Daily Journaling for Beginners: How to Start a Practice and Stick With It
Daily journaling is a practice that can help you become more mindful, reflective, and even happier. It’s something that I started a few years ago and it’s made a huge positive impact in my life. If you’re curious about starting a daily journaling practice but don’t know where to start, this blog post is for you. In this post, we’ll discuss the benefits of daily journaling, how to get started, and tips for sticking with it!
Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations, believe it or not, was his journal. In it, he noted all the issues he experienced. He was vulnerable, self-deprecating, and displayed an eagerness to do better. If journaling was good for a Roman Emperor, it certainly cannot hurt you to try it.
Journaling is a way to think through your thoughts, organize them, and even make sense out of some that may seem nonsensical at first. Journaling is also great for setting goals and tracking progress towards those goals! You can journal anything from:
- Your morning routine
- The things you ate
- What you’re thinking about
- What has been bothering you
- The tough conversations you know you need to have
- The good you have done in the past
- Anything. Literally anything. Journaling is great for fostering creativity and even problem solving because you’re able to see things from different angles.
Now, I’m sure you’re thinking “I want to try this but I don’t know where to start.” Don’t worry! Journaling doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. You can go the digital route or the analog route (pencils and a notebook). The key is to just start.
Some thoughts that can get in the way of you starting.
- I need the perfect notebook. Resistance. You can pick up any piece of paper and let your thoughts flow onto the sheet. The goal isn’t to have something you can look back on (although that is beneficial). Rather, the goal is to remove your thoughts from your head and onto something else. In doing this, you will find that you have more head space to think about other things. Or think more deeply about the stuff you’ve written.
- I am still trying to figure out which note-taking application to use. Same thing. Same type of resistance as above. I have a serious issue with the “shiny new object” syndrome. I fall prey very easily to this condition. I have Roam Research; tried Obsidian; linked Obsidian with Logseq; lifelong subscriber to Evernote; and I was bullet journaling for a few years. They all work. The consistency is primary. The medium, secondary. The process of vomiting thought onto paper is where the money is at.
- If I miss one day, I lose my streak. If I lose my streak, I lose my motivation. And at that point, I don’t want to do this anymore. This is the most common thing that gets in people’s way. If the streak is your goal, have a backup plan. If you know that there will be days where you cannot journal for whatever reason, have a backup plan. Maybe it’s writing down your thoughts on your phone or computer, recording yourself reading them later. But, if you don’t get to it that day, then you don’t get to it that day. Nothing is lost. Perfection is not the goal.
Journaling has save countless people from losing their sanity. For your loved ones’ sake, be sane. Journaling helps. Good luck.