Journaling can be done for a number of reasons; self-reflecting, improving your penmanship, processing thoughts, organizing ideas and more. The benefits of journaling as a regular activity include stress relief, becoming better organized, and boosting your memory! Developing a habit of journaling is easier said than done however; especially when our lives are constantly on the go.
If you're searching for a way to become a more habitual writer, here are 10 helpful tips that can help you to view journaling differently and incorporate it into your routine!
1. Don't write every day
One of the biggest mistakes we make when it comes to incorporating new habits is that we have to do them every day. This can cause burnout and disinterest very quickly! Instead of journaling every day - how about writing once a week on your least busy day?
2. Don't pressure yourself to write long entries
Journaling isn't essay writing. Your writing should be based on your feelings and thoughts. If you only write for a few minutes a day and a short paragraph is all you have to show for it - write just that. Write as often or as little as you want to. When you have nothing else to say, you're done writing!
3. Write where you're comfortable
You're not required to go out and buy a fancy journal - unless of course you really want one. If you find that you tend to use electronic more and prefer typing to writing, feel free to use your phone or laptop as your journal. I journal in multiple places depending on where I am and because I use my physical journal as a keepsake, I often transfer things I've written on my phone or laptop to my journal at a later time.
4. Set reminders
We don't just develop habits automatically. So don't feel guilty about forgetting to journal. When you start out, it's okay to set reminders on your phone or even an alarm on a specific day that signals you to start writing. After a few weeks, you might even become used to writing as a part of your weekly routine.
5. Incorporate journaling into your self-care
Journaling shouldn't feel like a requirement or chore. It's your time to reflect on your thoughts and experiences - which means that it should be a part of your self care routine! Consider journaling in the morning to start your day, as a way to decompress at night, or even on Sundays when you might be practicing other self care activities like washing your hair, meal prepping or reading for the week!
6. Journal with music
Some people are able to focus better while listening to instrumental music with no lyrics. When I was in undergrad I listened to deep meditation music on Youtube or piano/cello instrumentals of my favorite songs to help me get through my papers. Now, I do this while journaling to avoid getting distracted. Check out this Youtube channel for songs that help you focus while meditating or journaling.
7. Be transparent
You aren't writing your journal for it to be read by others. These are your private thoughts and ideas. You're likely going to be the only person reading back and reflecting on them, so be HONEST and transparent in your writing! Don't worry about making your writing look or sound good.
8. Journal alone
This ties directly into tip #4. If you're going to practice journaling as a part of your self care then my best advice is to do it alone. Make sure you're in a peaceful and relaxed state and write while you can focus on only that. Writing alone helps you to get your journaling done more quickly and also decreases the likelihood of you getting distracted and moving on to something else.
9. Don't limit your subject matter
Journaling isn't all about feelings, and limiting your writing to just your feelings might also limit the amount of times you write. Open your mind to journaling about your plans for the day, ideas for the future, career goals and more. Yes: working in a planner can be considered journaling. Some people even collect photos, cards or notes as a way of journaling.
10. Use a an app, workbook, or themed prompts
Sometimes you need a little help kick starting the writing process - that's completely okay! There are tons of free journals and apps out there that can help you with ideas on what to write according to what month it is, what themes you want to stick to or even the goals that you have!
No matter what your goals are journaling is sure to become a beneficial part of your life! Remember to be kind to yourself in the process and feel free to come back to this blog or website for more tips on incorporating good habits into your routine!