Developing Habits

How to Create the Habit of Journaling

Creating a new habit take time, practice, and patience, and learning to journal is no different. Whether you want to start journaling to improve your self-awareness and emotional health or to help you gain clarity or solve a problem, it is important to start with a solid foundation that will help you integrate this important and worthwhile activity into your life.

Step 1:  How to Start a Journaling Habit

First, you need to decide what part of your time lends itself best to a regular writing habit. Like any habit, you need to find a space for it in your life if you want it to stick.

When is a time in your day that you can devote to 10-20 minutes of quiet reflection? During what part of your day is your mind most capable of this habit? Some people do not like to write every day but instead, commit to a practice of three or four times per week. Before you start the process, figure out what you can reasonably commit to and make a choice to write during these times.

Step 2:  Format

Next, you should consider which format will work best for you. Is a paper journal best or will an app help you make this a habit? Does keeping it on your computer make more sense? Whatever you choose, get the notebook, download the app, or create the document, but get yourself ready to write.

Step 3:  Write

Now, it is time to write. Just do it. Do not worry about what you write. Don’t filter or edit yourself. Just let your thoughts flow from your mind into your journal. If you get stuck, look for prompts online to get you going, but don’t worry about following any type of formula or focus right away. Just start writing. The more you do it, the easier it will get.

Step 4:  Reflect

Once you have been at it for a week or so, look for ways that your journal entries can inspire you to take action or make minor changes in your life. Have you noticed themes popping up more? Are there things you can do to address some of these areas? What will your journal teach you?

Reflection on your entries is perhaps the most powerful part of your journaling habit. Look back to see how far you have come, what you can learn, what you notice about your emotions or decisions. Learning from your entries gives you insight, helps you make better choices, and promotes better understanding.

Once you have started, it is essential to keep it up. It can help to set a reminder on your phone, create an appointment on your calendar, or post notes around your home or workspace that help you remember to write every day. Start small and work your way up toward longer stretches if writing is not already a part of your daily routine. Even if you just journal for five minutes a day for the first week, this is helping you build a habit.

Give yourself time and be patient. You may not notice that you think or feel differently for a few weeks. That’s okay. Like all good things, the results take time to develop. You will start to notice them soon, we promise.

Final Thoughts

Writing in a journal every day can help you solve problems, gain greater awareness, calm your mind, and improve your overall health. When you practice this critical routine daily, it can improve your memory and focus, stabilize your emotional health, and even improve your immune system. Find a routine that works for you and get busy writing!

To your journey

Fran Watson

About Fran Watson

Work from home Career Counsellor helping people with resumes, cover letters and interview tips. Recently published an e-book on Resumes and Cover Letters That Work (www.franwatson.ca). Member of Toastmasters and life-long learner.
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