Motivation - January 7, 2020

How to Make Journaling a Habit

Hey, friends! Today’s post is all about one of my favorite things – journaling! I mention it A LOT on Instagram and here on BTD, but I realized recently that I’ve never really shared with y’all how to make it a habit. I want to walk through this because journaling is honestly so therapeutic for me. If you’re just getting started, I don’t want it to feel like a “chore” or just another thing on your to-do list. It truly has become part of my morning routine and brings me so much peace before I start my day.

One quick thing to note about journaling before I dive in with my tips on how to make it a habit, is to know there is no wrong way to do it! Journaling can be incredibly personal, so just make it yours! Don’t worry about rules or how I do it, just get started, k?

Buy a journal that gets you excited

This is the really fun part of journaling if you ask me. I am a planner and journal junkie. Lately I haven’t been using a written planner because most of my schedule is digital, but I always have a journal with me! Even though I don’t currently use a physical planner, I’m still obsessed with them! I could hang out in the office section of Target all day long. Anyone else?!

But even if you don’t get as excited as me about picking out your journal, try to have some fun with it. Get something that reflects your personality. Maybe that means getting a neutral color, or maybe it means something bright. Make it your own!

As I’m sure you know (since there are aisles dedicated solely to journals these days), there are SO many different kinds. You can find anything you want – blank paper, lined paper, or even guided journals that help keep you on track. If you’re already worried about what you’re going to write, I suggest going the guided route. I like this one. It takes all the guesswork out of it and makes you feel like someone is helping you figure out how to more productive, disciplined, etc. This one is also great if you really want to focus on gratitude – something I want to do more of in 2020. Or if you want to go the basic, blank page route this kind is perfect for brain dumping and just getting your thoughts out of your head and onto paper.

Pick a time dedicated to journaling

If you want journaling to become a real, daily habit, the best way to do it (at least for me) is to pick a dedicated time for it. Y’all know I love to journal during my quiet time every morning. I use my journaling time to connect with God but also to write out all the things that my brain won’t stop trying to remind me of. Getting it down on paper really helps my brain calm down so that I can focus on more important things like what I’m learning in life, my intentions for the day/week, etc.

I have the luxury of taking my mornings a little slower, though, so if you don’t have the time in the morning or don’t want to do it then, I recommend doing it before bed. This way journaling can serve as a kind of brain dump and help you destress right before bed. Speaking of bedtime, if that’s a sore spot for you, read this post on how to make going to sleep easier.

Don’t stress about what you’re going to write

This is why buying a guided journal or one with prompts can be very helpful. Journaling should not be something that stresses you out. And like I said above, there’s no wrong way to do it. If you’re freaking, here are a few prompts to get you started:

  • What scares you more than anything?
  • What are your wildest dreams? Sky’s the limit!
  • How do you feel? What’s upsetting you?
  • What’s bringing you joy right now?
  • What’re you thankful for?
  • What’s stressing you out?
  • What do you want out of life?
  • Write a letter to your future self
  • Write a letter to your teenage self
  • List out all the adventures you want to go on
  • List out all the things that make you happy

As you can see, there are NO rules! Grab a pen and just let the words start pouring out of you. And as much as some of y’all might want to, resist the urge to edit what you write! Misspellings, grammatical errors, etc. – let it all go and just write.

Stay consistent

Like building any habit, you have to be consistent with it. Even on the days where it really feels like a chore, I challenge you to still do it and then take a second to think about how you feel afterward. It’s kind of like working out – you might not want to do it sometimes, but you’ll never regret it. Tell yourself you’re just going to write the date down and one word to describe how you’re feeling. And then I bet you’ll end up writing more. But even if you don’t, that’s OKAY. It’s better to keep showing up regardless – that’s the hard part.

One of the biggest tips I have on the consistency front is to keep your journal with you 24/7! Get one you can fit in your purse (it can be separate from your everyday journal at home or it can be the same) so whenever a mood or feeling hits you, you can immediately write it down. I’ve found that doing it in the moment like this also helps it feel less like a to-do and more of a habit.

Reflect on it

This might feel like something you can skip but don’t! I’ve found reflection to be a crucial step in making anything a habit. It gives me a chance to remember why I wanted journaling to be a habit to begin with. It can be really fun to look back at your old entries, too. Sometimes mine look like craziness all mashed together on a page, but other times I feel like I can see the personal growth between whatever I wrote and where I am in that moment, which feels pretty freaking great.

And with that, I want to add that reflection also allows time to recognize your accomplishments. This is something I don’t think I personally take enough time to do, which is why I wanted to mention it. Celebrating small milestones and moments of personal growth is important and having a record of them in your journal is an amazing opportunity to reflect back.

Don’t overwhelm yourself

Journaling is meant to be helpful so don’t turn it into something stressful by aiming too high too soon. If journaling every day feels like too big of a commitment to start out with, then go with every other day or even just a few times a week for a quick 5 minutes. There’s zero shame in starting small and working your way into it.

At the end of the day, don’t overthink it! There’s no wrong way to journal, I promise! I linked some more great options for you below so you can get started ASAP!