How to Start Journaling for Beginners


Finally Worry Free

If you have a small collection of cute journals you’ve bought through the years and each one has only the first five or so pages filled out – you’re in the right place.

First of all, let me just say, “No big deal!”   

Tip #1:  Go Easy On Yourself 

Journaling is not meant to be hard, serious work.  It’s meant to be an enjoyable, enlightening practice that you incorporate into your life – on your personal journey to becoming a happier person.  

So in this article, you’re not going to get eight tips on how to make yourself get up earlier every single day in order to write for an hour in your journal.

Or how to force yourself to write in it when you don’t want to.  Don’t we have enough things we have to do everyday without adding one more thing to force ourselves to do?

You’ll get eight tips on making journaling easy and fun, yet impactful at the same time.

Tip #2:  Make Sure the Journal You Use Makes You Feel Good

The good thing is there are plenty of journals out there these days to choose from.  If cute and pretty journals are your thing, go for it.  If you’re more the leather-bound looking type, that’s great.

You just want to make sure that you feel good using it.  A cheap notebook from the dollar store might do the job, but if it doesn’t feel like it matches the person you are or the person you want to be, then skip it.  

I love the dollar store, by the way.  But for something like a journal, you want it to be really special.  

If you’re crafty, you can always get creative and buy a plain notebook, then decorate it however you want.  

Another idea is to purchase a three-ring binder and create a combination journal/vision board notebook.  You can buy loose leaf paper for the journal pages.  

And you can get those plastic page protectors that fit into three-ring binders for the vision board pages.  I glue pictures from magazines onto cardstock and then slip them into the page protectors.

Tip #3:  Your Journal Is Only Meant for You to Read

To get the most out of journaling, you’re going to want to keep your journal private.  They’re not meant to be shared with anyone else.

It’s not that you have anything to hide from your family.  But, journaling is a really personal practice.   You want to be able to pour your thoughts out at times and you’ll hesitate if you think someone else might read it.

If this sounds sneaky, just remember that we’re all on our own journeys.  There might be things in your past, for instance, that you still haven’t processed.  Journaling helps so much with these kinds of things.

No matter what goals you’re working on, what issues you’re dealing with, etc. etc. – journaling can help.

And the truth is, when you grow and evolve as a person, you start clearing out all the things that have been blocking your happiness.  For many people, this includes loving yourself more.   

So, one of the best things about all this is that when you love yourself more, you’re able to give more to others – including your family members.  Everyone around you gets to reap the benefits when you become a happier person.

The funny thing is that I’ve been journaling for years now and my kids and my husband really aren’t interested in reading my journals.  I usually have one on my nightstand and a few around my office and no one’s checking them out.

As I wrote that paragraph above, it dawned on me that I have kind of a lot of journals. Past ones are tucked away in a special spot in my armoire.

I guess some women collect shoes. For me, I can’t resist when I spot a pretty one at Marshall’s or TJ’s. Plus, I get them for gifts.

Tip #4:  Keep Your Journal Handy

This one sounds contradictory to the tip above about keeping your journal private.  But, I’ll explain.

Basically, if you hide your journal too far away, you’ll end up not using it at all.  Out of sight, out of mind.  So, you want to keep it private, but within arm’s reach.  

If you have kids around, it’s actually an excellent example for them to see their mother writing in a journal, even though it’s off limits to them.  

You can explain how it’s a great, healthy self care practice that helps you understand yourself better, reach your goals, grow as a person, count your blessings, etc.  They’ll most likely want to start one themselves.

Tip #5:  Choose The Best Time to Write In Your Journal

Ideally, the best time to write in a journal is every morning and every night.  But, you can choose how journaling will fit into your days.

When you first wake up and before you get out of bed is the perfect time to journal.  And the same thing at night – when you’ve settled into bed.

The reason these are the perfect times is because, first of all, there are less distractions.  And second, you’re probably the most relaxed at these two times of the day.  

In fact, right after we wake up and right before falling asleep, our brainwaves are in the alpha state, which is a nice calm, receptive time to be thinking and writing good, healthy thoughts.

And a bonus for journaling at night is it will be the last thing you think about before falling off to sleep. Our conscious minds rest, but our subconscious minds never sleep.

So in a way, you’ll be giving your subconscious mind it’s orders for the night. What you want it to work on while you’re asleep.

Tip #6:  Journal While You’re Watching TV

All the purists will be rolling their eyes at this one.  If you’re one of them, just look away.

Because I know the advice out there these days is all about how multi-talking is no good for us.  So, the thought of journaling while you’re watching tv just sounds bad.

But, I’m also in the real world.  And I can proudly say that I don’t watch a lot of tv.  But at the same time, most of us grew up with the tv continuously on.  

Drive down any street at night and just about every living room window in every house is glowing with the tv light.

So, if you like to zone out to your favorite tv shows on most nights – but at the same time, you’re working on upping the quality of your daily habits, then you can always combine the two.  

It’s better than not journaling at all.  Who says you can’t write a few lines during the commercials?

Tip #7:  Keep A Small Journal In Your Handbag

Journaling

Once you start journaling regularly, you’ll want to make sure you have one handy at all times.  Especially when you see all the different things you can include in your journal.  

You never know where you might be when you read or hear an inspiring quote you want to write down, for instance.  Or when an idea comes to you that you don’t want to forget.

If you don’t have a journal handy, you can always use the note app on your phone and transfer it to your journal at home later.

It’s always a good idea to take a journal with you when you’re away on vacation.  Not that we’re doing much vacationing these days with COVID-19.  But, it’s funny how ideas, clarity, and insights can come to us when we’re away from our usual routines.

This actually isn’t a coincidence.  When we’re relaxed and not bogged down by all of the everyday thoughts and things we have to do, it’s like we’re a conduit – an open channel – for fresh ideas and even solutions to problems to come into our minds.

Tip #8:  Journal About Everything and Anything

Keep an eye out for a post coming soon where I’ll share with you lots of journaling prompts that you can start using.

In the meantime, one of the best things you can do with your journal is one that we’ve all heard for years.  To list all the things you’re grateful for everyday.  This never gets old.  

Being grateful for what we have in our lives is so powerful.  As Rhonda Byrne, author of The Secret, said, “Gratitude is the great multiplier.”

Here’s another quote about being grateful:

“When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.”
Willie Nelson

Thanks for reading!

Paula

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