How To Start Journaling: A Guide That Will Change Your Life
You’re here for a reason. You’re here because you’ve been seeking more clarity and structure. Consciously or unconsciously, a part of you has called out for a way to manage all your thoughts and feelings, get clear about what you want from life and let's focus on the stuff that really matters.
And that’s exactly what journaling does. It’s an investment in your wellbeing that will transform the energy you bring to each and every day.
The good news is, we’re here to show you exactly how to get started...
How Journaling Can Improve Your Life
There are so many benefits to starting a journal; even more than you can squeeze into a singular blog post, so to get you excited for the journey ahead, here are just a few of our favourites…
Journaling Improves mental and physical health.
Researchers estimate that we have around 60,000 thoughts a day, so it’s normal that from time to time they might seem a little overwhelming. That’s where journaling comes in. Countless studies have shown that expressive writing can improve mental health. It’s a therapy known as journal therapy.
An added bonus? Journaling can aid stress reduction which can prompt an improvement in physical health too.
After you’ve finished reading this blog post why not check out our Benefits of Journaling next.
Helps you set (and achieve) goals
How can you get what you want if you don’t know what it is? When it comes to setting goals, a journal is your best friend. Why so? Because studies show that people who write out their goals and review them regularly are 42 per cent more likely to achieve them.
As if that wasn't enough of a reason, journaling also allows you to prioritise your daily commitments and to-dos and give your focus to the really important stuff that’s going to propel you forward.
Empowers you to manage struggles
We all go through struggles be they internal, like dealing with limiting beliefs and confidence issues, or external, such as managing a scary health crisis or tackling a toxic work environment. A beneficial way to navigate the tough times with more clarity and ease is by getting it all out on paper.
Journaling will give you clarity on all the messy stuff that’s on your mind – and you might even land on a solution you hadn’t thought of before. Why? Because journaling has also been shown to aid problem-solving too.
Journaling: How To Start
It’s finally time to turn the page on your journal and begin a life changing habit that’ll improve your life in every area. Here’s how…
Get some accountability
Be honest with us: how often do you let your priorities slip or fall right down your list? No judgement if you answered ‘regularly’.
To keep yourself accountable on your journaling journey, consider creating rewards when you hit a journaling 'win'. Did you journal every single day for a week? Amazing – treat yourself to a lie-in, a tasty lunch or whatever gives you joy. You could even create a journaling chart that allows you to track your progress or invite a friend to take up journaling with you.
Accountability will inspire you to keep going and pretty soon, putting pen to paper will become second nature. You won’t need outside factors to motivate you because the results of journaling will speak for themselves.
7 Helpful Tips To Help You On How To Start A Journal
Starting a journal and need a little push in the right direction? Try these…
- Set aside 5/ 10 minutes a day to journal
- Place your journal next to your bed so you remember to use it daily
- Set a reminder on your phone to use and review your journal
- Use some journal prompts to get your creative juices flowing
- Reach for your journal anytime you feel stressed, worried or anxious
- Set the mood while journaling with a cup of tea or light a candle.
Use A Science-Backed Journaling Technique
There’s a journaling method for almost everything you can think of, from financial tracking and meal planning to gratitude lists. The Head Plan method is backed by neuroscience and has been carefully compiled to enable you to get the most out of every day.
To get started, carefully consider your long and short-term goals. Ask yourself ‘What do I really want from life?’ and remember no goal is too big! Once you have your ideal reality sussed, consult your journal every day and schedule daily and weekly tasks that align with your big picture vision. It’s goal-setting 101: know what you want and take regular steps to get there.
Another useful tip? Open The Head Plan Productivity and Wellness Journal, and write a daily self-care action and a productivity reward, along with a record of what you’re grateful for and what you have achieved. It’s a way to keep your motivation high and your well-being in great shape
Make A Habit Of It
How do you form a habit? Whether you’re training for a marathon or making journaling something you do daily – you should make the practice obvious, attractive, easy and satisfying according to Atomic Habits by James Clear.
Here’s how to start your journal: set aside the same time every day to use your journal. This makes it obvious. Next, make journaling more attractive by anticipating all the ways your life is going to improve by completing this simple task. (See our list above if you need a little helping hand.)
Then, pop your journal somewhere you’ll see it instead of tucked away in a drawer so it’s easy to get your hands on. Finally, create a reward for completing the behaviour to make it extra satisfying. Now– you are well and truly on your way to making journaling a habit.
While we’re on the topic, contrary to popular thought, it doesn’t take 21 days to form a habit. Researchers now believe that it can actually take up to 66 days, so if journaling isn’t feeling automatic just yet, stick with it.
Analyse What’s Not Working And Focus On What Is
Here’s the great thing about journaling: it gives you so much insight. Once you’ve been doing it for a while, you’ll be able to identify behaviour patterns, some that serve you and some that don’t. You might even be able to pinpoint certain limiting beliefs and how they have been impacting your performance.
Better yet, you’ll be able to see how you’ve created positive outcomes in your life – and will know what you need to do to create more of that good stuff in the future.
Here’s a tip: After a few weeks of journaling, flip back through your journal and take a reflective approach when analysing your progress. Where have you followed through on your goals and where have distractions and competing commitments pulled you in a different direction? Would you benefit from switching up your routine, adapting your diet, or getting in an extra hour of sleep? Remember to make a note of what helped you succeed too.
Now, take the same analytical approach towards journaling itself. What can you do to make this habit even more beneficial for you? What do you need to do to ensure you stick with it? You don’t need to make dramatic changes. Small tweaks like changing when and where you journal can give you a much-needed boost.
What Should I Write In My Journal?
The short answer is ‘whatever you like’. The longer answer is whatever aligns with your current mental and emotional needs and helps you meet your daily goals and objectives. Here are a few ideas:
- Your weekly goals. Want to get 10,000 steps each day and send that business proposal you’ve been putting off? Write it down and make it happen.
- Your intention for the day ahead. For example, signing up for a course or taking time to switch off.
- Your thoughts, worries, and fears
- Action steps that will help you achieve your goals
- Positive affirmations
- Your daily tasks and to-dos.
- What you’re most grateful for
- Your daily and weekly achievements
- Your daily self-care actions and productivity rewards
- What you’ve learned that day or week
Make Your Journal Personal To You
This is your journey. Nobody else’s. Each and every one of us is different in our own unique way – and your journal should be too! That means your journaling practice doesn’t have to be perfect and you don’t need to follow a rigid formula if that’s not your style, so go with your gut and do what feels good to you.
All that really matters is that you start small, keep your expectations realistic and be gentle with yourself throughout this journey. Progress is often a little messy – your journal can be too.
How Do I Get Started With The Head Plan Journals?
Starting your Head Plan journey couldn’t be simpler. Our range of journals, which includes the Productivity & Wellness Journal and a Gratitude Journal, is where happy, productive days live and they use science-backed formulas devised by company co- founder and qualified life coach Denise Kenny Byrne.
To get started, head to our Instagram page @theheadplan where you’ll find an abundance of helpful tips and advice for getting the most from journaling.
If you’re new to journaling, there’s no better place to begin.
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