Damn. Just checked out my personal journal and its 4 days behind. How do you start journaling and make it a habit?
I would have thought I’m slipping away but then I remember I got a 130+ streak on NotePD.
Journaling is a luxury if you’re always thinking of what next to do and can’t find time to just be.
Then you got to put those thoughts and plans on paper/blank document.
Some aspect of your life of course are better kept private – that’s what I do with my personal journal. Then after refining or cutting the story to only “suspense packed” lines or just childhood stories then I allow myself to use them every now and then on public writings like this.
How to start Journaling as a Habit
1. Write Morning Pages
This is can be a great part of your morning routine. When you wake up and still have ideas running through your head – your best bet is an early morning journal or any kind of morning writing, journaling, etc.
‘Morning Pages‘ by Julia Cameron is a specific process of 3 pages of long hand journaling.
Take the time to scramble through your journal on all the ideas you have. You could pick up something of interest.
Also if you regularly publish on a blog or social platforms like Twitter or NotePD – its a good way to gather ideas which you could further expand at the end of the day.
2. Take a Notebook everywhere you go
These days there are pocket journals which you could take advantage of in case you want to note down any ideas that sparkle at any random time of the day.
I have a journal just like i have books at different target locations of both my home and work place.
This way i always have something to put my ideas and i can easily find them.
3. Organize your Notes on Softwares like Google Doc or Evernote
Google Doc is great as first drafts since it has a simple and non-distracting user interface and as a bonus autosaves while you write.
EverNote has this amazing search feature which is great since the app can be integrated with other reading apps like InstaPaper which save your highlights specially.
4. Journal in the Evenings
Most people have to wake up early, prepare and go to their working places in the mornings so they don’t have time for activities like Journaling.
But Evenings are also effective. In fact, more effective from my experience to write produce high quality ideas not just for your personal consumption but blogposts and Idea lists.
It could also be a great time for Gratitude journal where you look back over what happened at the end of the day and both appreciate the little things plus connect some dots.
5. Journal to Brain Storm
Journaling without any restrictions or filters might be a godsend when we are upset or worried about something.
The fear fades as we put our thoughts on paper.
We can go a little deeper and perhaps discover the true root of the problem.
7 things journaling can help you do
1: Keep track of your thoughts
You can journal about anything that’s on your mind, whether it’s a problem you’re trying to solve or something that’s making you happy.
The power you give to events comes from the story you tell yourself as we mostly see things as we “are” rather than how they “are.” So journaling can help you become more aware of these stories and put them in perspective.
Sometimes the right attitude is just Gratitude which you can attain more from pausing, reflecting and penning down facts.
2: Capture good ideas
When you’re listening to someone and get an idea or get an epiphany at any moment – no matter how unusual it may be – journaling is a solution to retain such ideas.
My favourite example is Richard Branson, “I don’t mind where the ideas come from as long as they make a difference.”
When you feel something is so good – writing down on such ideas on a journal would help you really anchor it in.
3: Know yourself more
Knowing yourself can help you trust yourself more, become more certain and develop clarity in life.
Journaling helps accelerate this process. I always start my journaling at the end of the day on what I did and what I plan to do next day.
Then I ponder on why I’m concerned about something or a particular thing bothering me.
Sometimes we all need to hit pause to process our thoughts before even narrating to other people we feel understands.
4: Store memories
Then sometimes you do re-read your past journals.
Damn. I remember breaking up with a particular lady. And when I went back to my journals all the while I was in touch with her.
Even in moments when I wasn’t sure of how I felt in the relationship – my journals showed how much pain I was enduring.
Rereading them again made me thank God for how free I had become letting go.
You can use those memories to reflect back and make changes … here’s a thought from a coach on his fitness journey:
“When I’m in a rut, I look at what I wrote in the journal during the bad days. I look at what routines I dropped. And often times, the rut is caused by something I changed that I shouldn’t have changed.”
5: Work through difficult emotions
Getting all of your worries and stressors out on paper can help relieve some of the pressure you’re feeling.
Writing down how you’re feeling can help you understand and process what you’re going through.
6: Generate ideas
Journaling can help jumpstart your creative juices by giving you a place to freely explore ideas.
The brain is indeed a powerful organ. Through routines and habits, don’t be surprised if it only what we ask of it.
If you want more ideas start asking more of it, what James Altutcher calls on NotePD “challenging your idea muscle.”
7: Write as a habit
Journaling is an outlet to make good first drafts that you can easily refine to anything.
If you don’t give yourself permission to pour out raw and fresh ideas – then how can you have time to refine such ideas.
Writing with the intention of getting better at writing not only actives your creative forces but instill them as a habit.
When did you start journaling and why did you start at the first time?