There are so many benefits of keeping a journal: it can store memories, keep track of goals, and serve as a running to do-list! If you have always wanted to get into journaling but felt unsure how to make the practice last, read on below!

Benefits of keeping a journal 

The primary benefit of keeping a journal is taking time to invest in yourself. Journaling is a private space for you to express yourself and clear out any unwanted thoughts from your head.

When journaling develops into a consistent habit it can begin to feel meditative. Many people who suffer from anxiety have started to enjoy dedicating time to complete their journals. The focus and attention to journaling can distract you from running thoughts and slow down a racing mind. 

Historically, journals were used to document memories. This can create a wonderful keepsake that you may enjoy looking back on. There are so many moments that are easily forgotten, keeping it written down is a way to ensure your precious experiences will stay with you forever. 

Now journals are also used for creative expression. You can use words to fill out your journal, but you can also use images, mixed media, and photographs. Pick a style of journaling that resonates best with your interests, this will make it easier to stay consistent with your entries. 

Defining your intention for journaling 

Before you pick the specific journal you plan to use, it is recommended to define your intention for journaling. What are you hoping to document? By spending time to pull out this information, you can pick a type of journal that will best suit your needs. 

Today, journaling is more than just a diary. It can also be used to track specific goals. People will track their quality of sleep, their mood throughout a month, and even their financial spending. If you are analytical, and like to review data, this approach to journaling would be a great fit. 

Long form journaling typically refers to the written word with full sentence structure. This style of journaling can be used for writing out memoirs, creative writing, poetry writing, and even dreams. 

Short form journaling refers to quick and instant entries. This type of journaling is meant to capture an impromptu-thought, or a moment in real-time. This style is useful for people who see the practical benefits of keeping a journal, but do not want to commit a lot of time to the practice. 

Different types of journals

The type of journal notebook you pick should be carefully considered before you start journaling. There are lined paper options that come in a variety of sizes. If you plan to write, consider using a larger notebook for your journal. This will give you more space to jot down your thoughts. 

If you love to be creative, you may fall in love with bullet journals. These are blank pages with tiny grids made by evenly spaced dots. These dots are meant to guide your creations: people draw calendars, tables, and other images. If you want complete freedom to regularly change up your journaling game, bullet journaling could be perfect for you. 

A sketch book can be used for people who love to track their daily happenings with drawings, paints, and collages. If you thrive off visual content, this style of journaling will be appeal to you. People will also write their own captions for the finished pieces. This is a great way to document why this piece was so important to you!

A small compact journal which fits in your bag is ideal for people who want to practice short form journaling. Having this easily accessible journal will ensure you can capture great ideas on-the-go. Make sure you keep a writing utensil on hand too!  

Staying accountable 

This can be the most difficult part of journaling. You defined your intention, you picked the right book, now you want to use it consistently! 

First, pick a night of the week (or a morning) you can regularly plan to use your journal. Ensure you are using the journal at a time of day when you feel relaxed. This will make the whole experience more enjoyable and feel less of a chore or an obligation. 

Use different themes for different entries. Perhaps one month you are interested in documenting all the books you read, or the new recipes you tried. Keeping new topics in mind will ensure you always have something to write about.

Recognize that the world will not end if you miss a journal entry. Despite our best efforts, there will be times that making a journal entry will not be possible. Whenever you have time, you can pick up where you left off, and start writing again. Remember, there is no wrong approach to journaling, but you will certainly get more out of the experience if you practice this habit consistently.