That's the beauty of journaling, it can be anything you want it to be.
Getting started journaling isn’t something that you need to think about too hard. Yes, there are numerous types and styles of journals and ways to do this that may or may not be more effective depending on your goals, but you can simply get some paper (or your computer) and get started today.
You don't need to get the perfect journal before you can start. Or find just the right app to use. Because then you'll want colored markers and stickers or some cute desk set before you can start. Next thing you know it's a year later and you still haven't made any progress. So just start damn it! Like, right now! Your first journal doesn't have to be perfect. In fact, it doesn't even have to be a book! Just start as soon as the urge hits you and you can adapt and change your journal as you go.
Scribble on the back of a cocktail napkin if it's all you got...just get started! In fact, I'll make it super easy for you with these 11 tips to make starting a journal easy-peasy:
Journal writing made easy:
* Pick Up Pen and Paper – You don’t need anything special to keep a journal. You can use pen and paper, a journal book or an app. Pick the one that is easiest for you so there will be no excuses. Personally I prefer a book, but use whatever you like because liking how you write will keep you writing longer!
In fact that's the number 1 trick to getting started journaling: Just start! Even if you're jotting it down on scrap paper...start, and you can work out the details from there!
* Journal First Thing in the Morning – Don’t procrastinate about keeping your journal. It’s best to do it in the morning before you begin your day so that you have the right frame of mind for the day. Plus, you can set your intentions for the day by jotting down what you're grateful for, what you're looking forward to etc.
* Journal Last Thing at Night – Another time to write is before bed. This works especially well for gratitude journals. That way you can go to sleep thinking about all the things you are grateful for instead of things you’re worried about. Sometimes I write both morning and night, other times I only do one. It sort of depends on how my day goes lol.
* Write Every Single Day – Whenever you choose to do it, try to set it up so that it becomes a ritual and a habit. Journaling every single day is going to be more effective than just doing it when you feel like it. If you accidentally miss a day, don't feel like it's all derailed! Just start up as soon as you remember.
* Set a timer – If you're having a hard time writing try setting a timer for 10 minutes. Start writing and don't worry if you ramble or go off subject, so long as you write until the timer buzzes. After a few sessions add another minute to your timer. Keep doing this till you get to a point that you can sit down and write easily.
* Doodle and draw – A journal doesn't have to be just sentences and words. You can draw, color pictures, make designs, make different sections, add stickers, color code and pretty much do whatever you want in your journal. There's even a name for these cute, organized, color coded hybrid date book journals: Bullet Journals.
* Start Simply – Don’t be worried about style and substance right now; just work on the daily habit with pen and paper (or if it’s easier for you, a computer or smartphone). Don’t make it hard, just get started. Remember that is the most important thing to journaling, just write!
* Begin with Today – Oh my goodness don't put this off any longer! Start right now and write about your day today. That’s the easiest thing to do. What of significance happened today? How did you feel about it? What would you do differently? What would you do the same? Don't worry that you didn't find the perfect journal yet, just start on paper and you can switch over to a journal when you find one you love.
* Try Different Types of Journals – Once you develop the habit, you can start trying different types of journaling like a bullet journal, or a vision journal, or maybe even a project journal for your next project. I found a calendar style journal that I love from $5 Below that has both a calendar and individual journal pages. You can buy some amazing pens/markers and tape/stickers to accent your journal with if you like that style.
* Keep It Private – The main thing to remember about your journal is that it should be kept private. The only exception is if you want to share thoughts with a therapist, counselor, or coach. Or if you want to turn it into a book or course, to help someone else overcome whatever you overcame. Even then you'll probably want to pick out the more private things to keep private.
Keeping a journal will help you deal with the things that happen to you as well as the things that have not happened to you. The main reason is that writing it down helps you remember what you did right and what you did wrong. It helps you improve your decision-making capacity for similar situations. The main thing is just to get started journaling in any way that works for you.
* Don't strive for perfection – This is not an English class paper! Don't worry about perfect, full sentences or proper grammar. This journal is for you and only you need to be able to understand and get the feel for what you're saying.
Journaling and manifestation
One more reason that I journal is to 'put things out into the universe'. Without getting too deep into the law of attraction and all that other woo woo stuff I'm into (Go ahead roll your eyes at me. It's ok, my husband does it all the time! lol) I'm just going to sum it up as: Journaling puts my intentions on paper and into words which I believe is the first step into making those things a reality.
Back in the day we used to say Fake it till you make it. Which was just saying act as if your wishes have already materialized. By putting those wishes and dreams down into my journal it's like speaking them out loud and expecting them to come true. it's acting as if they are already coming true. It's affirming that they will come true and that they already are on their way!
The book I'm showing you in these pages was chosen so I can track the changing seasons, moon phases and things like Mercury retrograde to determine how they affect me. I also have a seperate gratitude journal that I write in almost daily. I could totally understand how some people might want to have only one journal that they use for everything. In fact, I'm pretty sure that's how the bullet journal came to be, but I'm enjoying having separate books. Do whatever you like!
I also want to be able to use this journal as a timeline to determine how long it is taking for things in my life to change after I decided on them. For instance I set a new income goal in January, now I add income updates in the new journal so I can create a timeline with my progress. Seeing those small steps forward keeps me motivated and I wouldn't have a way to map those out without a journal.
Hopefully you love journaling as much as I do. Now grab your pen and paper or book and get started!