Tools + Practices

How to Begin a Daily Journaling Practice

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To say that journaling has changed my life would not be an understatement. I have journaled almost every day for over 1,000 days. Sometimes it’s just a few sentences, while other days I write pages and pages of thoughts, musings, inspiration — the list goes on and on. Journaling has been my therapy, a coping mechanism and source of clarity, inspiration, and guidance.

The fact that it is so important to me is why it is such an integral part of the work I do with my clients.

When someone starts to journal, there is always a bit of hesitation. Either the person “doesn’t have enough time,” thinks it is a waste of time, or “doesn’t see the purpose.” I get it; we all lead very busy lives and it can be frustrating to add another item to our morning and evening routines. But trust me when I say that this practice will not let you down. Whether I am working through a difficult problem in my head, getting clear on my intentions, or jotting down an outfit I wore that I felt really confident in or a meal that made me feel nourished/grounded — I love that my journal is a place I can go to stay present, reflect, and share without holding back.

Today I want to show you how you can begin a daily journaling practice.

When I initially started my journaling practice, I was utilizing notebooks with already-made formats (which, honestly, was really helpful as a beginner). I remember one of my first was Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map Journal; I loved creating accountability for myself by structuring my life around my core desired feelings. I have since created my own template that allows flexibility, creativity, and the ability to check in on my practices, routines, and rituals.

I use my notebook (I LOVE those thick-page sketchbooks like this one here) and have my template printed out in the front (something I provide to all of my clients) as a point of reference and inspiration. I also love the Day One app on my computer or iPhone when traveling (this is also helpful when my pen can’t keep up with how fast my brain is moving).

I use my journal to write my morning and evening pages, top goals, accountability around my self-care practices, manifestation, intention, and gratitude lists—really anything and everything that is happening in my life or inspiring me.

This is an example of how I do it, but I strongly encourage you to find what works for you. Here are a few resources to help you as you begin to navigate your journaling practice:

Find your Outlet

A few of my favorites include:

  • A plain notebook – as I mentioned previously I love sketchbooks for their thick pages so I can write on each side without the ink bleeding through. This one and  this one are my favorites.
  • The Day One App – an easy to use password-protected app for your computer, iPad, and iPhone.
  • Five Minute Journal – a wonderful and effective tool to get started journaling daily.

Create some basic questions

Today I feel . . .

Today’s mantra is . . .

My intention for this week is . . .

Today I am grateful for . . .

Keep up with your self-care practices and rituals

I base my work on the ten pillars I’ve created. Even if it is just one sentence, I want to be able to check in on a daily basis to see how each pillar is showing up in my life. A few examples include:

  • Movement – how I moved my body that day, or how I plan to
  • Stillness – did I complete my meditation? what mantra am I listening to?
  • Nourishment – how I am feeling about my diet currently, meals I’d eaten already that day
  • Style – an outfit I wore that day, how I felt in it or might change it for next time
  • Energy – what my energy level feels like, what I said yes/no to, how I am protecting my energy or recharging
  • Connection – friends I caught up with or am missing and want to check in on

… Or just write freely

Sometimes journaling is about no structure and is an outlet to free write your thoughts and ideas as they come. When I take my time with free writing, I often end up with sessions in which I was able to work through a difficult problem or unleash a great idea hiding in my brain behind a bunch of random thoughts.

Use your journal as a fun method of accountability and as a resource for when you want to reflect or check in with yourself. Journaling is worth repeating and experimenting with; this exercise is all about finding what works for YOU.

And that’s it. Just start writing and see what comes up. Take time to reflect. Most importantly, be gentle with yourself and try to stay consistent. If you miss a few days, weeks. or even a year, that is OK. Just start back up again and see what happens.

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