How to start journaling (and keep at it)

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Customize your journal your way. lee lim

Journaling is a way to reflect upon oneself

Journaling is something we’ve all heard of. It’s something we’ve all been told we should do. It’s something we all think about doing, but don’t actually do. Well, it’s the new year, and it’s the perfect time for you to start journaling.

With the start of the new year, I’ve started journaling as a way to improve my overall quality of life. The hardest part of journaling isn’t starting, it’s continuing. It’s making a habit out of it. For me, it’s only been a few weeks and I’ve already seen improvement in myself with daily journaling. Here are my tips for starting (and continuing) to journal.

Name your journal

My biggest block for journaling was that I hated the idea of writing to myself. It seemed intimidating knowing that I was essentially talking to myself about myself. So, I named my journal. It immediately turned journaling from talking to myself to talking to a close friend at the end of the day. You can name it after someone in your life or a name that’s unaffiliated with anyone you know. You could name it after a character you like. It’s your journal, you can name it whatever you want. Treat your journal as a pen pal who wants the very best for you.

Have a set thing to write about every day

Sometimes when you sit down to journal, you realize that you have nothing to write about. Writer’s block can stop journaling in its tracks. Find something that you want to write about every day. Then, when you journal, you have at least one thing to write about, even if it’s just that one thing. For me, I have promises I’ve made to myself to help me improve, and I journal about those promises and whether or not I’ve done them that day. For other people, they do their highs and lows of the day, the best and worst part of that day. Maybe for you, it’s what you ate that day or what classes you went to that day.

Digital versus physical

I hate journaling in a physical notebook. There’s something about it that feels off to me. When I journal, I journal in a Google doc. With that being said, I’ve met lots of people who only like to journal in a physical notebook. If you’ve tried journaling in a notebook and didn’t like it, try a digital notebook, and vice versa. Journaling is about what works for you.

Time of day

I hate journaling in the morning. Yet, I’ve known lots of people who like to journal first thing in the morning. I like to journal at the end of the day to reflect upon the events that happened. Some people like to journal around noon when they have spare time. Find a time that works for you to journal. Maybe you like to journal throughout the day. Don’t feel restricted by a set ‘journaling time.’

Expectations

Something important about journaling is what you expect to receive from it. If you journal and expect it to solve all your problems, you’ll probably feel disappointed. When you see really pretty bullet journals online, you expect your journal to look like that, and if it doesn’t, it can discourage you from journaling. You need to ask yourself what you’re journaling for and what you think will happen at the end of it. Keep realistic expectations of yourself and your journal.

Those are my tips for journaling, I hope they help you. Happy journaling!

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