It is a breeze to start journaling, but consistently journaling is another thing. Without intentionally building the habit of daily journaling, many people quickly fall out of practice. Here are my tips for how to journal daily, so you can experience the multitude of journaling benefits. These tips come from my own experiences – some are based on proven habit-building strategies!
Tips to start journaling every day
Keep journaling simple to start
Many people start their journaling practice by going all in with stationary supplies and various writing utensils. While the creative aspect of journaling is what attracts many people, using too many supplies early on may not be ideal for habit building. When we use a lot of supplies, creating a single journal entry can take a lot of time. And journaling becomes less portable when we have to also bring multiple supplies along with it.
My advice is to keep it simple to start. Try dedicating just one notebook and one pen to your practice. Make it as easy as possible for you to get into your journal and write. You can ramp up stationary supplies later, once the habit of journaling becomes second nature.
Keep your journal in view
One of the benefits of using a physical journal is that it serves as a visual reminder to use it. We are more likely to use our journals if we remember that it exists! I keep my journal out on my desk while I’m working, and I keep it on my bedside table at night. I bring my journal with me as I settle into different areas of the house, just as I would bring my phone or water bottle with me. Keeping it nearby means you can easily grab it whenever you have some thoughts you want to jot down.
Add journaling to your existing routine
It is easier to build new habits when we attach them to existing habits. For example, add journaling to your already established morning or bedtime routines. While coffee brews in the morning, plan to sit down with your journal while you wait. Or replace bedtime phone scrolling with journaling before you turn out the light.
Use journaling like a tool – when you need it
In addition, we can remember to journal via cues throughout the day. For instance, when I am feeling anxious or mentally blocked from productivity, I immediately go to my journal to work through these thoughts and feelings. I experience these emotions daily, so they regularly serve as a “cue” or reminder to journal.
I think we can all get creative with this strategy. Firstly, think about what situations in your life can be improved by journaling. As these circumstances come up, direct yourself to your journal. Eventually these occurrences can become cues to write in your journal. This strategy can be applied for all sorts of experiences.
Write the date every day
Writing something in your journal every day can serve as a microhabit, even on days when you don’t have much to write. Start by writing the date, maybe a greeting, and anything that comes to mind. Some days you may just write a line or two. And that’s okay. The goal is to build a microhabit that can serve as a gateway towards longer writing sessions.
Pick up where you left off
Sometimes we skip a day in our journal. It happens. Life gets busy, we get sick, or we’re too busy living life to journal. Remember that the point of journaling is to serve you. If you miss days, weeks, months, or years, it’s okay! You didn’t ruin your journal, and you don’t need to buy a new one to start again. Just pick back up where you left off.
It can be interesting to witness gaps in time in a journal. Your life progressed since your last entry, and you revisit your journal from a new place. You can fill your journal in on what happened while you were gone, and practice getting back into daily journaling.