They say when you do something daily for 21 days, then it becomes a habit. And there is something that I’ve done religiously twice a day since June 29th of this year, and I’m happy to report that it’s officially a habit. So what habit did I start crushing on, you ask? Journaling!
To me, and maybe to you too, journaling seems a bit overwhelming and intimidating. And some may even think it’s silly or pointless. So that’s exactly why I needed to write this post on how to journal fearlessly for you.
Let’s dig in!
Guidelines for How to Journal Fearlessly:
- There’s no right or wrong way to journal – I’m guilty of this, and perhaps you are too. But sometimes I want to be sure I know how to do something first before I do it. As if I thought I could journal “wrong”. But the fact is that a journal is very personal and however you choose to do it and whatever you choose to write that day is 100% correct!
- Just start! – This is a big rule right here. If you’re a bit OCD or a perfectionist, then you may be waiting for the right time to start journaling, or for something exciting to happen first to have an event worth journaling about. The truth is that every day is worth writing about and reflecting on. I find journaling to be an amazing way to reconnect with my day and think on the highlights, lows, and special moments that I usually forget about 24 hours later. So just start, keep it simple and light, and trust me you’ll be glad you did.
- Love your journal – Okay this may sound a little materialistic here, but you have to love your journal or you won’t use it. So don’t buy something inexpensive like a notebook if you can help it. Go to your favorite bookstore or to Amazon and find a journal that you think fits your personality or that will inspire you to pick it up. Once you start looking, just know that your perfect journal will find you.
- I’ll never forget my first journal as an adult … My sister got it for me as a gift before I left to study abroad so that I could record the experience. It was gorgeous and I still have it. It had a burgundy cover with a velvet fabric and paged tipped in gold leaf. Then there was an embellishment in the front with gold beads. It was fancy and made me feel like a grown up and like I had something important to say. I ADORED that journal. I loved writing in it. She got me another journal that I picked back up in June and started writing in that was all about exploration and had fabulous quotes on each page. I just finished writing in that one over the weekend and have one that’s all about adventure and travel that totally inspires me too.
- Love your pen – You may think this point is silly too, but it’s not. Nothing makes you want to stop journaling more than if you hate your pen. It’s true – if it doesn’t write well, if it feels bad in your hand, if it feels blah, well you just don’t want to write. You’re unique and special and so is your taste in pens. Maybe you love a fancy ballpoint pen or perhaps you are like me and love writing with a gel pen. It doesn’t matter, just be sure that you have a writing utensil that you really love. And then go buy a couple backups, so that when the ink runs out, you’ve got another pen ready to go mid sentence.
- Be consistent – Star this point if you can, and make a mental note! If you’re not consistent, then you’ll never stick with journaling for the long haul. So maybe for you journaling looks like writing at the end of the day, or perhaps you like to start off your day with writing down your thoughts and hopes for the day to come. Or maybe you like writing twice a day. I prefer the latter and will journal briefly when I wake up each morning and then journal again before I go to bed. There is no right or wrong way (see point #1), just so long as you do what feels right to you.
- Own your journaling – I don’t know why but sometimes saying you journal seems a bit embarrassing. Like people might think you’re wasting your time or judging you that you’re not realistic and live with your head in the clouds. This is totally my brain upper limiting me at times when I enjoy chronicling my thoughts. But I’ve learned to shout it from the mountain tops (or announce to the world through a blog post) that I’m a journaler. And I encourage those around me to journal too. It’s very healing in dark times and makes you quite grateful for life’s beautiful moments too.
- Deal with your shit! – It’s super easy (for me at least) to bury my thoughts, fears, worries, etc. deep inside and let them fester forever. But the best thing to do is write or talk about it. I find writing down the thoughts in my head and working through them in my journal to be incredibly rewarding. Plus it helps me to deal with the shit in my life in a much more constructive way. Sometimes I start off a bit angry about a situation and by the time I’m done, I’m at peace with it and have figured out how to move forward in a positive way. It’s AMAZING!!
- Have a plan – If you aren’t the type to just dive in and free-from journal … aka just write whatever is on your mind, then you may want a bit of a game plan. When I started out, this was critical for me to help me organize my thoughts and journal efficiently. So here’s my plan in case it helps you:
- In the mornings I write down 3 things I’m grateful for, the 3 priorities I have (a lot of times priority #1 are the tasks that I need to do for my job that day, and then priority #2 are tasks for my blog and business, and priority #3 are personal things I’d like to do for myself like read, catch up on my favorite show, or go for a walk). And finally I finish the morning writing down what I’m letting go of that day. It can be feelings about a specific incident, stress or fears that you have about a task to do, or fears on a big life event. Then at night, I do a daily reflection on what happened that day, what was great, what wasn’t, and how I could have made it better or done differently as a way to get all of the good and bad out of my brain before I go to sleep. It’s on paper, so it can’t rattle about in my brain keeping me up all night.
So the moral of our story here is to start before you’re ready. Embrace journaling and own it. I often will refer to something I journaled about to my friends or family. And get it all out. Whether that day you are simply chronicling your day or going into more depth on a subject and spending time recognizing how that topic is making you feel … there is no right or wrong way.
If you need a game plan, decide what you want to journal about like I do. Or else just dive in and let your inspiration flow. I get great ideas about blog posts, make discoveries about my future, make money decisions as I journal each day. It is an incredible tool!
My hope is that this post inspires you and gives you an idea of how to journal if you’ve been wanting to but not knowing how to start. So get out there and start journaling.
My journal has made the last half of this year life changing for me, and that is no exaggeration. I’ve had highs and lows, and difficult decisions to make and without my journal I know I would not be as far as I am as I’d still be second guessing myself. I believe the same is absolutely true for you! Good luck!
Stay inspired & journal your heart out!