Make journaling part of your routine

Creating a journaling habit is a long-term commitment so that you can gain more insight into your life. It’s a look into the past + present and if using a vision writing process also a glimpse into the future. Getting started can be easy but it’s the daily habit that may become a challenge, here are some tips to help you!

Make it Easy!

Don’t make it a huge deal, and it’ll be simpler to get done. For example, it’s easier to use a notebook and paper than a computer for most people. You can have the book in your bag or on your bedside table or wherever you plan to write in it.

Choose a Time That Works for you

The best times to do it are early morning, first thing, or the last thing before you go to bed. However, that might not work for some people. If you know a better time, do it. For example, some people like journaling while on lunch at work in the park. It’s up to you.

Get a Drink and Eat a Snack

You don’t want to have any excuses or extraneous thoughts while you’re writing in your journal. Make sure you’re fed and hydrated.

Create a Comfortable Space

It’s easier to get into your thoughts if you’re comfortable and not thinking about how parts of your body hurt. Sit at a desk, a comfy easy chair, or on the bed. This is your time to focus on you!

Combine It with Something Else You Enjoy Doing

If you enjoy your cup of coffee or tea in the morning, then why not sit with your journal at the same time?

If you do this daily, then add in journaling to your coffee or tea time will help you develop the habit faster.

Add Music to set the mood

Some people prefer silence and that’s okay but perhaps adding some music with no words can help you gather your thoughts and stay calm and focused.

Use a Particular Type of Journal

You may find that a bullet journal works best in the mornings while a prayer journal is best for evenings because it already indicates what journal entry you are focusing on.

Consider Using Journaling Prompts

Journal prompts are great for when you feel a bit stuck on the free writing bit.

Reward Yourself

When you have been consistent for a month writing in your journal, take some time to read what you wrote, then reward yourself for doing it. You might buy some colored pens or some scrapbooking materials so you can add some definition and interest to your journal.

Experience the Benefits

It needs to be done most days, which is why you need to find a way to incorporate journaling into your everyday life. The best way to accomplish this is to make it easy and turn it into a habit.

Create a Journaling Habit

The Journal Habit

Creating a new habit takes time, practice, and patience, and learning to the journal is no different. Whether you are wanting to start journaling to improve your self-awareness and emotional health or to help you gain clarity or solve a problem, it is important that you start with a solid foundation that will help you integrate this important and worthwhile activity into your life.

How to Start a Journaling Habit

First, you need to decide what part of your time lends itself best to a regular writing habit. Like any habit, you need to find a space for it in your life if you want it to stick. When is a time in your day that you can devote 10-20 minutes of quiet reflection? During what part of your day is your mind most capable of this habit? Some people do not like to write every day but instead, commit to a practice of three or four times per week. Before you start the process, figure out what you can reasonably commit to and make a choice to write during these times.

Next, you should consider which format will work best for you. Is a paper journal best or will an app help you make this a habit? Does keeping it on your computer make more sense? Whatever you choose, get the notebook, download the app, or create the document, but get yourself ready to write. Now, it is time to write.

Just do it.

Do not worry about what you write. Don’t filter or edit yourself. Just let your thoughts flow from your mind into your journal. If you get stuck, look for prompts online to get you going, but don’t worry about following any type of formula or focus right away. Just start writing. The more you do it, the easier it will get.

Once you have been at it for a week or so, look for ways that your journal entries can inspire you to take action or make minor changes in your life. Have you noticed themes popping up more? Are there things you can do to address some of these areas? What will your journal teach you?

Reflection on your entries is perhaps the most powerful part of your journaling habit. Look back to see how far you have come, what you can learn, and what you notice about your emotions or decisions. Learning from your entries gives you insight, helps you make better choices and promotes better understanding.

Did you know?

Once you have started, it is essential to keep it up. It can help to set a reminder on your phone, create an appointment on your calendar, or post notes around your home or workspace that help you remember to write every day. Start small and work your way up toward longer stretches if writing is not already a part of your daily routine. Even if you just journal for five minutes a day for the first week, this is helping you build a habit.

Give yourself time and be patient. You may not notice that you think or feel differently for a few weeks. That’s okay. Like all good things, the results take time to develop. You will start to notice them soon, I promise.

Overcoming SElf-Doubt

Increase your self-belief with positive affirmations

Positive affirmations to increase your self-belief can help in ways that you may not realize at first. It might seem silly to you right now to repeat things to yourself or in your journal that you don’t believe at all. But, studies have proved that positive affirmations do help people feel better and more positive, and make them believe in themselves more.

Overcoming imposter syndrome

Do you know that many people who are super successful are walking around with imposter syndrome right now? They are by all accounts very successful in their endeavors, but they feel lousy because they don’t think they deserve it. They feel fake. They feel as if everything they’re doing is a fluke and at any moment someone else is going to find out about the truth. If you feel that way sometimes, use these tips to overcome imposter syndrome.

This is where journaling can be one of your most powerful weapons!

Write about if it feels too easy, that you have value, and give yourself credit for the work you’ve been putting in!

Own it all and realize that imposter syndrome is something you don’t have to live with!

Nix negative thoughts this way

Dealing with negative thoughts is something that everyone does. Some people choose to allow negative thoughts to freeze them in their tracks. Other people have a negative thought and then transform that into a positive one instead.

If you want to be a person who has good self-esteem and lets go of self-doubt, purposefully turning negative thoughts into positive ones will help you like almost nothing else. Your journal is a great space to deep-dive into your negative thoughts! You can get to the root of it all and then rewrite the thought!

How to deal with worries with less stress

If you tend to worry writing it down will help you let it go! Make this your journal prompt so you can state the worry clearly and then tune into some action steps you can take.

Know that some worry in life is normal. If we never concerned ourselves with anything at all, none of us would be able to even do what’s necessary to put food on the table or get out of bed in the morning.

Remove toxic people from your life

Toxic People Will Not Change. Often this is hard to accept because you may love the person. But toxic people usually do not accept their issues and try to place blame on everyone around them.

They won’t change because they don’t think they need to change. They’ll declare you’re the problem when it’s really them. Accept that they’re just not going to change and nothing you do has any power over them.

Your journal can be the place for you to write it all out and start setting boundaries to maintain your own well-being.

Have self-doubt and need motivation?

If you have self-doubt, sometimes it can be hard to get the motivation you need to accomplish things in life. But, you can become more motivated if you work towards understanding your self-doubt. Most of the time, self-doubt is not founded on anything to do with reality. It’s just your own negative talk in your head that keeps you from doing the things you need to do.

Positive ways to deal with failure

Failure is part of life. In fact, if you don’t sometimes experience failure, it’s probably because you’re not living life to the fullest. You need to leave your comfort zone to experience either success or failure. But it doesn’t change the fact that we fear failure, avoid it, and dread it.

This is again a place where your journal can be helpful in writing it all out! When you end up having to deal with failure, there are ways to look at it that are positive.

Write about all the things you’ve learned, how you’ve grown and whatever else comes to mind.

Reflect on Past Writings

Everyone needs to change and evolve to be better.

We may not all have the same needs for evolution in the exact same areas in life, but then no one is perfect. A journal can help you even if you are feeling a bit reluctant to do it.

The great thing about a journal is that it holds your entries over a span of time where you can tap into your past and see how far you’ve come.

You will start in the place you’re in now.

Always begin with the present so that you can see your state of mind, your reactions to things, your hopes and dreams. It’s okay to include bits and pieces of your past to show how you arrived at the place you are now.

You’ll want to discuss outside factors that influence your life. What people do you surround yourself with? What’s your career like at this moment? Your health? Your stress levels?

Try journaling all of your thoughts as if you’re engaging in a comprehensive brain dump. Don’t censor them to be perfect – just say whatever comes to mind about how you feel in regards to certain areas of your life.

Be blunt and honest with yourself about your shortcomings.

What is it you need or would like to see changed about yourself? Are you quick-tempered? Do you tend to get lazy and then blame everyone for your inability to motivate yourself?

The only way you can make a significant change in your life is if you’re willing to truly shine a light on yourself and see where you’re not living up to your full potential.

Don’t let the process scare or intimidate you.

Everyone has room for growth

The fact that you’re willing to engage in personal development to better yourself makes you far ahead of most others who have things they need to work on.

When you’re using a journal to elicit internal change, make sure you give yourself credit for everything you’re doing right, too. Don’t just use your journal as a battering ram to beat yourself up.

Take pride in the accomplishments you’ve succeeded in and the amazing personality traits you possess that benefit the world.

If you get stuck with change, try writing about it in a third-person perspective, like an author writing about someone else’s life.

This can sometimes shake things up and show you the problem from a new angle, making it easier for you to find the right solution.

Journal Templates

Here you’ll find a variety of different journals to download and print out so you can get started in your writing journey.

Ive Been Thinking Journal

Is exactly what the title implies – it’s for your thoughts!

My Ideas Are Bright As The Stars

Write down all of your ideas in this journal so you have a tally of all the things your mind comes up with – and who knows which one of these ideas could indeed change your life.

Finding Happiness

Writing down all the things that bring you happiness every day can be a real good boost to your overall well-being!

Friendship Journal

True friendship is something neither time, nor distance can break. Whether it’s a new budding friendship or a friend you’ve known since your toddler years, communication is key to keeping the friendship solid.

Meditation Journal

With today’s heavy workloads and busy lifestyles, it’s no wonder our minds are cluttered. Stress, anxiety and depression are just a few of the many issues caused by this overload. One of the easiest and least harmful ways to reduce, or eliminate this clutter is through meditation.

Gratitude Journal

Gratitude is an emotion

It’s how you feel when you’re thankful for something. Think right now about something that you’re thankful for. It can be small like the socks on your feet or it can be larger like the roof over your head, your job, your family, or your life.

Gratitude is also an awareness or recognition.

When you express or feel gratitude, you’re acknowledging that there is good in your life, in you, in the world, and all around you.

Feeling grateful changes how you feel inside.

It’s easy to let the negative thoughts, words, situations, events, and actions in the world take over your heart and mind. Many in society seem to focus on the negative. It’s on the news, in magazines and newspapers, and it may be the general tone of the conversations you encounter during the day.

Yet, the simple emotion and expression of gratitude diminish all of that negativity in a powerful way.

Over the past ten to twenty years many disciplines have conducted studies on the impact of gratitude.

It’s easy to let the negative thoughts, words, situations, events, and actions in the world take over your heart and mind. Many in society seem to focus on the negative. It’s on the news, in magazines and newspapers, and it may be the general tone of the conversations you encounter during the day.

Yet, the simple emotion and expression of gratitude diminish all of that negativity in a powerful way. Over the past ten to twenty years many disciplines have conducted studies on the impact of gratitude.

Gratitude changes your perspective on the life that you’ve been given. When you have gratitude in your life you:

Feel less victimized by others or by life. Blaming no longer exists. Rather than look at what you lost or what you don’t have, you’re able to reframe situations and move forward focusing on what you can do and what you have.

Have a more open heart. Gratitude helps you become more compassionate and empathetic. You’ll be able to connect with people even if you don’t think you have much in common with them. It’s a more rewarding way to live.

Glass half full approach. With gratitude, you’ll be able to recognize and appreciate what you have rather than what you don’t. As you begin to become aware of what is good and positive in your life, what is good and positive will grow.

Attract more gratitude and happiness. It’s often found that people attract experiences and people based on what they expect. If you focus on and expect good things to happen, more good may show up.

The Bottom Line is

People who practice gratitude reportedly have a better quality of life.

However, this is one of those things in life that you have to experience for yourself before you will be able to fully believe it and before you’ll embrace it into your life.

How Do You Practice Gratitude?

The concept of practicing gratitude begins by creating a habit.

For most people, the simplest habit, and the most effective one, is to create a gratitude journal.

Many people journal in the morning, or at night, or both as they are quiet times. You can keep the journal right next to your bedside. First thing when you wake in the morning, you journal about gratitude or last thing before you go to sleep at night.

Now you can, of course, journal whenever it feels right for you.

The process of writing it down, as opposed to dictating your gratitude or typing it onto your computer or mobile device, seems to have a stronger impact on your brain and mindset. The act of writing seems to wire your brain differently and create a connection between your thoughts and the words on the page.

Does this mean that you can’t or shouldn’t create a digital journal? Absolutely not. If dictating your gratitude or typing it works for you then by all means do that.

There are no rules for a gratitude journal.

So What Do You Need to Start a Gratitude Journal?

  • Patience – Gratitude takes practice. Being grateful and shifting your mindset, thoughts, and beliefs isn’t an overnight process.
  • Routine – I’ve already mentioned journaling in the morning or at night, or both. We also discussed a lunchtime habit. What matters more than when you journal, is that you journal when you can make it part of your daily routine.
  • Materials – What are you going to use to journal? Are you going to use a mobile application? Are you going to use a notebook?
  • Quiet Time – The time you spend journaling your gratitude should ideally be uninterrupted time. This time allows you to reflect on the day as well as your thoughts and feelings.

Where Do You Find Gratitude?

Finding gratitude can feel challenging. On the first day of your practice, you may find yourself sitting at your desk just staring at an empty page. The day was lousy, you’re exhausted, and maybe the gratitude practice just isn’t for you.

There are no rules. Just like there’s nothing too small or too big to be grateful for.

Types of Journals

Different Journals for different purposes

When you start journaling you may consider having more than one type of journal. This can help you stay organized. This way you can simply go to the specific journal to work on one issue at a time or keep something organized so you can make better decisions.

Bullet Journals

This type of journal is useful for anyone who has lots of to-do lists, loves using a pen and paper, and who enjoys goal tracking.

Your journal should have a table of contents that you create as you add to the journal so you can find things.

You’ll use symbols, colors, and lines to make your bullet journal. You should be able to understand at a glance what’s on the page.

Vision Journals

You may have heard of vision boards and this is essentially it, except it’s a journal that helps lead you to your vision. Add one goal per page and write words, add pictures or draw something that allows you to feel into you reaching your goal! When you do reach the goal, go back and add the date of achievement.

Line a Day Journals

One line per day is all you write here! You will simply write in the journal a short line about what you did that day.

It should be only a sentence or two at the most, and should not take up that much space in your journal.

You could use a calendar and a pen for this.

Classic Journal

This is simply a diary, and you can write whatever you want in it every day. It can be long, short, or you can skip days if you want to. The classic journal is just like the diary that you maybe kept as a child. You write whatever you want in it daily.

Prayer Journal

This is a particular type of journal where you essentially act like your diary or journal is your higher power. Write God your prayers instead of saying them. Write them down so you remember them and can look back on them.

Dream Journal

Some people really like tracking their dreams because they believe that dreams provide signs for life.

If you want to track your dreams, you have to train yourself to write in your dream journal every morning while you still remember the dream. Write about the dream and then research what it means and write about that too.

Food Journal

Write down everything you eat every day. You can include the calorie contents and so forth. It can also help to write down why you eat it, how you felt about eating it, and things like that.

Travel Journal

A wonderful way to remember your travels is to keep a travel journal. Some people like making one for each trip so that it’s easier to remember. You can write your thoughts in your journal, but you can also attach tickets, pics, and memories.

Gratitude Journal

This is just what it sounds like. It’s a journal where you record each day what you’re thankful for and grateful for.

Nothing can be negative in this journal because it’s designed to help you think more positively.

Project Journal

This is a handy journal to keep, especially for anyone who regularly works on projects. Keeping a journal of each project you work on that records actions taken, results, and data, will help you improve every project but will also help you look back on this one with excitement.

Store your thoughts + Memories

If you want to journal to help work through a problem, keeping specific journals for different things is an effective way to go about it. It’s also a great way to store your thoughts and memories for the future in a more organized and useful manner.


Achieve your goals

Journaling can help you achieve your goals because it will force you to think about them, consider the why and how, and delve deeper into the situation so that you can examine all sides of it.

It Forces You to Write Down Your Goals

When you start a journal, it basically is a way to force yourself to document your goals. Whether you write them down on paper or you use technology to get it all down doesn’t matter. Once they’re written, they are ready to tackle.

It Makes You Consider Why and How

As you write in your journal, you’ll be forced to face the why and how of your goal. It Enables You to Examine the Opportunities and Roadblocks. You’ll also explore opportunities and threats coming your way due to your goals. It helps you avoid roadblocks in advance.

It Makes You Develop Steps for Success Based on Your Goals

When you see it written down, you’ll want to notice and pull out any steps you’ve developed in your journal and put them in your calendar for scheduling.

It Helps You Improve Goal Setting and Achievement.

Each time you intentionally set goals, define steps to achieve the goals, and perform them, you are setting yourself up for being able to improve your skills.

It Provides Accountability

Even if no one else is reading your journal, a private journal can help you become accountable to yourself. If you develop the habit of looking at your journal each day and put something else in there each day, it’ll work great for helping you become more accountable.

It Provides a Permanent Record

Having a permanent record of the things you’ve done in your life, whether it’s personal or work, is a beautiful thing.

Hardly anyone has a perfect memory, so you’ll maintain the lessons learned better with the record to look back at.

It May Be Inspirational

Depending on the journal, you might even be able to take the information inside and compile it into a real book for others to read to inspire them. You might also take from it steps for your success for a project and turn it into a course to inspire someone else.

Did you know?

Journaling is a great way to work toward achieving all your goals. It will even help you make better goals because the process of entering facts in your journal will cause you to see them in a more logical way that is more useful.

Experiment with your journals

Journaling is so much more than just putting your thoughts and feelings down on paper.

Even though it is a big part, there is almost an endless amount of benefits for your

  • physical
  • emotional
  • mental health

By trying out different things and documenting them, you are able to find more clarity in your life.

Try Different Things

Experimenting with your journal can be accomplished in a few different ways, depending on what you are trying to get out of it.

The first way is by trying new things and documenting them in your journal. The journal is really powerful because it allows you to express how you are feeling about any particular thing, but you often also work things out with it.

If you want to try a new diet in order to help with your physical health, you start by making notes about it in your journal. You can then make a meal plan and grocery list.

After that, write in the journal each day about how the diet is going, changes to make, and whether or not this “experiment” is working for you.

Work Out Your Problems

Another way you can experiment by using your journal is to work out different problems you have.

Perhaps you are having some transition in your life i.e. divorce, children moving out, etc leaving you out of sorts.

You can start writing down as many details each time you have thought about the life changes you’re experiencing.

In this method, can figure out what feelings you’re having and how you can move through them.

Find More Clarity

Experimenting with your journal allows you to find more clarity. The more details you write down in your journal, the more self-awareness you gain.

Every facet of your life can be experimented with in a while, from trying new morning or evening routines, to figuring out the perfect method of sleeping better at night.

It can be useful for physical and mental health, as well as emotional health if you use your journal in the right way.

The key is to write everything down and keep looking back at previous pages when you’re trying to find a pattern.