If you’ve decided that you’d like to give journaling a go, then it’s best to start small to make sure that it becomes a sustainable habit – not one that becomes tiresome after a few days or weeks.
When we make the choice to try something new, we often get carried away and put pressure on ourselves to do as much of it as possible. But doing too much too soon can lead to us feeling burnt out, and make us more likely to give up.
When you’ve bought your shiny new journal, downloaded your app of choice, or set up your video camera or dictaphone; start by recording the date and then writing or speaking just a couple of lines a day.
If you feel that you naturally want to write more, then you can, but avoid putting pressure on yourself to write loads if you’re really not feeling it. You should also give yourself as much freedom as possible when you’re choosing a topic to write or speak about.
Each entry can be on absolutely anything at all – for example:
Something you’re grateful for that day (it doesn’t matter if these things are small).Your feelings about the day ahead, or the day that has just passed.Thoughts and feelings about someone else.A list of things you want to achieve that day.A poem or short story.The weather, or anything else that you observe in your surroundings in the present moment.Goals or wishes.Your health.A hobby or interest, such as art, travel, or food.Dreams – some people find it helpful to write about their dreams as soon as they wake up, before they forget them.
Usually, the hardest part of keeping a journal is creating those first few entries. We lead such busy lives that stopping to take stock of how we feel and to check in with ourselves can feel a little strange and unnatural.
But the more you do it, and the more you realise that there is no right or wrong way to journal, the easier and more enjoyable it can become. Some days you might only feel like writing down a single word or a doodle – with journaling, anything goes.