by Petri Maatta

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start journaling

Have you ever thought about journaling?

Have you ever done it before but couldn’t make the practice stick? Or are you searching for another kind of journaling? If any of these issues are on your mind, this “guide” can assist!

In this post, you’ll discover a seven-step procedure for establishing and maintaining a journaling habit. You will learn how to do it and the methods for making it an essential aspect of your day.

Let’s begin by looking at the advantages of developing this crucial manifestation technique.

What are the Benefits of a Daily Journal?

We’ve all heard of famous people who keep diaries, and we’ve all read stories about them. Have you ever considered why diary-keeping might be beneficial to you?

Journaling, we argue in a most recent piece, has nine primary advantages. Journaling has the following benefits:

  • It helps you live a more mindful life
  • Reduces stress levels
  • A tool to aid you in achieving your objectives
  • Emotional intelligence is enhanced
  • L-theanine reduces signs of depression by relieving their symptoms
  • Improves your recall
  • It helps you fall asleep
  • Enhance efficiency
  • Improve your physical condition by exercising

Furthermore, you can look back on important life events to learn about how you felt at the time when you keep a journal. You may be able to benefit from these past experiences, but it’s also nice to have a record of your own. As our recollections become less clear and vivid, they fade further into the past. Recording our lives allows

Journaling is an excellent method to reduce stress during difficult times.

Writing about distressing events has been shown in two studies from 1997 and 2005 to result in physical and emotional health advantages. A 2002 University of Iowa research produced comparable findings, showing that journaling about the traumatic events made people view them from a different perspective.

So, if these advantages appeal to you, let’s get down to business with the seven-step approach for forming a journaling habit.

Step #1: Pick a Type of Journaling

Pick a Type of Journaling

The first step in establishing a journaling practice is to figure out what to write about. Journaling has many different options and kinds, which may be difficult to navigate.

As a result, the first stage of the process is to decide what kind of journaling suits you best.

1. Daily Diary

The most popular type of journaling is writing in a daily diary. A diary is more personal, emphasizing documenting daily occurrences and the writer’s thoughts and emotions about these events.

It is a location to document important life events, such as birthdays, anniversaries, births, and deaths.

2. Prompt Journaling

To look at how the daily routine can impact your productivity, try journaling with prompts. The “what should I write about” concerns are removed in these journals, leaving you with specific reflection questions or mandates to focus on your writing. Frequently, the questions draw out thoughts and emotions that help you develop greater self-awareness, confidence, and personal development that you may not have had otherwise.

If you’re looking for certain cases, look at this list of morning journal writing prompts.

3.  Morning Pages

Morning pages is a favourite writing exercise among serious manifestors, because they give me time and space to consider their life honestly and deeply.

“Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream-of-consciousness writing done first thing in the morning. *There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages.* – They are not high art. They are not even “writing.” They cover a wide range of subjects and anything that comes to mind for you — and they’re only for your eyes. Morning Pages stimulate, clarify, soothe, cajole, order, and synchronize the day ahead of you. Don’t overthink it: write down whatever comes into your head on three separate pieces of paper…then do it again the next day.”

If you’re still on the fence about Morning Pages, here’s a quick rundown: all you need is a blank notebook (more on this later) and a place to write. And if you’re stumped for ideas, here are morning journal prompts that might help.

4. Mindfulness Journaling

Mindfulness journaling, like Morning Pages, allows you to connect with your emotions and experience the world in the present rather than attaching your thoughts to the past or future, where you frequently encounter bitterness and worry.

Mindfulness entails paying attention to the little things around you, which is also a useful talent when writing. Mindfulness is likely to enhance attention to detail because it helps individuals develop the habit of paying attention to everything they see with their senses.

If you like writing in a journal, here are two mindfulness journals (with prompts) to get you started.

5.  Gratitude Journaling

Gratitude journaling is also a form of mindfulness writing. Gratitude cannot dwell on the past or dread the future as emotion and expression.

When you are grateful, you are firmly planted in the present reality of your blessings. Gratitude has several mental and physical advantages, like other mindfulness exercises.

If you’re drawn to gratitude journaling, you may discover many gratitude journals with questions or prompts, use a blank notebook to collect your blessings in any way you see fit or one of the methods outlined in this chapter.

6. Idea Journaling

Your brain is brimming with fantastic ideas that come to you at the most inconvenient times, such as in the shower, on the run, or just as you’re about to sleep. They vanish into the mists of your memory before you can capture them, leaving you feeling disappointed for having missed an opportunity.

But what if you were more deliberate in your thinking? What if you took the effort to brainstorm and record your thoughts before they vanished from your head?

James Altucher teaches his technique for generating suggestions by brainstorming and writing down ten ideas a day. The primary goal of this process is to “exercise your idea muscle.”

10 possibilities for a new career, an improved relationship, ten additional chapters for your book, or simply ten random thoughts that come to you. They don’t have to be good ideas or even doable ideas. The aim is to brainstorm and produce the same way as Morning Pages writing.

You should expect to come across at least a few of these golden nuggets every day. There’s a good chance that at least one or two of them will change your life.

7.      Goal Journaling

Do you have a long-term objective, or do you frequently work on smaller objectives? If that’s the case, goal journaling might be something you want to start doing. Indeed, we think goal journaling is beneficial for everyone because we all want to accomplish something and write it down, making it more real and achievable.

It is vital to have a vision for the future, but journaling about them goes deeper. Goal journaling allows you to get more personal with yourself, your hopes, and your objectives. It’s easier to develop action steps and solutions when you write about your goals in greater detail.

If you’re interested in setting goals, we recommend using the SMART format. The video below explains this idea with 21 examples: If you’d like to understand more about this topic, our comprehensive guide on SMART goal setting is a must-read.

8.      Bullet Journaling

Bullet journaling has taken the productivity and journaling world by storm, revolutionizing the process of journaling and establishing objectives. There are hundreds of bullet-type diaries on Amazon, all based on a concept developed by a young Austrian emigrant who went to the United States to study.

Ryder Carroll, a digital product designer and writer, came up with the concept for the official Bullet Journal and the bullet journaling program. His experiences as a youngster dealing with learning difficulties motivated and inspired him to devise his techniques for being more focused and productive.

To get started, you may read Ryder’s book “The Bullet Journal Method” and watch this video, which gives a basic explanation of how this journaling approach works:

9.      Make Your Journal

You don’t have to stick to one style of journaling. Instead, you may make your diary using a low-cost lined notebook. You may choose and combine the various elements of the many journaling methods we’ve discussed and fashion a personalized set of prompts best suited for your requirements.

For example, you might begin your day by writing down the three things you’re most thankful for, identify the day’s #1 objective, and end it with a journal entry about the most important lessons you learned from yesterday.

Step #2: Set Aside Time Daily

Set Aside Time Daily Journaling

The first step is to plan out when and how often you’ll write in your journal. It’s also important to remember that the most crucial aspect of journaling isn’t what you write but rather trying to fit it into your schedule.

The time of day is unimportant as long as it’s convenient for you.

If you find yourself thinking most often in the morning, get up 15 to 20 minutes earlier and document your ideas. If you’d want to record everything after work is finished (since it helps you relax), make it an evening activity before bedtime (because it helps you relax, you may also discover that you fall asleep faster).

When you write in your diary every day, you’ll get many more advantages. I use my ToDoist app on my phone to keep track of when it’s time to document.

We all know that life happens, and you may forget a day from time to time. It’s no big deal if you miss one day, but don’t miss more than two in a row. It’s easy to fall into skipping your journaling after you’ve done it, and then you have to begin again.

Step #3. Use the Right Journaling Tools


How you keep a diary is entirely up to you—what’s more, the method you use is less essential than whether or not you can do it regularly. According to studies, blogging has some of the same mental and physical benefits as pen-and-paper journaling.

But, if you don’t have a lot of time, you should start with a handwritten diary and give it at least a few weeks. Your journal will be more real because you can’t change your words with just a few clicks.

According to studies, writing by hand activates the brain’s reticular activating system. Whatever you’re thinking about is brought to the forefront of your mind, allowing you to focus on it.

If you want to start journaling, a few resources will help you decide on the best journaling platform. First, if you choose a digital solution, here are the top 11 journal and diary applications. Our advice is to read this article and look at the top two or three apps that appeal to you. After testing each for a few days, please choose the one app that helps it easier for you to create your journaling habit.

Our article on the top 20 best journal notebooks may be useful if you want to go old-school. In this post, we compare the benefits and drawbacks of each journal so you can determine which one is right for your needs. (Also, if you’re searching for a pen, here are the nine best no-smudge pens for journaling and note-taking.)

Finally, journaling is like any other habit in that you must have a daily reminder to do it. Otherwise, it will be easy to forget. We recommend using a reminder system to nudge you into action.

You may follow the standard approach of keeping track of this habit on a calendar or using Post-it Notes, but you can also install alerts on your phone to remind you when to journal. However, as we all know, in today’s increasingly digital world, we propose utilizing an application to track the journaling habit (and all other habits you’d want to develop). We adore these four apps because they’re particularly nice.


Step #4: Create the Right Journaling Environment


It’s all about you and your feelings. The best method to document those ideas is to eliminate distractions. There’s a reason why so many renowned writers retreat into solitude while writing their novels—because it’s essential to focus on writing when you have no distractions.

This does not imply that you must go to a cabin in the woods every time you want to journal, but it requires some free space from other people. Separating yourself from technology while writing in your journal is also critical now.

Here are a few suggestions to set up your environment:

  • Switch the TV off
  • Shut down your computer
  • Please avoid using your cell phone (or turn it off)
  • Find a peaceful area of your home where the family isn’t present
  • Get up early in the morning before anyone else

The key is to ensure you won’t be disturbed if you hear a notification.

This will keep your journaling and writing about yourself only.

We recommend that if you want to make certain that you follow through on your journaling, include it as a main component of your daily routine. To discover more, here is a 7-step method for developing an effective morning ritual:

Step #5: Protect Your Privacy

Keeping your diary private is crucial, even if you don’t care whether others read it or not. It’s possible that you won’t mind if someone reads your journal, but you won’t be fully true if you don’t trust that your thoughts are confidential.

You may be afraid of what others will think if you write about certain issues. This anxiety might prevent you from writing about important subjects in your journal.

You never know if someone will see your journal when you start it. This is why you should take certain precautions to protect your diary as much as possible. Keeping your journal with you at all times is the simplest way to do it. It’s also convenient because you can write down ideas if something major happens or if you have a sudden burst of inspiration.

You should also avoid displaying your diary to others, especially the cover. Hide it away in your bag. Even people you trust will be more tempted if they see your journal, so keep it out of sight and mind.

Step #6: Start Journaling

The ultimate goal of this section is to get your thoughts down on paper. After you’ve decided on the sort of journaling you’ll do and establish the proper atmosphere, open your journal (or app) and begin writing down your ideas. So, here are a few hints for making the most out of your journaling session:

1.      Date Each Entry

If it’s important enough to document, then it’s important enough to date your journal entries. These are your thoughts, but you’ll almost certainly refer back to them later. A date next to each entry can help you understand how your thinking changed when significant life events occurred.

You may also check how you’ve changed over time. Memories fade with time, as previously said. You’ll only have a vague idea of when you wrote each entry if you don’t date your journal entries.

Let’s go one step further and say you decide to leave your diary for others to read. Readers won’t know when things happened if there are no dates since there will be nothing to compare them against.

Here’s one more reason to date all of your entries: it’s simple and quick. You have to fill in the blanks with five or six digits, depending on the month.

You may also include dated products like receipts with certain notes to personalize how you date your daily diary.

2.      Be Honest with Yourself

Remember that this is your personal, private diary. It’s critical to be truthful with oneself in everyday journaling – or what’s the use?

A journal mirrors your sentiments and feelings, so respect it as such and don’t limit yourself. Be honest and open in your feelings because if you can’t be honest with yourself, you can’t be honest with anybody.

Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not to seem more attractive. Allow yourself to express how you truly feel rather than what you believe should happen.

Not sure what to write in your daily journal?

Share the first thing that springs to mind. The essential thing to you at the time is usually what comes first into your head. If you have anything particular that has been troubling you, use your journal as an opportunity to look at it from numerous perspectives.

You may often see a problem from a new perspective when you write about it. You might be able to view a problem from another person’s perspective, or writing about an issue may help you realize that it isn’t such a big deal after all.

3.      Focus on Simplicity

When I began journaling, the main problem I ran into was that I would waste too much time hunting for the ideal way to express what I wanted to say. nI wishes to convey my ideas clearly and elegantly, in the same manner as on this blog and in my books.

Write down your simple ideas as they occur to you. But journaling isn’t intended to be written work. You won’t get nearly as many ideas on paper if you try to journal properly formed phrases. Your journaling will take longer. The sense of accomplishment from completing your task will eventually dissipate, leaving you feeling like a drudge. To boot, you’ll be left feeling dissatisfied with how you wrote your journal entry.

It’s impossible to achieve perfection, and striving for it is a waste of time. Write down your authentic feelings as they arise. Remember that you’re not writing a college term paper or a novel. In journaling, the quality and breadth of your work aren’t stressed.

4.      Avoid Censoring Yourself

Would you self-censor your opinions? Of course not!

So why should you edit what you write in your diary? This is one of the benefits of keeping your journal private. You have the flexibility to express yourself without being concerned about anyone else’s ideas or opinions when you know your journal is for your eyes only.

Don’t worry about your spelling or grammar as you write—regardless of how good or awful it is. If you can understand what you’ve written in each entry, make a few sentence changes or disregard the formal syntax standards if desired.

Step #7: Stick with Your New Journaling Habit

It would be much simpler if you could form any habit you wanted in one night, but it takes time and hard work. It’s possible that journaling will take some time to become a habit for you. So that is why establishing a routine for your journaling is so crucial.

To begin, don’t attempt to establish several habits simultaneously. Everyone has a finite amount of willpower, so dividing it among multiple new behaviours reduces your chances of success for each one. As a result, many people abandon their New Year’s resolutions.

Make your starting journaling habit your top priority, commit to it for at least 30 days, and connect it to another pre-existing habit of yours to get the most out of it. If you start your day with a cup of coffee, consider journaling every morning while you drink it.

If 20 minutes seems difficult, begin with a little habit of only one paragraph per day. This makes achieving your objective simpler, and after some time, you’ll automatically start producing more.

Finally, if you’re not sure how to create habits, this video provides a 9-step process for creating habits that stay:

Final Thoughts on How to Start a Journaling Habit

This tutorial was created because journaling is an important aspect of my life and serves to benefit me daily.

I’m aware of how difficult it is to establish new habits, as I’ve gone through it myself, and that’s why I want to assist others in keeping a personal journal daily.

It’s well worth the 5-, 10-, or 20-minute investment. You’ll learn more about yourself, reduce your stress levels, and have a record of your life to refer to in future years if I promise you that it’s worthwhile.

Finally, suppose you want to learn more about this subject. In that case, I recommend checking out the book I co-authored with Barrie Davenport called “Effortless Journaling: How to Start a Journal, Make It a Habit, and Find Endless Writing Topics” on Amazon.

petri maatta, CEO
Petri Maatta

Petri Maatta is a photographer, filmmaker, and webdesigner who has been working for over 20 years in the creative industry. Fascinated by manifesting for business reasons, Petri was determined to find out what it took to create success. He started his career with seven years of business failures before he found success by learning about manifesting from a mentor with a Fortune 500 company. Today Petri shares his knowledge through DreamMaker courses designed to help people change their businesses and lives while living on their terms.

Read more About us or read My Story.


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