How to Develop a Journaling Habit? This actually works.

Intro

Journaling can be life-altering. This simple practice of writing your thoughts in a diary or planning your day out can have a significant impact on your mental and emotional well-being.

Lucky for you, there’s a form of journaling for everyone! You can maintain an art journal, a photography journal, a daily planner, a plain notebook filled with your thoughts and feelings or even a travel journal. Unfortunately, there’s just one catch: to experience the benefits of journaling, you have to maintain a habit, which takes time and conscious effort. Here are a few ways you can embed journaling in your daily life.


Starting off

There are numerous journaling templates and books out there, you can pick any and start writing. However, if the journal doesn’t fit your needs, it won’t help you. This can leave you unmotivated. Hence, creating your own journal is the best way to ensure you start off right!


1. Identify your ‘why’?

The very first step in your journaling journey is to understand ‘why’ you want to start journaling in the first place. Why do you want to journal? What aspect of your life do you want to work on? Is it work-life balance, time management, self-care, gratitude, fitness, emotional awareness, creativity, achieving your goals, developing a new habit or something else? Choose as many of these as you want.

Finding your ‘why’ allows you to set a journaling goal to work towards and measure your progress against.

2. Tailor it to your needs

Your journal is supposed to prompt you to practice the activities that’ll get you to your goal. So if your goal is to achieve better time management skills, maybe you should include a scheduled to-do list in your journal. If you want to practice gratitude or reflect on the good things in your day, have a section on your page that inspires you to do just that. Developing a new habit becomes a lot easier with a habit tracker. Explore some great journaling templates to take inspiration from by clicking here.





Maintaining the habit


1. Create accountability

How can you ensure that you’ll fulfil the responsibility of journaling on most days? Easy, tell other people you’re going to do it. Tell your mom about your new journal, or show your friends your new journal. Share the goal you’re trying to achieve from journaling with someone.

When you tell someone you’re going to do something, you are definitely more likely to do it.

If you plan on art, travel or photography journaling, you can start an Instagram page and share your work with others. This will encourage you to consistently journal by updating the feed.


2. Journal buddy

Working with others to accomplish the same goal is usually fun and enriching. Thus, a journaling buddy or perhaps, a community of journal writers will surely keep you motivated to maintain the habit. You can find such communities online or you can even start a small one on your own :)


3. Track yourself

Keeping a track of your journaling streaks in a calendar can be helpful to see the length of the streaks and the frequency of your journaling. You might be able to associate changes in your mood with the breaks and patterns of your journaling streak.

Why not set a reminder on your phone? A notification is bound to increase the likelihood of you writing every day.


Missed a few days? No problem.


1. Dealing with the guilt of not keeping up

Building a habit is not easy. We're going to fail multiple times and face many setbacks, I know I did. I just couldn't get myself to journal every single day. It takes time and contemplation, sometimes it starts feeling like work. Therefore, it's very natural to have many breaks in your journaling streak. At times, these failures make us question our self worth and cause guilt. Just remember that you have nothing to feel guilty about. This practice that you're embracing is a step in the right direction. It would be ironic if a self-improvement practice like journaling became a stressor. So remind yourself that you're going at your own pace and progressing steadily.



2. How often should I be journaling?

Now that we've established that daily journaling is not a norm, how often should you be journaling? You need to use the 'trial and error' method to figure out what frequency works for you. Maybe you feel great just journaling two days a week, maybe you need to sit to write every morning. It's your choice based on your needs. I try to plan my day out whenever the workload feels like a lot, so I journal at least four times a week.


3. Keep going and Keep updating

Journaling isn't a treatment that is prescribed for a certain number of weeks or months, it's a hobby that you enhance. If you start to get bored of your journal, switch things up. Shift from a notebook to a digital journal, maybe an app with daily prompts. Or you could design something new. Maybe even try out a different form of journaling. Whatever you choose, just make sure it fits your needs and keeps pushing you towards the goal you established.




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