The new year often feels like a fresh start, when anything is possible.
It’s the perfect time to cultivate a positive habit, like journaling consistently, to transform your life.
There are lots of reasons to journal: enhanced mindfulness, personal growth, and tracking your progress on your goals.
As an experienced life coach (and personal growth junkie) here at the Life Edit Project, I believe that journaling consistently can be a powerful tool for transformation and self-discovery.
Getting started with journaling…
Whatever your reasons for wanting to build a journaling practice, I’m offering you three tips to help you get started and stay consistent.
Decide what consistent looks like for you.
Journaling doesn’t have to look like writing for 30 minutes a day, every day. Pick a rhythm and a routine that works for you.
- Daily – Maybe it’s easier to journal consistently when it’s part of your morning routine. Or you can make it the last thing you do before going to bed (instead of scrolling social media).
- Weekly – Try journaling consistently once a week, to reflect on the past week or to set intentions for the week ahead.
- Stacked with another habit – What other regular routines do you have, that journaling could be a part of? For example, if you already review your budget at the beginning of each month, consider adding 10 minutes of journaling time onto the end of that planning session.
Use prompts to get started journaling.
One of the most intimidating things for journaling rookies is getting past the blank page.
But when you use journaling prompts, you don’t have to ever have to feel like you don’t know where to start or what to write.
- Ask an open-ended question. — Nothing inspires answers as effectively as a good question. The question can be as simple or complex as you like. When in doubt, ask yourself a HOW or WHY question and write whatever comes up.
- Use a guided journal . — You don’t have to start with a blank page. Start with a journal that has built-in prompts, instead. Some have themes, while others are more general. Any of them can be helpful if you tend to get stuck on where to start.
- Try my Authentic Expressions journaling workbook. — If you’re looking for a tool that includes journaling tips, reusable prompts and worksheets to help you unlock insights from any journaling session, this is for you. The prompts would be a great addition to your annual or quarterly goal-setting routine.
Be true to yourself.
When we’re trying to build a new habit or skill, it’s often the fear of messing up that gets in the way of our success.
But there’s no wrong way to journal, so any way you do will be the right way.
- Keep your journal a judgment-free zone. Don’t get hung up on things like your messy handwriting or improper grammar. And don’t villainize yourself for whatever your unfiltered thoughts reveal. The point is to make what’s inside more visible, so that you can choose what to do with it.
- Give yourself what you need. Whether you thrive on a predictable schedule, pretty notebooks, or a calm environment, set yourself up for success as much as possible.
The bottom line is that your journaling practice is personal. These tips are universal enough that they can help anyone.
But trying out different things and seeing how they feel is the only way to really find out what will work for you.
As the saying goes, ain’t nothing to it but to do it. So make 2024 the year you tap into the power of consistent journaling.