How to Start a Journaling Habit: What to Put in a Journal

Some people start journaling and stick to it every day for a long time. But for most people, this is not the case. Even in my own journaling habit, I manage to write a couple of times a week at best.

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It can be easy to forget about it, get lazy and not do it, or just lose interest in journaling. Maybe you aren’t seeing the benefits, or your schedule keeps changing so it is hard to create a good routine. The good news is that journaling can still work for you – there are no rules or guidelines you need to follow. Journaling can become whatever you need it to be.

Let’s look first at why you may want to start daily journaling.

How to Start a Journaling Habit: What to Put in a Journal

Benefits of Journaling

There truly are many benefits of journaling, from tracking your goals, chronicling your life, and identifying triggers to your daily thoughts and feelings.

Journaling reduces stress and anxiety – If you are struggling with stress or anxiety, just writing about your feelings and what is bothering you can have a tremendous effect on your life. It allows you to get those emotions out and really figure out what is triggering your stress or making your anxiety worse.

Helping to set and achieve goals Journaling can also be used to figure out what your goals are, define them, and then start working to achieve them.

Finding clarity in your life – If you feel lost or confused, where you aren’t really sure why you feel stuck or what to do next, you might need a little clarity. This is one of the best benefits of journaling.

Making a big decision – Another way journaling can benefit you is by helping to make a big decision. Just writing out your feelings about a new job or new home in another state can help guide you in the right direction.

Venting and releasing frustration – Sometimes, you just need to vent, without involving another person. Your journal is a safe, sacred place where you can vent about anything that is currently bothering you, and then move on from it.

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How to Start a Journaling Habit

Let’s start with what you’ll use to journal. Don’t get swept up in the most expensive journaling materials, like hardcover or leather journals and fancy pens, if you don’t feel like this is serving you or your budget doesn’t allow it. They’re absolutely not necessary.

I do like a pretty notebook cover with inspiring words, but most of my own journals have been regular-degular notebooks. I did splurge on my manifesting journal and I absolutely love it.

Use whatever you personally want to write in. For some people, it is a softcover journal, for others they want to use a notebook that is larger with more room to write. You might want something smaller to fit in your purse, or maybe you are combining your planner and journal to suit your needs.

Set Your Own Routine

It helps a lot to have a journaling routine, but make it work for you. You really need to consider your current schedule, and where in your day you can either spend a few minutes alone or have the extra time. Just because your best friend journals in the morning, doesn’t mean you have to. Maybe your mornings are already chaotic, and you prefer to journal after your afternoon workout, or at night before bed.

Be flexible with when you write and what you write about. There are no rules here, so even though a routine is helpful, you can switch it up as often as you need to. One day, it might be a stream-of-consciousness journal entry, while the very next day you want to write about 10 things you are grateful for, followed by a daily journal of what you got done that day on the third day. This is how you make journaling work for you.

Switch Things Up Whenever Necessary

As an extension of the idea of being flexible, switch things up when you want! Use a different journal, try journal prompts instead of a stream of consciousness, or start a completely new routine for your journaling. Remember that journaling is meant to help you, not cause you distress. If you feel pressured to do it or like you aren’t enjoying it, it is a sign that you may need to mix it up a little.

How to Start a Journaling Habit: What to Put in a Journal

What to Put in a Journal

When it comes to what to put in your journal, the sky’s the limit! Literally, anything and everything can go into your journal. However, there are a few things that are especially good to include.

One thing you may want to consider including is your daily to-do list. This can help you keep track of what you need to do and when, as well as keep you accountable.

Additionally, writing out your thoughts and feelings can be really helpful in exploring them and working through them. If anything is causing you stress, anger, or any other negative emotions, writing can help you sort through them and calm yourself down.

Doing this has the added benefit of helping to organize your thoughts on paper. This can help give you a better idea of what is really important to you and how things connect together.

Another good thing to include in your journal is your goals for each day, week, month, and year. This helps keep you focused on what you want and where you’re headed so that when it comes time for reviewing at the end of each month or year, it will be easy to see how far along you are! You can also use bullet points if that’s easier for you.

Other things you may want to include are drawings, quotes, photos, and other bits of inspiration. Write your daily affirmations in there, or keep track of your fitness journey. The possibilities are endless!

The bottom line is that your journal should be a reflection of you. It should include all the things that are important to you and that help you live a happy and fulfilling life. So whatever works for you, go for it! And don’t be afraid to experiment until you find what’s right for you.

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