Do you journal?
I've always wanted to be a great journaler. I loved my diary when I was in elementary school. It was baby blue and had a little lock on it. I had brothers, so the lock was imperative to my feeling like I could speak my mind in it. I would go through fits and starts of writing in it about my day or my friends or my infuriating brothers. I’m pretty sure that most of my diary was filled with the name of a boy I thought was cute in the 6th grade with hearts all around it. I mean, gripping stuff, I know, but it was important to me.
Fast forward to me as an adult. When we moved this summer, I recycled not one but FOUR journals that I found in various places in our old house. They all had something in common. I wrote in them no more than 3 times. The rest was empty. I really wanted to write in those beautiful journals, but I think I lacked the discipline.
Why write in journals?
Helps control anxiety and depression
Allows you to put words to your feelings
Decreases clutter in your brain
Helps you let go of negative thoughts
Gives clarity for achieving your goals
So, I understand and desire all of those things, but I’m just not finding success in just buying cute journals and pens.
Lately, I’ve been experimenting with how to make journaling work better for me. Try these steps to achieve journal perfection.
Set aside time to journal. I used to think this had to be daily, but that just didn’t work for me. I have adjusted my expectations and plan for one day a week now. For me, that means I journal on Saturday mornings before the rest of the house wakes up. For you that may be a certain evening after you get the kids to bed. Whatever you do, set aside that time. It’s like a date with yourself. Don’t break that date. You are worth it! Besides, you can control the amount of time you use to journal. It can be anything from 10 to 30 minutes, or more if the mood strikes you.
Find a spot where you will journal. It could be on the couch, in your bed, a favorite chair, the kitchen table. It really doesn’t matter, but it needs to work for you. I find I’m much more successful if my spot is not right in the middle of the rest of the family’s action or I get distracted. You know, the kids ask Dad where something is and he totally doesn’t know, but you try to let him answer anyway and then get distracted because you could have solved this problem much faster. That kind of thing!
Have a place to keep your journal materials. This could be a special pretty journal that you want to use, printed prompts that fit in a folder or binder, or even a digital folder on your computer. Use what works for you! Keep your favorite pens or pencils handy too. I have a
mildobsession with pens, so I love to keep my collection of flair pens and gel pens near my journaling spot.
Use journal prompts. I have found that in times of stress, I have tons to write about, but I don’t always feel productive with those thoughts. By using journal prompts, I am able to focus my energy on one area in my journal. Sometimes those prompts lead me to lists and other times those prompts lead me to paragraphs detailing some idea that is holding up real estate in my head. No matter what, those ideas down on paper are a wonderful thing. If I stare at a blank page too long uninspired, I'm way too likely to give up.
Rinse and repeat. Journaling once is good. I’ve done that many times. It is in the repeated process of journaling that we find those amazing benefits listed above. Plus, you are forming a new habit, so repetition is key to making it a part of your life.
Interested in what journal prompts I use? I created a beautiful set of prompts to help keep you Journaling Through the Year. There are prompts for each week that you can use in any format that works for you. Check out lots more details here.
Want to subscribe to my blog so you don't miss a thing? Click here and I'll shoot you an email whenever a new blog post lands.