Have you always wanted to learn how to keep a journal, but have no idea where to even start? Journaling offers some potentially life changing benefits, so it is understandable that you’re interested in giving it a try to help with your mental health and personal growth. Many people who haven’t started journaling yet feel overwhelmed and think that journaling is some complex process that has to be done just right. However, the opposite is actually true. Anyone and everyone can benefit from journal writing. Read on to learn some tips to combat the blank page so you can start writing in your own paper journal or digital journal.
What are the benefits of keeping a journal?
Journaling offers a wide range of benefits and positive outcomes to users. Many mental health professionals see journals as one of the best self improvement tools that their patients can utilize. So, what is so amazing about writing in a journal? Here are some of the top benefits that journaling and expressive writing can deliver:
- Setting and achieving goals: One big component of journaling is often writing down your goals and holding yourself accountable to reaching these goals. As you write your daily entries, you can think about next steps you can take to make your goals a reality.
- Tracking personal growth: When you take time to look back at past entries, you can reflect on all the progress you’ve made in your life and journaling habits since you first started writing.
- Increasing self-confidence: As you reflect back on previous journal entries and see how far you’ve grown, it can offer a major boost to your self-confidence.
- Improving mental health: Writing your emotions—whether related to stress, anxiety, or other concerns—down on paper can actually help you remove these negative thoughts from your head. Moreover, putting things down in writing can help you gain perspective and may offer insights into an effective solution or path forward.
- Improving writing skills: Practice makes perfect, right? The more you write in the journal, the more improvement you can expect to see in your written communication skills.
- Finding inspiration: Sometimes writing in a journal can help you find the inspiration you were looking for to address a problem or come up with a creative solution.
What is the best way to journal?
There is no “best way” to journal. Journaling looks different for each individual, and that is perfectly OK. Finding the right way to make your journal work for you is what is most important. The tips below should help you make this a reality.
Choosing Which Type of Journal to Keep
Before you start journaling, you will first need to decide what type of journal (or journals) you’d like to keep. Some of the different options include:
- Personal journal: Personal journals are designed to help users reflect on their thoughts and emotions during their daily life.
- Gratitude journal: A gratitude journal helps individuals reflect on all the things they have in their life to be thankful for.
- Art journal: Art journals allow users to reflect on their day through the use of artwork. They may also include some written text if the user so chooses.
- Travel journal: With a travel journal, you can write about your experiences traveling.
- Bullet journal: A bullet journal is a combination of a diary, daily planner, and written meditations.
How to Journal Daily: Journaling Ideas and Tips
If you’re looking for tips for journaling for beginners, look no further. Below, you’ll find a number of ideas to help you get started and create a journaling habit.
Write Every Day
The most important thing you can do to make journaling a habit is to write every day. It doesn’t matter so much what you write about or how much you write—whether it is three pages or just a few sentences—the important thing is to start writing that journal entry. Once you’ve developed the habit, you can focus more on the content and specific journaling techniques.
Write Whenever You Have Time
Our schedules are busy, so you may not feel like you have enough writing time or a set time to write in your journal, and that’s OK. Bring your writing journal with you and write whenever you have time.
You may find that writing when you sip your morning coffee fits into your schedule best, or perhaps the best time for you will be during your lunch break or right before heading to bed.
Try Journaling Prompts
Writer’s block can happen to anyone. Whether you’ve been writing in a journal for a few days or multiple years, it isn’t uncommon to experience writer’s block every now and then.
One of the best daily journal ideas to get past this is to use writing prompts. Journal prompts give you a list of different ideas and topics to help you find the inspiration to start writing.
Write Using the First-Person
One journal for beginners tip that often gets overlooked is to write using the first-person (I and me). We’re so used to writing for academics or business, that we have been trained not to write in the first person.
However, with a journal, you are writing about your own thoughts and experiences, so it is important to use the first person.
Just Let the Writing Flow
When you’re thinking about how to journal or looking for a journal book idea to write about, don’t get held up about what you’re writing. Just start writing and let the ideas flow. Stream of consciousness writing—without stopping to edit or censor yourself—can really help you get your ideas out onto the page to help you examine what is going on in your life and what your priorities and goals are.
Start Your Journaling Habit Today
Now that you’ve had the opportunity to learn more about journaling and journaling tips, it should be quite clear that it is far from a one-size fits all activity. Each individual person can customize journaling to match their specific needs, goals, schedules, and preferences. Whichever way you want to journal is the best way for you to journal. Why not take advantage of trying one of the top self improvement tools and get your journal set up today!
What's the difference between a journal and a diary?
Diaries and journals are similar, and many individuals may use both writing tools in the same way. However, one distinction based on the definition of each of these tools is what is written in them.
While a diary is typically used just to record the events of the day, journals go a bit farther in exploring these events, sharing emotions and feelings, and setting future goals.
How do you keep a daily journal?
To keep a daily journal, read through the tips shared above. The best piece of advice is just to start writing and make it part of a habit. You can really use a journal however you feel it best suits your needs, which may change over time and with experience writing in your journal.