Journaling: The Ultimate Guide For Beginners

Since I was a teen journaling has been one of my favorite pastimes. I cherished the alone time spent for reflection & prayer whenever I felt depleted by adolescent challenges. Over time, with age and new responsibilities, journaling slipped away from me. I would find myself buying all these pretty journals and without ever picking up a pen to get started.

As a gift to myself, this year along with my daily self care routine, I decided to get back into journaling. It has now become one of my favorite ways to start and end the day. There are many benefits to journaling. This post is designed to teach you how to start a journal, different methods and strategies used for journaling, supplies you may need and the best journals out there. 

How To Start A Journal: Find Your Why

The very first step to starting a journal is pretty simple.

All you need is an empty notebook and your favorite pen. 

That’s it. 

The benefits of starting a journal are endless. 

As a busy woman in today’s age, whether you’re a full-time mom, student or career woman, it’s ridiculously easy to feel stressed and overwhelmed. Sometimes we just need to get away from the noise and release all anxieties and stress. That’s the BIGGEST advantage of journaling. 

Many other Journaling advantages are…

  • Increased productivity
  • Increased self-awareness 
  • More gratitude and appreciation for the little things
  • Clarity and focus
  • Better mental health
  • Increased mindfulness
  • More likely to set, chase and achieve goals
  • Strengthened willpower
  • Boosts confidence
  • Improves your mood
  • Decreases anxiety & stress
  • Journaling can also lead to new ideas forming, creativity sparking, and inspiration in general. 

The Rules Of Journaling

Great news! There are no rules when it comes to journaling.

Allow for mistakes, grammatical errors and a not-so-pretty font. 

Let your stream of consciousness flow freely.

The point of journaling is to let your guard down and express yourself in a carefree and honest way. In other words, people should have no impact on the way you choose to journal, how many spelling mistakes there are or if your journal entries are pleasant to look at or not. Journaling is intended to be private- your safe space. 

The Different Types of Journals

Now for the fun part!

So, which type of journal should you go for?

What is the best solution for your journaling needs?

This all depends on what you want to journal about and why. I have used all of the journals listed below because of this, I am listing where all of you can find them.

Here are a few of the different types of journals you can choose from:

  • The Bullet Journal – Bullet journaling has quickly become one of the most trendy ways to journal for productivity and goal setting.
  • The Dream Journal – Dream journals are devoted to your dreams – the dreams you have while you sleep or dreams you have for your life. Either will do. Every morning, write a few sentences about a dream you had or things you want for your future self. 
  • The Gratitude Journal – Journal for gratitude. Start and finish the day by writing down what you are most grateful for – big or small. 
  • The Mental Health Journal – Journaling for mental health is an effective way to get some clarity and peace of mind. As someone who has dealt with her fair of anxiety, journaling has been a wonderful substitute for a therapy session. Think of it as a therapy session with yourself. Get out the good, the bad and the ugly thoughts and distance yourself from them. I find this way of journaling to be really helpful when it comes to my emotional wellbeing and I highly suggest writing for better mental health if you’re struggling with negative thoughts, depression or anxiety. 
  • The Pregnancy Journal – If you’re expecting, keeping a journal and logging your pregnancy journey can be really helpful to track symptoms, your anatomic changes, and general wonderments during this special time of your life. 
  • The Food Journal – If you’re looking to lose some extra weight or just want to have a bit more insight as to what you’re actually stuffing your face with – keeping a food journal is the way to go. Log everything you eat and drink, and during what times of the day. 
  • The Art Journal – The artistic type are we? Draw, doodle and devote your journal for making art. 
  • The Guided Journal – If you’re not sure where to start, a guided journal can be favorable for you.
  • Journaling for general ideas and brainstorming – Jot down any new brilliant idea that comes your way and keep track of them in your journal. It’s a good idea to keep this journal with you at all times because you’ll never know when an excellent idea will spark.
  • Scrapbooks – Gather memories, dreams, create mood boards or whatever makes your heart sing. A great way to gather thoughts onto a vision board and make it into something REAL. 
  • The Dear Diary Journal – Journaling in its most classic form. I’m getting nostalgic just typing this up. You know the deal here.

WHEN TO JOURNAL

It can be a hard habit to implement into your routine if you’re new to journaling. The only way to make the habit stick is to get started and do it in small doses.

You don’t have to journal for hours or aim for filling out three empty pages. 

Start with setting aside time to journal for 5-10 minutes every day – to start with.

Just write something – anything.

I would advise you to journal at a specific time during the day to be consistent. To really make the habit of journaling stick, do it right after a habit that you’ve already implemented – for example after your nighttime bath or while you sip your morning coffee. 

JOURNAL SUPPLIES 

To tell you the truth, this step isn’t a must, because all you truly need to get started with a journal is a piece of paper and a pen. 

This is just for those of you that enjoy having lovely esthetics to go with your journaling needs.

And for me, this is part of the fun – buying pretty notebooks that match my personality, wants and needs. 

It’s a plus if the journal is of reasonable size and handy enough to bring with you all day. 

It’s just an added layer of motivation for wanting to write in this little thing every day.

Make It Fun

Please don’t make journaling something you dread.

It shouldn’t feel like a chore and it’s supposed to be fun. 

Something you do for you. 

Other Tips For Journaling

Here are a few other handy tips when it comes to journaling for beginners:

  • Time yourself
  • Avoid computer screens or “journaling” on your phone
  • Start slow
  • Do it first thing in the morning
  • Just try it out and don’t make it a big deal
  • Draw, create art, use stickers and don’t ONLY focus on writing down words
  • Keep your journal with you throughout the day
  • Go back and review what you’ve written to learn something about yourself
  • Have fun with it! 

Before You Go

I hope you’ve found this guide on how to start a journal helpful and that you are well on your way to your new journaling adventure. 

Let me know in the comments below what you type of journal you went for and how it’s all going. 

Journaling saved me and I just know it will do amazing things for you too. 

Xoxo, 

Bri

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