I don't know about you, but in the past I have tried so many times to start a journal but could never make it stick.
I would buy a brand new notebook, all the best intentions of recording life's events and special moments each day only to have it last a couple of days until life took over again and the journal was forgotten until the next time the urge took me.
As a result I have a nice collection of notebooks with a few filled in pages, snippets of life which nevertheless are to be treasured as they contain thoughts and recount things that happened that might have been otherwise forgotten.
I think that part of the problem was while I do love to write, I had lots of thoughts and feelings I did not wish to commit to paper, so what i was writing was only superficial. Just in case my scribblings were picked up and read by the wrong person, this held me back from recording things that were deep and so the journal didn't seem real or compelling.
Through recent events in my life during the last 6 months, I have finally learnt how and why to journal and why it is so important to make it a fixed part of your day.
Here are my tips, why these really work and how it has helped me change my life.
1. Use Pen & Paper
I have in the past tried journalling using my laptop or ipad, but it is just not the same as writing by hand.
There is something about actually forming letters and words by hand that really helps get the thoughts down on paper and help you work through things. The very act of writing things out by hand to makes your journal something very real and personal that you can pick up and touch.
I also insert the occasional note or clipping or even photo between the pages.
2. It doesn't have to be perfect
There is no formula to follow. The handwriting doesn't have to be perfect.
The best way is to just write the day and date and then just dump out whatever is on your mind. It doesn't have to be in order, can be all jumbled up, you can jump from one topic to the next, make lists, draw diagrams, whatever you feel like, just go with it.
This is the most powerful tip that has been key to me making journalling a part of every day. By removing the need to create perfect pages, some days my pen just flies across the pages and i might be writing for 20 minutes without even realising it.
The whole point is to just get it all out onto paper. You might never go back and read it anyway, often the therapy and benefit you receive is in the act of creating some headspace by getting the thoughts out on paper.
3. Have a set time of day to write
This is also a key tip. Once you have sat down to write at the same time every day, you will start locking in the habit which will make it easier to get started each time.
You will start looking forward to sitting down each day and connecting with your thoughts and feelings and just processing your day.
One of the best times is just before bed. I have found this to be really very helpful by emptying out any stress of the day, recording thoughts and things to be grateful for can set you up for more restful sleep.
In fact, during times of stress I would say it is a must to sit and do a brain dump every night before bed. You may still have wakeful times during the night but I am sure you will find you will experience some peace.
I really recommend to anyone to start a journalling practice today and I hope these tips help you.
Grab our free Great Journalling Checklist to help you get started today.
Have you own tips? I would love to hear them so please share in the comments, on facebook or instagram.
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