Find a journal you love
There are so many different types of journals available. From prayer journals to dream and fitness journals. Some of these even include goal trackers and journaling prompts within them. If you’re a simple person, a notebook will be just fine too. The most important part is that you look forward to your journaling experience, so find whatever works best for you. My personal favorite to use are the Happy Notes notebooks.
Journal at a consistent time, daily
Try to journal at a consistent time every day. This will help you get into the habit of making journaling a part of your daily routine. Find a time that works best for you and even set a reminder if you need to. If you miss a day or two, no pressure.
Use journal prompts
Journal prompts have helped so much on my journey. On days where I’ve felt a little unsure about what exactly to write, journaling prompts have helped give me the kick start that I needed. I’ve found some pretty good prompts thanks to Pinterest. Here are some that have gotten my attention:
What is something that you are currently struggling with? What would help you find guidance?
List out people in your life that you are grateful for. Why are you grateful for them?
Thinking about the past year, what have you learned about yourself?
Try “stream of consciousness” writing
Stream of consciousnesses writing is a technique where one writes about whatever it is that is on their mind, no matter how big or small. Don’t second guess anything you’re writing, just let your thoughts flow. Stream of consciousness is all about the raw thoughts taking place in your mind. Give it a try! Even if the first thing that comes to mind is, “I don’t know what to write.”
take time to reflect on previous entries
A huge part of self development is reflection. Take the time to actually look back at past journal entries and reflect on your journey. Check in with yourself and see how you are progressing towards your goals and your development. On the contrary, you might find that you are regressing. That’s OK. Look over your journal entries and take note of the changes that took place over time so that you can practice growth moving forward.
feeling uninspired? try switching things up
Got writers block? Try to switch things up from your usual program. Try making lists of weekly goals, current songs you’re into, favorite scripture, books, food, etc. Don’t feel pressure to journal a certain way. Mix things up and try a different approach. Try not to over-analyze the process and make it as least stressful as possible.
practice gratitude, celebrate yourself
It’s easy to get into the habit of writing down the heavy emotions and difficult things we go through in our journals. While this is great, don’t forget to take the time to practice gratitude and celebrate yourself in your journal as well. Is there something you are extremely grateful for? Did something make your day? Write about it.
Can’t get into journaling? Try an alternative
Journaling isn’t for everyone. Sometimes I’m not in the mood to take a pen to some paper and write things down. There are other options to try that might fit better for you and your lifestyle:
If you don't like the pressure of having to string words together into proper sentences, talk into your voice recorder on your phone. Talk to it as if you're talking to a close friend or a therapist. Make it as long or as short as you like.
Start a word or Google document on your computer and add a few snips to it each day. Whether it's a few thoughts, a paragraph, or a few pages, just keep adding to it.
If you’re more of a visual person, photo journaling is also a cool alternative. Try snapping at least one photo a day that captures your mood for the day.