As I discussed in the previous article, when done correctly, Journaling has been shown to provide positive mental health effects often providing the first step in feeling trauma, relieving stress and even making you happier.
The best thing is, that Journaling is accessible to everyone at any time, anywhere.
This is Journaling, a simple yet magical writing process that helps you to regulate emotions, organize thoughts and give new meanings to your life. Yet, a lot of people have thrown their pens and journals away because they can’t see immediate results.
This step-by-step beginner’s guide that shows you how to start journaling, and importantly, helps you if you’re not much of a writer. That’s not all. You’ll also get a downloadable journaling guide and a bonus hack to install journaling as a habit at the end of this article. If you don’t know what profound things journaling and writing therapy can do to you, read the first part here!
Let’s get started!
Step 1: Define Your Purpose
What do you want to get out of journaling? Are you looking for ways to heal yourself, de-stress, inject more positivity in your life, let everything out or solve a problem? (Yes, you can solve problems by journaling!)
When your purpose is clear, you’ll be able to sieve through countless structures, prompts and tips and use only what works for your purpose. Less time spent on writing guesses in your journal.
Step 2: Create The Right Environment
This goes a long way but requires some experimentation. Why? Some people can focus in a quiet place whereas some prefer noises. If you don’t know the right environment for you, you can experiment in different environments that are ideal to write in your journal.
Step 3: Write or Type?
Either, both or neither. Seriously, it’s doesn’t matter if you write, type or even speak. It comes down to the root, that you’re able to let your thoughts out and the process helps you achieve your purpose.
Step 4: Make It Visible
If you’re writing, put a pen and journal beside your working space. If you’re typing, make a reminder to journal before you start your day. If you’re speaking, make a reminder to find a private space, then speak to your recorder. The concept is simple. Create a visual cue that makes you think of journaling and gets you writing.
Step 5: Make it Easy
Journaling is easy when you know what to write and you have time for it.
The average time taken to journal correctly, is 20 minutes a day. If squeezing that amount of time out of your busy schedule takes a Superman to do it, you can journal for 5 minutes. Choose a prompt and schedule 5 minutes per day.
Step 6: It’s Journaling Time!
At this point, you’ve got all the pre-requisites nailed down. Whether you’re using a prompt or free write, you can write/type/speak about anything. Stop until your time is up. Oh, and no erase, no backspace, no pause. If you’re editing your words, you’re not journaling.
And inject some fun! My personal motto is “No fun, no do”. Fun is the best motivation to keep doing. You can inject fun into journaling by using peculiar prompts, drawing funny stuff, writing jokes you’ve heard and events that made you laugh. It’s time to unleash your inner child!
Step 7: Put A Date
This is optional. If you plan to re-read your journal, the date helps you to remember what happened on that day. If you don’t, it’s okay to forget about it.
Step 8: Keep It Private
If you don’t mind people reading your journal, toss it anywhere you want. If you do mind, close it up and keep it in a safe made of titanium. Okay, jokes aside. If you do mind, keep it in a locked drawer, wardrobe or with you all the time. Whatever you feel is best for you and your journal.
That’s it. 8 simple steps to show you how to start journaling. Where are the prompts and structures? I know, I know. I didn’t include them here or else you’ll see 5000 words down here.
I’ve created a journaling guide containing structures and prompts customized for each purpose. If you want to download it for FREE click here
Oh! Not to forget the bonus hack to make journaling stick with you. Thanks to this hack, I’m able to journal consistently for over 3 years. And it works for any good habits!
The hack is – get this
Never miss twice.
If you miss a day journaling, commit to this hack: never miss twice. This works so well because of 1) you’re allowed to take a break, and 2) you get to do something rather than not doing at all.
Generally the first mistake is not the one that stops the practice, its the spiral of repeated dropouts that follows. Don’t let a day become days missing our writing a journal!
“Missing once is an accident. Missing twice is the start of a new habit.” James Clear
So there you have it, 8 simple steps, a journaling guide, and a bonus hack, all humbly delivered to you. But something is missed, on purpose. Do you know what that is?
You may have all the tools and techniques but journaling won’t work for long if you don’t have the right blueprint. In fact, nothing you do and nothing you learn will make much of a difference.
Unveil the blueprint in the next article and embark on a journey to discover your latent superpower in your journal. Let’s get started!