Journaling - How I Do It + How I Finally Made a Habit of It

Sunday, August 4, 2019


Anddddddd we're back!!! 

(miss part one? check it out here!)

A couple of weeks ago, I talked about why I love journaling so much, and why I think it could change your life. Journaling has seriously been one of the biggest game changers for me over the years, and I love getting to talk about it here on the blog. Today, we're back with Part 2 of this journaling series, to talk about the logistics of it all - how I journal, the different things that made it less daunting for me, and how I finally made journaling a habit. 

Like I mentioned in my last post, I've always loved journaling, but I struggled for a really long time with consistency. I loved to journal, but over and over and over I would find myself slipping and before I knew it, it had been months since I'd last picked up the pen. 

It wasn't until about two years ago that I figured out what I'd been doing wrong and really managed to  put together a system that worked for me. It's obviously going to be different for everyone, but maybe this will help you figure out what will work for you, too. 

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The biggest thing that changed journaling for me was taking the pressure off of myself - and in taking the pressure off, my consistency soared. I'd been putting so many "rules" on myself when it came to journaling - I had to detail each day in the journal (in order), if I missed a day, I had to catch up, each journal had to serve only ONE purpose, etc. I would become so stressed out and overwhelmed trying to keep up with my own rules that I would end up not journaling at all. It was the most terribly Type A thing to do, and losing that mindset was the best thing that I could have possibly done. 

I used to keep two separate journals - a journal detailing daily life, and a prayer journal. I found out that merging the two was the best decision for me, personally. Some days I just write about life, some days I prayer journal, and some entries go back and forth between the two. It made so much more sense to leave myself the flexibility to use the journal for both. If life is a constant conversation with God, why shouldn't journaling be, too?

In loosening up the restrictions that I was placing on myself, I immediately found myself having an easier time journaling because there was no stress associated with it. I was able to just pick up my journal and write about whatever I wanted without worrying if I was doing it "right". I wasn't writing a novel - I was keeping a journal, and once I realized that everything didn't have to be a perfectly sequential story, there was no turning back. If I could offer one piece of advice, that's what it would be - stop putting pressure on yourself, and just write. After all, wouldn't you rather have pages upon pages of memories, even if they are a bit scattered, as opposed to a couple of pages of incomplete "perfect" journal entries?

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A couple of other things that helped me....

// Find the time that works best for you - and make a habit of it

Some people love to journal first thing in the morning. I've found that I sleep better if journaling is the last thing that I do before I go to bed. Maybe you love journaling when you get home from work or school. Whenever your preferred time is, find it - and stick to it. At the end of the day, if you want journaling to be a habit, you have to be willing to make it one. It's not just going to happen instantly. Habits are built upon consistency. At first, it can be difficult to remember to do it every day. Eventually, though, it does in fact become a habit. For years, I struggled with making a habit of journaling on a daily basis. (The amount of times that I mention wanting to journal more as a goal in old blog posts is a testament to that!) It got to the point, however, where I just had to make the conscious decision that I wanted to make this a priority in my life. Now, it feels wrong if I go to bed without journaling.

Of course, I will caveat this by saying that the world isn't going to end if you miss a day. We're taking the pressure off here, remember? I'm not saying that you have to have a military grade schedule in order to become consistent with journaling. You don't have to do it every day. But routine builds consistency, which builds habit. Remember that. 

// Use the time you have

Let's be honest here. Life gets crazy, and we don't always have the time to write everything that we want to. BUT, if you're like me, you don't want to forget everything. I've found that when I hit points like this, doing one of two things really helps me. 

One option is to write out a quick list within the journal of things that you want to flesh out in full detail at a later point. Then, as you have time, you can go back to the list and write it up later. Again, your journal isn't about perfection, so it's okay if things get out of chronological order. (my perfectionist friends, I know, breathe. It's gonna be okay.) Your future self will just be glad that it's there.

The second option if you've had a really crazy day is to just quickly bullet point your journal entry instead of writing it down in paragraph form. That way, you're writing down the same information, but it gets done a lot more quickly because you're cutting out all of the excess words. Yay for efficiency, am I right?

// Enjoy it

At the end of the day, what's the point in journaling if you don't enjoy it? Journaling should be something you look forward to - not a chore. If writing isn't your thing, maybe you'd like keeping an art journal instead. Maybe you don't want to write pages and pages, but you like to do a quick daily recap at the end of your daily page on your planner or bullet journal. Lose the stress, and just journal for yourself. You're not perfect, and your journal doesn't need to be either. Just write!


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So, are you ready to give journaling a shot? Hopefully now you feel a little less intimidated, and are ready to give it a go. Have you been journaling lately? What's the hardest part of journaling for you? What's your FAVORITE part? Let me know!







8 comments:

  1. GA YOU READ MY MIND. My August goal is to actually start journaling (loLLLLLLLL) and,,,it's day 5 and so far I've...taken my journal out of where I store it and put it on my desk?? I guess you /could/ say I'm making progress.

    My biggest struggle/what I'm working on right now is finding a time to do it: I'm not coherent enough in the morning to write and at night I'm too tired to. I think I'll need to make an evening routine and incorporate it, but earlier. At least, that's what I'm trying today. :)

    Thank you for this post!! I S T R U G G L E with perfectionism, and this post took some of the pressure off.
    <3,
    Hanne || losingthebusyness.wordpress.com

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    1. Finding the time is so hard - that's been the recent struggle for me as well. I HOPE THAT YOU'VE BEEN KNOCKING THE PERFECTIONIST STRUGGLE!!! <3

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  2. I really love your idea about writing a bullet list first, details later. I know it's gonna work wonders for my flaky brain : )


    <3 <3 <3
    k.

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  3. I LOVE THIS. And wow I can relate SO MUCH to the type A wanting-everything-done-perfectly-at-the-same-time-every-day journaling habits. *nervous laughter* This is what made me give it up for a long time too!! But dropping the struggle also helped me get back into it. I still wish I journaled more consistently though – sometimes I'm hurrying too much to get to work that I let my journaling habits slack and that in turn affects my mental health. ugh. not good.

    I'm definitely going to use these tips!! THANK YOU MY DEAR <3333 i especially love the idea of making a bullet point list of the day instead of writing a details account lol

    LOVE YOU SO MUCH
    xx Abbie

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    Replies
    1. No one gets me like you do, Abbie. Love you love you love you.

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  4. Great content, thank you for sharing. Looking forward for more!

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