Where To Begin If You Want To Journal

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Hi, I'm Tanya!

Do you remember growing up and having a diary? I remember having this cute floral diary where I would write about my days after school. I think for me, my favorite part was actually locking the diary and knowing no one could get to it because I had the key lol. It was so cool to me having a diary to write my deepest thoughts in ( who knows what deep thoughts I had back in primary school).
It’s been a little over six months since I’ve been consistent with journaling. I first want to say that journaling is not for everyone, I’ve started and stopped many times, but it helps to manage my mental health. Instead of dumping my issues on my friends and family ( nothing is wrong with this either), I find that writing helps me. I decided to develop a habit of journaling. If you’ve been considering journaling but are not entirely sure how to go about it, I’m here to help.

I want to share how I was able to make this habit stick just in case you want to try it out.

I. Understanding the Why

Before starting anything, coming up with the why should always be the first step in getting into a habit. This helps to look inward and to figure out exactly what your motive is. It could be health or happiness related, or it could be something that you need to do before you can reach another one of your goals. Now, this doesn’t have to be a big “why;” it just needs to motivate you in some way. Once you find the why, you’re more than likely ready to start on a real. 

When I didn’t commit to journaling all the time before, it was because I never had a good reason for doing it. I was more doing it because it was the “It” thing to do according to social media. So with that, of course, it was hard to form this new habit. I’m now consistent, and my main reasons for journaling are to document every moment in my life the good, the bad, and the ugly. Of course, I could come and share how I’m feeling with you here on the blog, but journaling is my me time. You know most moms will drink a glass of wine or do something for themselves when they put their baby down for a nap and call it their “me time.” Well, journaling is when I take a step back and try to be present and center myself. I brain dump on pieces of paper with no filter or goals except to see where it may lead me.

II. Make a commitment

Whenever I’m trying something new, I always try to decide how often I’m going to do it and if it will be a specific day. I’m known for starting and stopping something just because I didn’t have the right mindset. I look forward to journaling, it has become part of my daily routine that I try not to miss. When I first started out, I used to do it daily before bed, now I take my journal with me everywhere I go (church, school, work, grocery store). That way, if I’m having a moment and I need to jot something down, it’s there with me, and then before bed, I elaborate on what I want to talk about or read what I wrote that day.
As much as it’s part of my daily routine, they are times when I’ve missed a day because of how hectic my day was. If for some reason, I’m unable to journal every day, that’s fine. The main goal would be to do it at least every other day. The main reason for this is that it prevents me from feeling like I’m forcing myself to write, just because. Having a few days in between helps with avoiding burn out, yes, you can get burn out even if it’s “just journaling.”

III. Decide what you want to write about. 

The good thing about journaling is that you can write about any and everything you want. A few things I write about are things that I am grateful for, which I think can have a positive impact on my life. It tends to remind you not to worry and helps you focus on all the great things that are actually happening around you. Another thing I find myself writing about is my worries. I know we all worry, but let me tell you writing them down really helps. Writing your worry and stress down and leaving it, there will help to clear your mind and makes you stress less about it, at least for me.

Another thing I write about is my dream and goals. Let me tell you, this will help to put power and intention behind them. There’s a bible scripture that says life and death are in the power of the tongue, which is why we’re told to speak positively about our lives and our goals. A few years from now, you can look back and see how far you would’ve come.

IV. Have the proper tools

Now, when it comes to journaling, you don’t have to buy a fancy journal with a million and one pages, which can sometimes be overwhelming. I remember being on the hunt to find a journal that was deemed “sophisticated” ( at this time, it was all about showing off versus actually putting in the work to make this new habit). I felt so pressured that it dawned on me that you don’t need a fancy or perfect journal; all you need is something you can write in. While shopping for school supplies in Target one day, I decided to get me a notebook, it was simple, and it seemed more manageable. I didn’t have to think about being perfect. All you need is a notebook and some gel ink pens.

V. Use Prompts

So, in the beginning, I had moments when I didn’t have much to talk about. Still, I also wanted to be consistent because writing in my journal was something I looked forward to. As I’ve been doing it more, it comes naturally to me now. However, there are days when I draw a complete blank. Whenever that happens, I use journal prompts. I’m sure you know by now that Pinterest is the go-to source for almost everything. When I don’t know what to write, I sometimes download journal prompts from Pinterest. They have prompts for every day or for some occasion. I take the time to answer a question or write out a prompt just because I think it’s fun. I can, at times, relate and even elaborate on what the prompt is. This has been the biggest help with getting used to actually writing down my thoughts, a little guidance goes a long way.

VI. Don’t Judge Yourself

One of the most important things I learned since journaling is not to filter myself. Get your feelings out on the page and be free; let the words just flow. Turn off distractions ( I struggle with this a bit at times). Most importantly, don’t worry about how you sound or what you’re thinking; remember this is YOUR me time. Journaling is just for you, and sometimes the things that come out onto that paper will shock you. What I’ve learned is that when I go back and read my journal, I find many A-Ha moments.
To wrap up, journaling is such a beautiful habit. It helps you process your thoughts, work through whatever obstacles you may be facing. It helps to put intention into the universe by declaring something on paper (I’m all about setting intentions, I’ve seen what happens when I do).

Now, remember, there’s no right or wrong way to journal. Do what feels exciting and easy. Journaling time is the best time!

Do you Journal? Let me know in the comments below!

Comments +

  1. D_Rich says:

    I love that 6th point, not to judge or sensor yourself! I find that when I start journaling, I begin to do that & so I stop. I am trying to pick it back up again & I need to remember not to judge myself!

    • I used to do this as well and was intimidated but then I remember the whole reason of me journaling is to feel free and not judged. I hope you’re able to pick it up soon and remember not to pressure yourself. Thanks for Reading!

  2. That last tip is so important for journaling! Thanks for sharing!

  3. shushanna says:

    Thanks for sharing sis.

  4. Lala says:

    Thanks to you, I do journal and it truly helps with my mental health.

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