Easy journaling

How To Create An Easy Journal Practice

Here are some tips for creating a basic journaling practice. If you have been feeling a little overwhelmed by journaling and aren’t really sure how to add it to your life, it might be that you are overthinking it. Journaling is nothing more than simply writing your thoughts or ideas onto paper, whether that is a journal, notebook, or just blank piece of paper.

Know Why You Are Journaling

Before you start writing, you need to know WHY you are doing it. It will be very hard to stay motivated if you don’t understand your own reasons. What made you want to start writing in a journal? Are you writing to get to know yourself better, or are you trying to express more gratitude? Was it a recommendation to relieve stress, or do you just want a safe space to vent? All of this matters because it helps you understand the importance of a daily practice, and keeps you motivated.

Narrow down your reasons for journaling to just one thing for now. What is the biggest reason you want to write in a journal? Don’t worry about what that reason is, even if it seems miniscule, pointless, vain, stupid, simple, or anything else. Think about what calls out to you the most, why you wanted to write in a journal, what your main motivation is. This is going to help you understand what journaling really means to you.

Consider a Morning or Nighttime Routine

Creating a routine for your journaling practice will allow you to turn it into a habit you don’t even have to think about. Start by figuring out if you would prefer writing in your journal in the morning or the evening. This is going to depend on your personal preference and your schedule. Everyone has a time of day when they either have a little more free time, or want something to help them relax and get away from the electronics for a little bit.

Decide What You Want to Journal About

Do you have a specific purpose for your journal? Maybe you have a lot on your mind and need a place to vent and figure things out, or you want to reflect on your life. You definitely don’t have to write about the same thing every day in your journal, but this is going to help you to figure out the best journaling practice. For example, if you are doing it for anxiety or stress relief, adding things like essential oils or soft music while you write is really going to help your practice overall.

Set Up Your Journaling Area

It helps a lot to have a designated area for journaling, as it creates ambiance and turns it into something you really look forward to. Maybe you have a desk in your bedroom, an office where you can set up a little space, or you write on your dining room table. Set it up with your journal, writing utensil, and a little ambiance like candles or essential oils.

How to Make Journaling Work for You

It can be easy to forget about writing in your journal, 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 work for you – there are no rules or guidelines you need to follow. Journaling can become whatever you need it to be.

Use Whatever Materials You Want to Write

It can be easy to be swept up in all the most expensive journaling materials, like hardcover or leather journals and fancy pens, but if you don’t feel like this is serving you or your budget doesn’t allow it, don’t use it! Use whatever you personally want to write in. For some people, it is a soft cover journal, others 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 into something else.

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 either need to spend a few minutes alone, or when you 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 and How You Journal

Another way to make journaling work best for you is to 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 are making journaling work for you.

Switch Things Up Whenever Necessary

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

You Are Not Limited to One Style of Journaling

When you read about journaling, a common recommendation is to find one style or one type of journaling, and stick to it. From gratitude journals to daily journals, there is a wide spectrum of ways to use it, often guiding you to different topics and styles of writing. But this is completely optional. If you are someone who gets bored easy, this might not be the best option for you.

The Many Different Styles of Journals

Now more than ever, there are dozens of different styles of journaling, and even more ways to write in a journal. This is one of the great things about journaling itself. There isn’t just one way to do it, there are hundreds of types of journals and notebooks you can use, and so many different topics to write about. It is a versatile, open-minded way of writing your way to a better, happier, more fulfilling life.

Which one is best for you?

While you don’t have to pick just one and stick to it, it does help a little to choose which direction you want to go from the beginning. Just think of it more as a general guide for yourself. Try starting with why you are journaling and what you hope to get from it.

For example, if you are journaling because you want to reach your goals, then you are going to write more about your goals, scheduling when you want to achieve them, listing tasks needed to achieve these goals, and keeping progress in your journal.

Experimenting with Different Styles

You can also experiment with different types of journaling, including the physical type of journal you use, and what you choose to write about.

Maybe you started with a simple lined journal that you used to write about your daily life, what you are accomplishing, and how you feel. But along the way, you decide you want to try a gratitude journal and really focus on being thankful for what you have in your life. You can use the same lined journal, but instead of writing about your day, you focus more on what you are grateful for.

Finding Benefits from Each Type of Journaling

The reason it is great to try something new is because it helps you to see different ways to benefit from it. Experiment with different forms of writing, try various topics and even different types of physical journals themselves.

It is Never Too Late to Start Writing in a Journal

Do you feel like you missed your chance to be someone who journals regularly? Maybe you feel like your age, phase in life, or the time of year makes a difference. None of this is true! The beauty of journaling is that it is completely versatile.

There is No “Best Time” to Start Journaling

Don’t listen to other people if they tell you that you need to start writing on a specific day, beginning of the month, or start of the year. Journaling is flexible and versatile, so you can start at any time, no matter what is going on. Just like dieting, you sometimes feel like you need to “Start on a Monday” or if you didn’t start your journal on January 1st like you meant to, you should wait until next month. This is not true! Start today, right now. The more you write in a journal, the more you see how beneficial it can be.

If You Take Days Off, Just Start Back Up Again When You’re Ready

You can also stop worrying about taking days off. Just because you promised yourself you would journal every single day, doesn’t mean things don’t come up. Just pick up where you left off. People put far too much pressure on themselves, even with something as simple as writing in a journal. This is meant to help you, not to cause you stress. If you don’t write for a few days for whatever reason, just pick it up when you can, and start writing again. There is no perfect time to get back into it, except whenever it is most convenient for you.

There is Freedom and Versatility with Journaling

The great thing about journaling is that it is so versatile. You have more freedom with journaling than many other habits, where you benefit from doing it more often, but you can start at any time. This might be writing first thing in the morning, before you go to bed, during your lunch break, or on the train during your work commute. Think about when you have time or when you tend to have the most thoughts you want to get out on paper, and that is when journaling is best for you.

Journaling Evolves With You

When it comes to journaling, there are many ways to go about it. Some people like specific types of journals like gratitude or daily journals, while others simply like to use it when they need to get something off their chest. Regardless of which way you go, one important thing to keep in mind is that your journaling process and the benefits you get from it can actually evolve with you, as you get older, and through different phases of your life.

What You Want to Write About May Change

Remember that what you write about in the beginning of your journaling journey, isn’t necessarily what you are going to write about forever. As your life changes, the topics you want or need to write about may change as well. Don’t feel pressured to continue with whatever topics you used to write about. For example, if you started journaling because you wanted to track your goals, but now you are more interested in gratitude and enlightenment, that’s okay! Just adjust what you choose to write about – you will still benefit just as much, but in a different way.

Your Journaling Routine Can Evolve

The routine itself can also change and evolve as you do. Maybe you start journaling in the morning, but your schedule or routine changes, so you need to switch to writing at night. Or you find that you don’t do great trying to write during a specific routine each day because your schedule changes a lot, so you prefer to just bring your journal with you and write when you get the time. This is another way journaling is going to evolve over time. Just like any other changes in your life, it is only a means of adapting in small ways to make it still work for you.

The Benefits of Journaling Often Change as Well

A more surprising change that can occur with journaling is that what you gain from journaling is different. For many people, just the act of writing out their thoughts and feelings is benefit enough. This is especially true for people who tend to live in their heads a lot, and don’t have a positive way to express feelings.

But you might find out that benefits change and evolve as you do. Maybe you start noticing that you feel more positive, or that journaling is helping you to make priorities and see where your focus in life should be.

Journaling is Not About Perfection

The reason why journaling is so versatile and can benefit everyone is because it isn’t about perfection or doing it right. It is about the journey and what you choose to get out of it that is going to make it worth it for you.

Your Journal is for Your Eyes Only

Remember there is no reason to be perfect in your journal since you are the only one who will ever read it. Even if you don’t want anyone to read your journal, you might have this fear in the back of your mind that someone might stumble upon it, which can cause you to be careful what you write about. However, if you make sure it is private and kept in a secret place where nobody in your home can find it, you suddenly don’t care about perfection or even when you choose to write about.

Mistakes Reveal a Lot About You

What you might consider mistakes in your journal, can actually say a lot about you as a person and where you are in your life right now. This includes something as subtle as how many times you cross out a word and replace it with another, if you have a lot of spelling errors (or if you even care), and what you write with. The answer is in the details, but the best thing you can do is just accept this and move on.

Reflect on Different Phases of Your Life – The Good and the Bad

You also don’t have to be positive and upbeat all the time, but you also don’t have to use journaling only for venting. Journaling isn’t just about what you get out of it right now in the moment you are writing, but later on when you reflect on where you were and read older journal entries. It can take you right back to those moments. When you don’t focus on perfection and instead just write in the moment, it helps a lot with being able to reflect and find clarity.

Stop Following Arbitrary Rules

Stop with the rules! This is so frustrating because when people think there are guidelines to journaling, they don’t get a lot out of it and usually give up. There is no right or wrong way to journal. It is putting your thoughts or ideas onto paper, and that’s all there is to it.

Journaling Means Something Different to Everyone

When you look up the benefits of journaling, you will find a different collection of benefits on just about every blog post and website you read. This is because it can mean something different for everyone. Some people journal because they want to find clarity, others journal because they enjoy writing about their day.

Here are some ways to figure out what journaling means to you.

What do you personally get out of it?

Once you have been journaling for a while, you will understand what you personally get out of it. The benefits that you get in your life from journaling may be different than the benefits someone else gets. You might be writing in your journal to start being more positive, while your best friend is journaling their goals and using it for that purpose. When you write in your journal, really think about what you are getting out of it and how it is helping you.

What motivates you to keep writing?

It is also good to reflect on what you find to be the most motivating thing, what brings you back to writing in your journal? Maybe it is more of a routine or daily habit, and you should like to have this as a self-care activity, or you are motivated by exploring what is in your subconscious and want more clarity into who you are and what you want out of life. You might be motivated by the prospects of what journaling can do for you in the future, or you are trying to release tension and stress by writing.

What is your journaling experience so far?

Consider what your experience with journaling has been so far. It is not always cut and dry for everyone. You might be someone who had to find a few different things to write about before you figured out what direction you would take, or you started with a goal setting journal, but it became a daily journal over time.

How to Journal in Just 5 Minutes a Day

Journaling is a wonderful practice that provides endless benefits, improving nearly every part of your life. But if you find it tedious or that you just don’t have the time, why not dedicate just 5 minutes a day to it? Everyone has at least 5-10 minutes they can find in a day to write a few things down, then move on to the next task.

Start by Expressing Gratitude

A super quick exercise for your journal is to express gratitude. It only takes a couple minutes, though this can be your entire 5-minute journaling routine if you prefer. However, if you want to add other thoughts as well to the 5-minute journaling session,  just add a quick list of 3 things or people you are grateful for each day. It gets your thoughts going and puts you into a positive headspace.

Try 5 Minutes of Stream of Consciousness

Another way for a quick 5-minute journaling session is to write in the stream of consciousness style. What does this mean? With this style of writing, you are not choosing any single topic specifically. You write the first thing that comes to your mind, then write continuously for 5 minutes. Your thoughts might bounce around to 10 different things before you’re done, and it might not make a lot of sense, but it is a great way to dump all those feelings and thoughts out of your head and onto paper.

List 3 Good Things and 3 Bad Things

For more of a quick list method, write down 3 good things on your mind, and 3 of the more negative or stressful things on your mind. This can be any 3 things, from 3 things recently you accomplished, to 3 things you are grateful for today. Then, you can write 3 of the more negative thoughts, like 3 issues, 3 people who have been stressing you out, or 3 things you have been slacking on a little in your personal or professional life.

Use Prompts

When you feel stuck, don’t waste time just trying to think of something to write about. Journaling prompts provide statements or questions that can get your mind thinking about a specific topic. Instead of wasting time thinking about what to write, just choose a simple journal prompt, and write about what it is asking. There are thousands and thousands of them, which you can find on Pinterest, blogs, and just about anywhere on the internet.

How to Journal Just Once a Week

If the reason you can’t stick to journaling is because you don’t have the time or interest to do it every day, then don’t! There is no rule that says if you don’t write in your journal every day, you aren’t doing it right. Maybe you just have time once a week for a journal entry – that is okay! Here are some tips for writing in your journal just once a week.

Write an Overview of Your Week

If you only have time for one short journal entry every week, then just use that time to write an overview of your week. Write about how your week went, what you got done, what might have caused you stress, a resolution you came up with, something fun, really anything you want. This can be as brief or as detailed as you want.

Write Down Plans for Next Week

Another thing you can do when journaling once a week is to write downy our plans for the next week. Use your journal as a starting point for planning out your week and getting things done. Make a list of what you need to get done this week, then schedule out what days to do it. You can also write down some thoughts you have for the coming week, such as something you are nervous about or what excites you.

List One Thing That Happened Every Day

When you have a little more time, you can write down the days between Monday and Sunday, then write at least one thing that happened from each day. Think about the days one at a time, reflect on how that day was, and just write a few sentences or quick blurb before moving on to the next day. It is a great way to cover all the days in a week without actually having to write every day if you aren’t interested in doing that.

What Are You Grateful for This Week?

Gratitude is really powerful and can actually add to your own happiness. It is a great thing to include in your weekly journal. Try to come up with 5-10 things you are grateful for each week. Some weeks, they will be identical every week, but sometimes you have something new that happened. Think about what you appreciate the most in your life, including small and big things – they are all important.

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