There is nothing quite like the first page of a brand-new journal – waiting to be filled with notes, scribbles, and doodles. But how do you fill it up and make journaling a healthy habit? If you are anything like me, you have been guilty of (or you still are) new year’s resolutions like “Okay! I’m going to commit to journaling!”…only to lose that burning passion 3 days later. I cannot tell you how many times I have made bold journaling goals only to run out of steam and leave it for the “next year”
But the catch? I absolutely love going back and reading the entries born of those passionate spurts – there is something so wonderful about capturing moments in your own words. Now imagine if you had a whole year’s worth of entries to read and not just a few days!
2017 was the year I officially took charge of my journaling habits and I am so proud that I have been journaling consistently ever since (okay, maybe I skip an entry here or there)
My journaling routine has become a nonnegotiable part of my day…it helps me reflect, plan, doodle, daydream…whatever I feel like!
In this post, I will be giving you some tips on how to start journaling habits and stick to them.
Step 1: Figure out why you want journaling to be a habit
Similar to any other goal, you need to figure out why you want to reach it. Why do YOU want journaling to become a habit in your life? Journaling has many benefits! From having journals upon journals of sweet nostalgia to getting organised and keeping track of your life. For me, my WHY, was to take charge of my time and goals. But no matter what it may be, take your why and make it your centre point. Remember that one way of getting rid of a bad habit is to replace it with a good one – let journaling be that good one.
Step 2: Get kitted out, and make sure you love your journaling supplies
I genuinely believe that if you want to start something new, you need to kickstart that goal with some awesome supplies! Want to start yoga? Buy a gorgeous pair of yoga-pants that you look forward to wearing. Want to start running? Buy an awesome pair of running shoes. It may sound vain, but there is something so powerful about picking an item solely for your goal. Do you need to? No way! But it is one way of getting into journaling and sticking to it.
You get so excited to use new, pretty supplies that the goal pretty much starts itself! When I made my goal to journal everyday of 2017, I started out trying to do it online in an effort to save effort and money…it did not work. I am drawn to smooth pens, thick paper, earthy journals, washi tape and stickers (I can go on)
With the supplies you love, you are already halfway to starting your journaling goal!
Step 3: Make some time for journaling
Like with other goals, you will have to make the time. Do not try to be too specific. Don’t say “At 13:00 everyday I will be journaling” doing this will feel forced and you never know what will happen in the future at 13:00…or any other specific time slot. Rather make the goal “I will journal for 10-15 mins every day” those minutes can be WHENEVER! When you have free time, reach for your journal, planner, or diary and soon you won’t be able to imagine your morning coffee or nightly cup of tea without them.
Time is especially important, remember that it takes about 21 days to form a new habit, so what are you waiting for?
Step 4: Make journaling and appealing activity
We all know that as soon as something feels like a chore, it will not stick! That is one of the big reasons why people don’t achieve goals like fitness, healthy eating, and even journaling.
I am hooked on journaling now, but in the past, I had to make it as fun as possible otherwise it just felt like a drag. I started making small changes in the “mood”. Instead of sitting at a table, I sat on my bed so that it felt more comfortable and personal. Instead of having the main lights on, I only switched on my bed lamp, along with that I always made sure to have my favorite drink with me (it’s a Caribbean Mocha btw) and I blasted my favourite songs on my headset. After about a week or two, it became such a fun 10-15 minutes that I looked forward to it all day!
You can easily form an awesome relationship with journaling by incorporating things you already love.
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Step 5: Start putting black on white in your journal
For me drawing, writing, and doodling just comes naturally! Ever since I was a kid, I drew on every surface that I could find. I am creative my nature, but it might be harder for people who are not, especially with so many ideas around! The best thing you can do is to just start writing and not worry about being to fancy from the beginning – leave the fancy lettering for now – start with simple writing prompts. Here are some ideas:
- Reflect on the previous day, was it a good day and why?
- What are you grateful for right now?
- What is the best place to be?
- Who inspires creativity in you?
- Write a letter to your inner critic
- How is your wellness journal going
- What is one thing you really want to do?
These are just some ideas to inspire your inner writer! Not everyone is a writing prompts kind of person, so you could easily start by making a to do list, jotting down times and dates, filling in birthdays or important information about yourself.
Step 6: Keep journaling simple in the beginning
Now, there is no wrong way of journaling, but if you jump in with fancy letters, pictures, and styles you might just feel overwhelmed. You don’t need to have the ideal ‘Pinterest’ journal from day one. If you don’t have an extra 30mins to spend on your journal, focusing on extra creative steps will only frustrate you (especially if it doesn’t come to you naturally) I would suggest getting comfortable first, figure out what you want in your journal and keep it neat and clean – like with other goals (you guessed it) practice makes perfect – after a couple of entries in your journal, you will know exactly what you like doing! Embrace your unique style and run with it.
Step 6: Ready, set, go
At the end of this blog, you already have your journal, supplies and motivation – but none of that will be of any use if we don’t actually start journaling.
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