You don’t have to be a professional writer or an artist to enjoy journaling. In our experience, the only prerequisite to start journaling is finding out how.
The following is a simple, practical, and comprehensive guide on how to start journaling from scratch and importantly, how to be consistent at it. We hope that this post provides you with all the information, foresight, and inspiration you need to get started right away!
Journaling For Beginners
Table Of Contents
- What Is Journaling?
- Why You Should Journal?
- Different Methods Of Journaling
- Best Time To Journal
- Tips Before You Start Journaling
- What To Write In A Journal?
What Is Journaling?
Journaling is a medium for documenting your personal thoughts, feelings, or experiences. It is almost like being the narrator of your life going over the events that have transpired. It is a powerful tool that induces much-needed self-reflection, organization, and creativity. It also aids in healthier mental well-being, coping with difficult emotions, and adjusting to life transitions.
Why You Should Journal?
Journaling enhances your life in several ways. It adds more flavor, enables you to relive happier moments longers, and provides you with perspective and courage to move on from the sadder ones. There is a long list of advantages, and here are the highlights:
- It is therapeutic and cathartic
- It allows you to decompress at your own pace and ensures a healthier mental state.
- It is a great step towards self-discovery
- Induces clarity and provides you with a fresh perspective to organize your thoughts
- Increases productivity
- By detailing a problem and examining it through journaling, you can make better decisions. At the very least, they won’t be impulsive ones.
- It is a great stress reliever, and it also helps in overcoming a depressed state of mind
- It makes you a good storyteller
- It does enhance your communication skills
Different Methods Of Journaling
One of the easier ways to get started is by writing journal entries in a mobile app or web platform. Few apps even allow you to integrate with different social media platforms, include pictures and videos with your content, add locations, privacy-protect your journal with a password, provide cross-device management using imports and exports, and some even provide you with prompts.
The primary advantage of having a digital journal is that it serves as a reliable secure archive. One of the best and most highly recommended apps for iOS and Android is Day One Journal: Private Diary, which has both free and paid versions.
Tip: Before you purchase any subscription or pay for premium features, try the free version first.
Pen & Paper
We started our writing journey in the most rudimentary manner by grabbing a pen and paper. Using school supplies made us reminiscent and added a lot of joy to the experience. Although it lacks security and is not eco-friendly, sometimes, it just feels more cathartic and effective to put words to paper, rather than an illuminated screen.
Ways To Keep Your Journal Private
The acute fear of people finding, reading your personal entries, and judging you based on them is one that every journaler encounters at one point or another. Before we get into how to avoid it, it is imperative you realize that you don’t have to give any credence to others’ feelings or what other people might think about you. Now, onto some reliable tips, you can practice preventing people from reading your journal:
- Locked journals usually make people more curious. Instead, we recommend that you use a normal notebook that is indistinguishable from others. Hiding in plain sight is the best way to ward off peekers.
- Write in a language that people around you would not understand. This method also helps you gain fluency in your chosen language. You can also make the journaling experience more fun by using code language like Pig Latin, or one of your own making.
- Constantly change the place where you stash your notebook after you are done making an entry.
Best Time To Journal
Few, journal at the start of the day to organize themselves. Few prefer going to bed to typically vent about the day and go on and have a good night’s sleep. You can also write to gain a better perspective when something is bothering you or if your head feels too noisy.
Experiment and see what works best for you. There is no such thing as the best time to journal. It is completely based on convenience and personal preference. Journaling is not just a mechanical activity but also an emotional one, so we understand that recommending you set a time and working it in might defeat the entire purpose. However, journaling is a good habit, and to ensure it becomes a habit constant practice is required, and this is what setting a special time would enable you to do. We recommend that you journal at least once a day.
Tips Before You Start Journaling
Journaling is an uncomplicated task. You have to sit down and spend some time with yourself aka “Me time”. By doing so, you get in touch with yourself and understand yourself better.
Sorting your thoughts and having a composed mindset is as if not more crucial as keeping your home neat, and your body hygienic. It is not a milestone but do try to fill in at least one page of your journal every day. Regardless of the quantity, or frequency, the most fundamental factor to ensure journaling works for you is by being brutally honest with yourself and penning down your truest thought, even the ones you feel ashamed of and the ones you do not wish to believe are your thoughts.
The ambiance you choose to pen down your thoughts affects the setting of your mood while you journal. Search and find your favorite cozy corner of a room or in a garden or on a terrace. The place much like your journal is private only to you. So, don’t bother with the aesthetics, just journal in the place where you feel the most yourself.
A journal is an extension of your truest expression of yourself. So, it can reflect you. Decorate it with stickers, smileys, or doodles, if that is your inner expression. Stick to cold, formal binders if that is you, or even feel free to blackout the entire front page, if you feel that is your truest expression. The only prerogative is to create a safe space for you to feel better, happier, and healthier.
What To Write In A Journal?
1. Remove All The Filters, And Air Out Your Head
On a daily basis, either due to various social constructs we place several filters on ourselves to ensure we fit in. This can lead to a lot of stress and a disturbed mindset. If your head is already occupied with different stuff, you cannot focus. When you express all your emotions and the truest parts of yourself in writing, it helps you to witness them in the physical space, and process and acknowledge them. It calms you down and you gain a better handle on discovering your strengths and weaknesses. This is truly helpful in events where you have to take big decisions in your life. You can look over the pros and cons, and make an informed decision. By doing this, you can overcome your fears and insecurities.
Document your life. Sweet or bitter, nostalgia is a feeling that is true and regardless of the consequences always cherished. You can write about your day, the people you met, the places you visited, the emotions you felt, how you spent your time, and even how you wish you were spending your time. When you are unsure about what to write, write the first thing that pops into your head. Do not force it, attempt it and let your thoughts guide you.
Tip: If you wish for a more persistent presence to help you journal, you can use prompts or a guided journal.
2. Plan Your Day
You can start your day by setting goals for the day. List down the things that you are looking forward to doing today—the tasks you want to complete, places you wish to go, the items you need to buy, meetings or appointments that you wish to keep, etc.
3. Daily Affirmations
Log your daily affirmations or the one task that you are targeting to complete for the day. It always gives hope and brings positive energy.
4. Short-Term and Long-Term Goals
Record your short-term and long-term goals, your dreams, and also your bucket list. Setting a timeline motivates you to achieve your desires. It also helps you to realize how far you have progressed and gives you the right push to start making progress on them.
5. Your Learnings
People say, “Learn something new every day”. Well, it is equally important to remember what you learned. Irrespective of how small or big it is, when you pen it down, it registers in your mind.
You can note down your favorite lines from a book you read, lessons learned after listening to podcasts, a youtube video that made your day, a conversation with a friend, a new word that you came across, or even a fun fact.
6. Daily Quotes/ Proverbs
The more you read, the more you learn. Writing a quote or proverb every day makes you wiser, or at the very least it makes you feel more efficient. Most importantly, it brings on a positive mindset.
7. Daily Streaks
Daily Streaks are the most effective way to track your daily progress. Create a table with a list of activities on one side and the days of the week on the other. Visually tracking your habits helps you to stay consistent, thereby, considerably improving your chances of achieving your goals.
You can include trivial pursuits like watching sunrises/ sunsets, following your morning routine, drinking 3L of water, physical exercise, reading at least one page in a book, and learning a new language.
It is important to write about things that you are grateful for in life —food, health, family, wealth, or the work that you love doing. It helps you celebrate the present and appreciate the small things that add much-needed spice to your life.
9. Daily Expenses
Tracking your expenses every day is the first step towards financial freedom& security. This habit aids you in better managing your money by projecting and thereby, eliminating wasteful spending.
Any idea that enters your head is worth jotting down. One day, you might successfully implement it in real life. It could be your future business idea. Every great entrepreneurial idea started as a shower thought, so do not ignore them. You can also note down things like birthdays, festivals, etc.
The starting point of your Journaling journey is the hardest part but it has the potential to become the most rewarding endeavor. At times, you might feel that journaling is a time-consuming task. In those times, remind yourself that mental health is equally important as physical health. So, it is worth spending that extra time to ensure you lead a happier and easier life in the long run.
Try to enjoy the process and make journaling a regular practice.
Have you started your journal yet? Let us know in the comments below about your journaling experience and how it has benefitted your life. Also, do follow us on social media for amazing content like this.