Journaling 102 – How to Start a Journal

February 23, 2018 , In: Breathe, Mental Health, Self Care , With: No Comments

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So you’re inspired to start journaling! That’s great! As mentioned in my previous journaling post, it’s a great way to get focused, improve brain function, and help reduce anxiety! But how do you get started?

Start With The “Hardware”:

Personally, I have 3 journals. But they are different (shapes, sizes, lines, dots, etc) and each serve a different purpose. I’ve listed the exact notebooks I use and my favorite pen for your convenience if you’re looking for quality notebooks for an affordable price!

Bullet Journal:

If you’re on Pinterest or Instagram you’ve probably seen them… the clean-lined, colorful journal layouts with doodles, quotes, habit trackers, hand-lettering, etc. With a bullet journal, you have the ability to doodle without journal lines running through your pictures. The ease of creating incredibly straight lines in a bullet journal also make my need for perfectionism, very happy. I think one thing I like the most is that you have whatever you need because you are 100% in control. Need a daily schedule, make one. Need a weekly layout with daily habit tracker, you can make that too. But my favorite part… If you have a packed schedule and can’t maintain a week of your weekly layout, it’s fine and there’s no paper wasted!

Traditional Journal:

I also keep a traditional lined journal… I actually have two. One I use as a journal to write in daily and the other I keep with me at all times to write down ideas and develop recipes. In my journal, I make a list of daily prompts to focus my energy on. I’ve found this works best for me because somedays, so much has happened that I can’t figure out how to break it down or focus on one single thing for 5-15 minutes.

Again I like the un-dated journals. I find it helps with my anxiety and depression because I’ll commit to a daily practice and then like three-quarters of the way through depression knocks on my door and says not today. I hate seeing my depression control me. But with a blank journal I just pick up where I left off, there’s no stark, visual evidence that my mental state took control. If you look closely, you’ll notice it in the dates marking each entry, but that’s not as obvious as blank pages!

Get a dedicated journaling pen!

Trust me here. It’s going to be easier for you to take a few minutes out of your busy day to sit and write if you don’t have to worry about first finding a pen! Keep it in, by, or attached to your journal… by making it a statement pen like the ones in the link, you risk losing sight of it on a (potentially) cluttered space!

Tiny Time Commitment

You don’t need to write a novel! When you’re starting out, try committing daily for 5-10 minutes. Personally, I find it’s easy to find 5 minutes when I first wake up or before I go to sleep. If you have a day where you have the time and you have the focus, write longer. You are in control… You got this!

Journaling is a journey!

You need to figure out what works best for you and how you like to operate. Maybe start with a traditional journal as you start your process and get a rhythm going. If you aren’t like me, and free-writing works best for you, GREAT! If you get stuck or don’t know where to start, here are 12 of my go-to’s when I create my journal prompts.

  2. Affirmations
  3. A Booklist
  4. Small Wins
  5. Daily events
  6. Future goals + actionable to-do lists
  7. Channel Elsa, and make a “Let it Go” list
  8. Networking goals
  9. Fitness/wellness/mental health goals
  10. Funny things family/friends do or say
  11. Draft new content/ideas for your next project
  12. Take notes on what you hear, read, do, see.

Prompted to Write.

If you’re like me and like to have one thing to focus on, below there are 31 journaling prompts to get you started. It’s the end of February, get yourself a journal and a dedicated pen, and get ready to start your new journal on March 1st!

So you’re inspired to start journaling! Great! As explained in my Journaling 101 post, it’s a great way to get focused, improve brain function, and help reduce anxiety! But how do you get started?

I will say, there are days that can be hard for me to connect to a journal prompt I establish. For example, “What is the best compliment you’ve ever received?” It took me 10 minutes to rack my brain for a compliment I could even remember. I didn’t come up with one. Instead, I made a note: “Revisit this prompt. I don’t tend to hang onto compliments or let them sink in. Words of affirmation are not my love language and tend to actually make me slightly uncomfortable. TIME TO MAKE A SHIFT!!”

If this list seems a little daunting to you, come back next week for a 28-day Gratitude Journal Challenge. Want to help inspire someone else’s journaling journey? Leave a favorite journal prompt in the comments below!

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Kaiti J

Welcome to Garnished with Gratitude! I'm so glad you're here. I'm Kaiti, a fan of healthy-ish ways, lists/plans, and I'm a total goofball. I'm here to create a space that provides resources to live your best life! From food and exercise to visualization and inspiration, this site is for you.

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