LIFESTYLE,  Personal Development

Journaling 101: Let’s Get Started


Happy Tuesday!

I hope you had a great weekend!

While it’s cooler here in Houston, it has been raining and raining! So, we are still waiting for a brisk cool evening…oh well. It’s the price you pay for generally mild weather all year round…

I have been trying to more regularly utilize a journal/planner now. I have started journals before several times but as life got busy, all of my good intentions flew right out the window. But I think understanding the benefits that journals and planners can provide for your self-development keeps me motivated to keep trying!

You should consider starting one too!

Journaling is a fantastic way to supercharge your self-development efforts. When your thoughts are still in your mind, it can be challenging for you to analyze them objectively.

Getting things out of your head and down on paper provides a totally different perspective.

Thinking tends to be very sequential; one thought leads to the next, which leads to the next. We get caught in a linear track and miss out on the bird’s-eye view of the entire thought process. With journaling, you gain the ability to see things from a third-person view versus a first-person view.

Three Benefits of Journaling

  1. Solve complex challenges. After you write the issue at hand down on paper, the solution for a complex challenge often suddenly becomes obvious. The ability to re-examine the issue from a third-person perspective can make all the difference.
  2. Increase clarity. One of the best times to lean on your journal is when you’re filled with uncertainty about what action to take. Many things become clearer once you can get them down in writing.
  3. Validate your progress. Sometimes we may feel like we’re spinning our wheels and not making genuine progress. When you’re feeling this way, go back and review your old journal entries. You’ll be amazed at how much progress you’ve made. And you’ll also probably realize that you’re making huge strides right now, too!

How to Start a Journal

Now that you understand some of the reasons to start a journal, how do you do it? You might envision creating a journal in one of those blank books you can pick up in the bookstore. But you can also consider an electronic version as well. It’s up to you!

Handwritten Journals

  • Handwriting can boost creativity, so you can make connections faster and easier. It also gives you space to leave the digital world behind, which can help you see your problems in a new light.
  • Another pro for handwriting your journal entries is that there are fewer distractions. If you’re typing on a laptop or smart device, you may be tempted to stop and check your email, read the news, or do other tasks that keep you from completing your entry.
  • Some people prefer handwritten journals because the writing is often more emotional and raw. With typing in a digital journal, you can erase and rephrase your sentence as many times as you want, which can sometimes result in more sterile writing.

Electronic Journals

  • Electronic journals can be free or low-cost; you could start a blog on a free website or simply use your word processing program.
  • The big advantage with electronic journals is the ability to search for things. Imagine going back through 10 years of written records, trying to find a specific entry.
  • Additionally, if you type faster than you write, an electronic journal can be beneficial when you’re trying to get complex thoughts out in a short period of time.
  • Also, there are several software programs available specifically developed for journaling. If you can spare the $20-$30, they’re worth checking out and provide a lot more flexibility than the traditional pen and paper approach.

Make Journaling a Daily Activity 

Even if you think that there aren’t enough interesting things happening in your life on a daily basis to bother recording them, don’t let that deter you. New habits are much easier to implement if the activity is performed on a daily basis. Even getting down a couple of sentences every night is a great idea. You’ll be surprised how often you’ll write much more.

This practice can even help make your life more exciting and fulfilling. Just knowing that you have to journal each night may compel you to make your life a little more adventurous, just so you have something interesting to write. Try it! During the day, you’ll notice that little thought in the back of your mind wondering what you can write about tonight.

Journaling is an activity that can have little to no cost but provides numerous benefits. You’ll see your clarity increase and have a much better sense of just how much progress you really are making in your life. Start journaling today and watch your self-development take on a new perspective.

Journal Types

There are many different types of journals. In fact, you can create a journal for just about any activity you do. Here are some of the most common ones…

Travel Journal

A travel journal is a perfect way to capture all your adventures. You can journal about which cities you’ve visited, where you stayed, who you met, and what you did on your trips.

Using a travel journal can help you remember important events that you don’t want to forget like how amazing you felt when you learned to surf or how much fun you had when you hiked up that mountain.

Daily Life Journal

Some people like to record their daily lives in a journal. This might include writing about current work projects, a fight with your spouse, or a kind word a stranger gave you on the street.

You may also want a daily life journal during an important season in your personal life like an engagement, a new baby, or the home-buying process. These events can bring up a lot of emotions, and it can be helpful to process them in the privacy of a journal.

Prayer Journal

If you consider yourself religious or spiritual, you may like the idea of keeping a prayer journal. Many people who participate in this practice will record what they prayed for as well as the date of their request.

Later on, they can go back and add how that request was answered. This can be a wonderful way to grow closer to God or the Universe, depending on your beliefs. It can also be a source of comfort when you look back later to see how many situations turned out for the good.

Business Journal

Another type of journal is a business journal. With your business journal, you can record your work projects, plan new products, or brainstorm new ways to market your services.

It can also be useful for generating ideas or coming up with solutions to problems you’re facing. You can also use it to consider what new goals that you might want to pursue and how to accomplish them.

Mindfulness Journal

You can also start a mindfulness journal. The art of being mindful takes practice. It doesn’t happen overnight, and it certainly takes practice. One of the most well-received ways to keep a mindfulness journal is to come up with a certain number of “Mindful Moments” to write down at the end of each day.

For example, if your journal focuses on “4 Mindful Moments,” you can write down four moments each day you felt you were especially mindful. This allows you to focus on the moments in which you are most mindful, and this allows you to focus on your overall mental health.

Gratitude Journal

A gratitude journal is something that can help you feel happier in everyday life. A gratitude journal is very personal, but it’s very effective. Most people spend the vast majority of their time focused on the things that go wrong in life. This journal can help you avoid that.

Each day you should write down two or three things that you’re thankful for. Some days this may be a stretch but remember it’s not always the big things you have to be grateful for. Spending intentional time focusing on what makes you grateful takes the power away from the things that make you less than grateful.

Bullet Journal

A bullet journal is a special type of journal that allows you to track many different areas of your in life in one convenient space. Inside of it, you can keep lists, make notes, and create plans. The idea is that you write down short phrases or “bullets” to help you remember important dates, manage your to-do list, and keep you on track with your goals.

The advantage of using a bullet journal is that it can be customized for your life. So, if you want to keep a list of the books you’re reading, how many steps you took today, and what knitting project you’re working on, you can easily do that.

Bullet journals can take a few minutes to set up. But there’s plenty of inspiring ideas on social media sites like Instagram. Just look up #bulletjournal or #bujo and you’ll discover all of the ways you can decorate a bullet journal.

The wonderful thing about journaling is that there are no rules. You can create the journal you want and customize it to fit your life.


There are so many types of journals – even more than I have included here. You can make a journal for almost any occasion – holiday journals, meal journals, kids journals, yoga journals, sleep journals, and so on.

I’m going to go into more detail about the use of journals and how to incorporate them into your lives this month.

Stay tuned!

And remember to check out “How to Have a Healthier Autumn


Loving Life—The Reboot!




One Comment

  • Julie

    I love this! There was a time when I wrote a journal entry nearly every day. It was fun to think throughout the day what I might “talk” about that night in my journal.

    Love the breakdown of Handwritten & Electronic Journals – I’ve tried both and go back and forth between which is best for me. As for electronic, are there any software programs you would recommend? Thanks!

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