Journalling is something I have started to take quite seriously over the past few months. I mentioned it is a habit I wanted to bring into the new year. It is a great way to note down your thoughts and feelings. There are so many ways in which you can journal. It took me a good few tries over the years to figure out something that worked for me and be happy with it. If you’re thinking of taking up journaling this year here are some prompts which can help you figure out the system which works best for you.
What platform do you want to use?
Ask yourself what type of person are you? Are you someone, like me who is old school when it comes to journaling and likes a notebook, or are you someone who is digital who likes to keep things digital? (If you are a digital person I highly recommend checking out Notion as a way to journal digitally)
Be clear in your primary use of your Journal
Ask yourself the reason you want to journal? Is it because you want to process your feelings and thoughts? Is it because you want to track certain habits as a way to hold yourself accountable to them? Are you doing it as a mental health exercise? Figuring out your reason behind wanting to journal will enable you to discover exactly what you want to include in your journal. For example, if you want to be more healthy, you may include an exercise tracker, or if want to understand how your feeling you may way to keep a mood tracker. If like me, you may want a journal for mismatch of things. For example, I call my journal, my brain dump. It is where I place all my deepest thoughts. I also like being introspective and personal development so my journal also holds things such as mindmaps and notes on my goals etc.
Consistency is key
Part of my problem in the past was that I wasn’t consistent with my journal. I use to think you needed to journal daily but the truth is I don’t have a lot to say every single day. I slowly realised it was ok to not write paragraphs upon paragraphs every day. I keep track of my habits daily but if I don’t have anything to write down then I don’t. On the other hand, there are times when I think oh I should journal that but I am working or doing something else. In this case, I note down the topic and at the end of the day before I leave the desk I will sit down and write it out. I also dedicate some time on a Saturday for self-growth and that includes updating my journal doing some morning pages of random thoughts that may not make sense. My prose in the journal doesn’t flow like a novel but I don’t need it too.
Journal evolution is a good thing
The more you journal the more you will understand what you want to use it for. As with anything new in life, journalling needs to be tweaked and altered to suit you and your needs but you can do this if you start. It may take a few turns, a few wrong pages, maybe a few wrong platforms but if you keep at it, you will hit the sweet spot specifically tailored to you and your needs.
Remember there are no rules to journaling
This kind of ties into some of the earlier points but I think part of the reason people don’t journal or want to but are not sure how is because they associate it with having certain rules. The truth is, there is no right or wrong way to journal. The main thing is that it needs to serve you and your needs. For example, you may include a mood tracker but find that ultimately it doesn’t work for you. I tried bullet journaling and realised the fancy artwork and some of the pages people recommended just didn’t work for me. So I took the bits that did and put them in a format that served me better. We often get caught up in journals needing to have this or that and we can lose sight as to the reason we started journaling, to begin with.
Now I am not the only one who journals and as you may have gathered there are many tips and tricks out there. Here are some of your tips and tricks on how to make journaling work for you.
I would say be as honest with yourself as possible. Remove your own self-judgements and be free to feel and think what you really think and feel – @kukadoodles
My top tip for journaling is: for those that don’t particularly like writing loads and for long or find it hard to find time from their day to day lives to journal, you don’t need to copy anyone’s system. Create a process that serves you. I spend less than 10 mins a night to populate my journal and only on a Sunday night at the end of every week, I’ll write a paragraph on how the weeks been – @heyshumi
My best tip would be: being inconsistent is ok – it can feel like so much pressure to do it every day and when life gets too much for a few days you might feel guilty for not doing it and not want to go back to it. But journalling really is 5 minutes of time for you, and no one else and you dictate the rules around that. Once you find your flow you’ll get there. – @Luciedeano
Don’t feel pressured for it to ‘look’ a certain way – just do what feels good that day, it’s not an art contest but a personal tool just for you! – @emilyjo
If you don’t feel like you have time, make time. Setting some time out (whether it’s 30mins a day or 10 mins a week) is excellent for self-care and can help give you a focus – @emilyjo
Do you journal? Do you find it useful? Would it be worth me following up with a blogpost talking you through how I specifically journal? Let me know.