6 Ways to Create a Daily Journaling Habit
Creating a daily journaling habit may be on your mind lately as you’re thinking about ways to support your mental health. Along with meditating and moving your body, daily journaling is a tool that can support your mood, your outlook, and your general sense of wellbeing.
So if you’re looking to build a daily journaling ritual, here are 6 ways to make it easy and create that space for your mental health in each and every day so you can be the best you can be.
And, listen, I don’t so surface-anything. I hate small talk. Ice breakers at networking events make me break out into a cold sweat (and curse my perpetual need to be early because if only I were fashionably late, I could have avoided this special form of torture).
The point here is that you won’t find suggestions like “make yourself a priority” and “put your journal in a spot where you’ll see it.” Because, like… We know that. What else ya got?
Address your fears
If I’m dragging my feet about doing something, there’s usually an underlying fear around it. So once I clear that up, it feels less scary (duh) and I’m able to either sit with/work through the fear or drop it entirely.
Ask yourself what’s preventing you from starting this daily journaling habit. Maybe you’re worried that if you don’t do it for one day, you’ll be “a failure” and it’ll be another thing you’re not good at. Maybe you’re worried about what you’ll uncover.
Whatever the case, ignoring it won’t make it better. Jump in and ask yourself: What’s holding you back from starting this ritual? Journal about it! Kidding… But also not…
Give yourself a limit
As I’m writing this, it’s January 2022. And I have decided to use my Peloton app every day throughout the month of January. What can I say, I love a good challenge.
Usually, I start out thinking, “Ugh I don’t want to do this.” And on those days, I tell myself to just pick a 20-minute class. And by the close of class, I want to keep going.
Sometimes, the point is to just start, not to be happy and joyful and motivated to start.
Whether it’s a page count or a timeframe, set the expectations for yourself before you start to write. Tell yourself you’re just writing down 3 things that made you happy today or that you felt grateful for in the last 8 hours...and let it be it if that’s all you have in the tank. You still showed up for yourself and your daily journaling routine and that’s what matters.
Tie your daily journaling habit to existing ones
Okay, this is kind of a surface one, but it also kind of isn’t. Yes, you need to make any new habit easier for yourself to perform. And one of the simplest ways to do that is by tying your new habit to an existing habit (AKA habit stacking).
Do you already have a meditation habit that you do before bed no matter what? Add on 10 minutes of journaling before or after. Do you walk the dog every morning? Record a voice journal entry while you walk. That totally counts as self-exploration in my book.
Find a pen and journal you love
I hoard pens and journals, therefore I have no shortage of options to choose from. But I return to the same 2-3 types of journals and pens over and over because I am familiar with them and know exactly how they’ll perform. There’s nothing worse than finally sitting down to write and your pen skips or the paper you’re using is too grippy so you can’t get a good flow.
Kind of like making it easy on yourself and removing the barrier to getting started, finding a journal and pen you love and want to return to over and over will help your routine because you won’t have to talk yourself into sitting down and doing the thing and also psych yourself up to use tools that you aren’t totally in love with.
Use tools that work with you
Not a pen and paper person? Don’t let that be an excuse not to create a self-exploration ritual. Use tools that work for you! Some people swear by 750words.com. Others leave themselves voice notes. Even others still use a blank doc saved to their computer, a photo journal, or a blog or vlog.
The point is to do what works best with how you like to create, process, and record your thoughts. Because you’re not making this journaling habit for anyone else; you’re doing it for yourself.
Arm yourself with journaling promptsThere’s nothing more overwhelming than staring at a blank page (ask me how I know). Even after years of practice and writing, I still need the focus that journaling prompts give me. Will my writing at the end match the prompt I started with at the beginning? Who’s to say. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. But the thing that matters is that it gave me a focus and guided me enough to get started.
To get yourself started with some journaling prompts, download these 14 prompts for free by joining my mailing list or grab an Untitled Self-Discovery and Journaling Cards deck!