Journaling is more than teenage girls writing stories about their dream boyfriends or drama they are facing at school. …Even though they are hysterical to read when you’re older!
Journaling is a tool that is very commonly used by adults and is a common self-care practice. Disconnecting for a few minutes and writing down your thoughts and feelings on things that happen or what you hope to happen can be therapeutic. Journaling can remove your thoughts from the chaotic lives we all live for a few moments.
If you’re thinking about starting a journal – don’t let the stereotypical image of a middle school girl deter you from jumping into this self care practice.
Journaling is a powerful self care practice that not only releases energy and thoughts that may become stagnant, but also can become an outlet that drives change and steers the direction we ultimately take our lives.
Writing in a journal also acts as a time capsule that holds not only what memories you have but all the emotions that go along with it. Reading through an old journal is like reminiscing on old times – you experience the good and the bad all over again.
Imagining having all of your lessons and favorite memories stored in one place? If you are looking to start a journal as a beginner, or thinking to journal or not to journal, here are some great tips for a journaling. beginner!
10 Journaling Tips for Beginners
1. Don’t Get Down if You Miss a Day
Yes it would be amazing to have a true daily journal, I’m sure there are tons of people out there that do. If you skip a day, it’s ok.
Some days you will be feeling it and other days you will want nothing to do with it. Part of learning how journaling fits into your life and what value it ultimately provides you is by doing and learning.
But the most importance thing to remember is that you should not get down on yourself if you miss a day. Your journal will not be mad at you and it will be ready to pick back up whenever you are.
2. Pick a Journal that Excites You
Getting motivated and excited to journal helps you remain consistent. Having a journal that speaks to you or moves you can really make the difference between picking up the book to write or skipping a day.
There are so many different types of journals – from colors, to lines, to sizes, to formats. I personally love to go to TJ Maxx to shop for journals. They typically have a really large selection and a wide variety of options. They also have recently had a lot of guided journals which I think is an awesome way to get into this self care practice.
I create a little Amazon Storefront that I update frequently with journals that I find that I think have personality! These are a wide variety of journals that can speak to many different people. So you may hate some, or fall in love with one – but that’s the beauty of finding a journal it only has to speak to you and you don’t have to have a reason why! You can check out the Journal selection here!
3. Find What Type of Journaling Works Best for You
There are so many types of journaling and it’s important to know that there is not just one way to journal. Frankly, for whatever you are trying to get out of journaling, there is a journal type for you. Here are a few different types of journaling that may be worth trying.
Bullet Journaling – A type of journaling that relates directly to organization and organizing your life – structuring your to-dos, goals, reminders, even brainstorming. Writing all in bullets, no full sentences means this is perfect for someone who may not have the most time, but needs to add some structure or productivity to their life.
Gratitude Journaling – This is a practice where you document everything you are grateful for. Not only does that serve as a great reflection practice, but it also keeps your mindset positive and focused on the good things that you currently have. No matter how bad a day, you can always find something to be grateful for.
Dream Journaling – Document you dreams! This type of journaling serves as a ledger for your nightly dreams or even waking dreams. Tie in the emotions you felt as well to truly release all the energy from the experience.
Travel Journaling – A type of journaling where you write about your experiences from trips you have taken, favorite spots, not-so-favorite spots, new things you learned, and new experiences you had.
Creative Journaling – This journaling practice is where you mix both words and art on the same document. Doodling, drawings, color, and words. This is a great way to express yourself if words do not come as easily as you would of hoped
4. You Don’t Have to Write the Same Amount Every Entry
Some days you’ll be a fire and ready to write a small novel, while other days you are going to be lucky it you can form together 2 sentences. Setting a word count or minimum page count for journaling may not do you good.
You may just ramble on to simply put words on a paper that divert from what you are actually trying to do. When you think about, sometimes one powerful sentence says a whole that more than 3 pages of fluff. It’s ok if you get all your thoughts or feelings out in a few sentences and it’s also okay if it takes multiple pages! Each day is different which means each journal entry will be different.
Instead or trying to hit a number of journal pages or words, try using a timer, maybe try journaling for 15 minutes – at 5 minutes you’re still blanking, you can use those remaining 10 minutes to meditate or to stretch. That way you are still taking time for yourself and not beating yourself up because you aren’t journaling the amount you imagined.
5. Your Journal Doesn’t Have to be a Physical Journal
Journals have evolved so much. Look back to movies when you were in middle school and high school – someone sitting on their bed with their journal with a matching pen, writing out all their deepest darkest secrets. Now journals can be in all different sorts of mediums!
I mean you could even consider this blog a journal, right? Journals can be digital or physical. You can type your entries or you can hand write them. You can even make a bullet journal using the notepad on your cell phone.
Wherever you choose to start your journal is 100% up to you and should be one that be aligns with how you will feel comfortable consistently writing entries. As someone on the go, I tend to love using my phone for bullet journaling and organization because on the fly I will need to figure out a plan and calm the million of thoughts running through my head. I also keep a physical gratitude journal because I think it is super powerful to physically write those entries. It’s also enjoyable to pick back up and read through!
Moral of the story is there is not one right way to start a journal!
6. Add Journaling to Your Morning Routine or Nighttime Routine
In order to promote consistency in entries, adding journaling to your daily routines is a great way to ensure you make the time for this self care practice every day (or whatever cadence you want). With how busy we all are, it can be easy to let self care practices, like journaling, slip through the cracks if we do not pre-plan the time.
Adding journaling to your morning routine means you can start the day off by writing what you hope to accomplish and acknowledging your goals. It also gives you the ability to reflect on what may have happened the day before and how that will steer your day today. Adding journaling to your nighttime routine allows you to document your day and serves as an action that triggers the end of the day and that it is time to wind down.
7. Don’t Be Afraid to Carry Your Journal with You
You know what you shouldn’t be ashamed of? Journaling. Carry your journal with you! Sometimes you may want to put some thoughts on paper in the middle of the day or there was a situation that you just can’t get out of your head and need to release it.
Just because you added journaling into your morning routine or nighttime routine, doesn’t mean you can’t journal at any moment in time.
8. Make Sure Journaling Doesn’t Become a Chore
Journaling is an act of self care and even an act of self love. It is time we take for ourselves to be exactly what we need it to be. Number 1 piece of advice for journaling beginners is to enjoy it.
The moment journaling becomes and chore and you resent it is the moment that it no longer benefits or helps you. If you force the self-care practice you may get some benefits, but you will not get the full value of a journal.
Keep journaling fun by having a journal you love picking up or by researching journal prompts and journal topics. Also explore some of the many tips of journaling – if bullet journaling isn’t for you, maybe a transition to creative journaling will be a welcomed changed. There is no pre-determined best practices for what journaling will work best for you. If journaling becomes a chore, you can shift your practice to fit your needs so you continue to gain the long term self-love and self-care benefits from the practice.
9. Write for Yourself
You journal is for one person and that is you! You don’t have to put a lock on your journal or hide it away, but you have to remember that the only reason you are writing is you – your self-love, your self-care practice, your mental health.
If you don’t want to write about something, don’t write about it. If you want to write monthly, do it. If you want to doodle at the end of ever entry, do it.
You control your journaling practice. At the end of the day you get out of journaling what you put into it. You may not want the same outcome of your journaling as a friend of family member, or even a stranger. When you journal, it’s most important to remember that this is something for you and for nobody else!
10. Stick to What Works for You!
Journaling is not one size fits all. In order to make sure you are making the most of your won journaling practice, you need to consistently analyze what is and what isn’t working for you.
Whether it is evaluating your progress and what you are getting out of your journaling practice or revisiting how much time you devote to this self-care practice on a daily or weekly level. In order to get the most out of journaling especially as a beginner, you need to reflect, learn and adjust.
This is ongoing! What works for you one year, may not be the same thing that fits into your schedule the next year. There’s no shame in having to change a routine or shift your journaling practice.
I hope you stick to journaling and fall in love with whatever type you choose! I have curated some adorable journals from Amazon, so if you are eager to get started you can order one off Prime today! There are a wide array of selections – colors, designs, sizes, lined, unlined – that should help in guiding you to find the journal that is best for you! You can check out the Amazon storefront, here!