have created a free printable to ease your journaling journey. It has 7 questions you can answer every day (or whenever you feel like journaling) and feel better about life.

Download the freebie from the form below (scroll down to the end of the page to find the form) and let’s journal together!

Do send me your feedback and suggestions about the freebie.

Also, I’d love to hear about your journaling stories in the comments.

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Download your JOURNALING FREEBIE here

Download your JOURNALING FREEBIE here

Download your JOURNALING FREEBIE here