How to start journaling
If there’s one habit I have that I’d say has been essential to my wellbeing over the last couple of years, it’s journaling.
Whether it’s journaling to plan my week, process my thoughts or set my intentions it’s been so powerful for me because it ‘anchors’ all of my other wellbeing habits. As a result of journaling on a regular basis it helps me catch myself more quickly when I let things slide and it helps me go about life in a much more intentional way.
Recently there’s been a huge trend in Bullet Journaling, I’m sure you’ve seen some of the amazing designs people come up with! I’ve used a bullet journal style before and that was really where I got started. Check out my other posts on bullet journaling for health and wellbeing and bullet journaling for sacred self care.
Bullet journaling can indeed be a good place to start, but when I’ve looked at this with clients and members of my Facebook community, I’ve found that the style of bullet journaling can make it feel a bit inaccessible when you’re just getting started, especially if you’re a bit of a perfectionist!
So how do you start to use journaling as an all round tool to support your life, wellbeing and business? Here’s a few tips from my experiences over the last few years…
Think about what you’d like to get out of it
Before you start, and even if you’ve been journaling for a while it’s helpful to think about what you really want to get out of this practice. Is it for processing your thoughts, for anchoring your habits or planning your week? It can totally be for all of those things and more, it’s just useful to connect with your why, especially when you’re trying to make a habit of it in itself!
Decide what style of journaling you’ll use
In my experiences there’s a couple of main styles that might be helpful – free flowing journaling, mind mapping and bullet journaling. You can use all three of these or just focus on one or two. For example I use free flowing journaling where I just write and write and write to get all my thoughts out when I’m going through a particular issue. I use mind mapping for when I’m planning for my business and I use a bullet journal style for week to week planning. Remember that just because you start a certain way doesn’t mean you can’t change the format of how you journal in future.
Get a journal you love
It’s so much more appealing to have a journal you get exciting to write in! Many bullet journal fans love the Leuchturm1917 journals with dotted paper. I love Kikki K and Paperchase stationery for myself. Go with what you love!
Find a time to fit it into your routine
Decide when you’d like to journal each day. Maybe doing it in the morning is really helpful for you, or perhaps before bed on an evening is best.
Don’t be afraid to do it your way
I honestly think one of the reasons journaling has been so helpful for me is because I do it my way. I’ve looked at how other people journal and picked the bits that resonated for me and that I thought would be useful.
How I journal now is quite different to how I used to do it, I keep tweaking how I do it to keep it effective. The most recent change I’ve made is doing more journaling digitally.
I really resisted the idea of using the computer or my phone for journaling but when I realised I wasn’t sitting down and doing it as regularly as I wanted to I realised that done is better than perfect.
Now I have a journaling routine that looks like this:
Each month I sit down with my own copy of the Wholehearted Journal and work through those journaling questions to give me clarity. Then I print out the habit tracker sheet from the digital version and keep it on my desk. I also plan out my main business tasks for that month in a Google Doc.
Each week I sit down on a Monday morning and plan my week – I adore this weekly ritual! I do this in my paper journal and also draw some tarot cards for feedback and guidance. I come up with a main vision for the week and then I type this into a Google Doc.
Each day, in that same Google Doc with the vision typed at the top, I do my daily journaling which looks like this:
- Joy and self care for today
- Positive aspects
- Moon + cycle
Having it on a Google Doc means I can use my phone if I’m having a busy morning with Fin or if I find myself in bed having forgotten to journal before coming upstairs. As much as I have got better using my phone less, having things like this available on it mean I’m 100% more likely to do them – path of least resistance!
Plus I have my habit tracker out on my desk as a reminder and I also have a running to do list for my life and business on a Google Doc, but each day I’ll write out the tasks I’d like to achieve that day on my Kikki K notepad.
That might sound like a lot, but it doesn’t really take much time, especially daily journaling. Plus believe me when I say it’s worth it! I do feel that everyone can benefit from some form of journaling, I just think you need to find a way of doing it that works for you.
If you’re looking to get started with journaling the check out my Wholehearted Spring Journal which comes out each season. I’ve designed it based on my own monthly planning ritual. The feedback on it has been amazing and it’s only $18 / £11 and includes a bunch of other stuff as well!