Want to learn how to cultivate the habit of journaling in your busy schedule? Here are 6 simple journaling tips for beginners that can you help you journal, every day, for less than 10 minutes. Journaling is a simple but powerful tool that you should use in your personal development and mental well-being toolkit. These tips will simplify the process of journaling.
Journaling is one my favourite tools in my toolkit for so many reasons. It’s a tool that I advocate to my coaching clients because it’s so simple yet so powerful.
By tuning it to your thoughts and emotions, and putting pen to paper, you can unlock so much depth and potential for growth and happiness.
But the only way to truly understand the way that journaling can transform your life, you have to try it so that you can experience the benefits firsthand.
- Related : 3 Easy Journaling Methods for Beginners
Which is why I wanted to share 6 simple journaling tips for beginners, or for seasoned journalers, if you’re having a hard time staying consistent.
These tips will help you cultivate the habit of journaling in an easy way that doesn’t feel overwhelming and that can be easily used in your daily life.
[ JOURNALING TIP # 1: Start simple ]
Whether you want to start journaling or cultivating another habit in your daily life, you have to start as simple as possible.
In his book, “Atomic Habits”, James Clear describes the story of a man that wanted to get in shape. He first started with getting into the habit of showing up at the gym. So after work, he would simply go to the gym, and then go home. After a weeks when that habit was implemented, he started doing a 10 minute workout and slowly built up to going consistently for full workouts.
When cultivating the habit of journaling, the same rule applies : keep it simple.
Firstly, you need to understand that you don’t need to journal for hours to feel the positive effects. Even journaling consistently, 5-10 minutes per day, can have a big impact. Because the effects of your habits are cumulative – with time, they build up to help you in your overall well-being.
Secondly, you have to think about the reason behind why you want to start journaling – what do you need help with right now? What are you struggling with? What are you hoping journaling will help you with? From there, you can pick the type of journaling you can start with.
And to keep it simple from the get-go, you want to stick to one journaling prompt so that you can get comfortable with the process of showing up, using a journal and writing out your answers. With time, you can build up the habit and use a wider variety of prompts depending on your needs in the moment.
To keep your journaling habit simple, I also encourage you to keep it simple at the beginning. As mentioned before, 5-10 minutes per day will be sufficient to feel the benefits.
[ JOURNALING TIP #2: Make it easy ]
In line with the previous tip, if you’re a beginner at journaling or you’ve tried cultivating the habit in the past, then make sure to make it easy for you to sit down and journal.
When you are cultivating a new habit, you have to remove any potential obstacles that would impede your ability to practice the habit.
In this case, you want to make sure that you have a simple system set up so that every time you want to journal, it’s easy. You just grab your journal, pen and your journal prompt so that you can sit down and journal.
First, I want you to think about when will you journal? Where will you journal? At what time? How often during the week?
Once you have those figured out, leave your journal out for a visual reminder with the pen that you will use and the prompt that you will be use. That way, when it comes time to sit down and journal, everything is already there and you have less obstacles or excuses to NOT sit down and journal.
Bonus tip : if you just want to journal a different prompt every day, grab the 100 guided journal prompts, print it and leave it with your journal so that all your journaling tools are ready to go.
[ JOURNALING TIP # 3 : Focus & remove distractions ]
Now that it’s time to journal, I want you to focus and remove any distractions. If you truly want to cultivate the habit of journaling, then you have to do everything you can so that you reap the benefits from it. Otherwise, all your efforts to set yourself up will go to waste.
When I sit down to journal, I like to start by taking a few deep breaths just to make myself be present in the moment and tune into how I’m feeling. This will help you focus and get in touch with your thoughts, which will make it easier to write the answers to the prompts.
Since you will only be journaling for 5-10 minutes to start with, I also want you to put your phone on silent, or even leave it somewhere that’s not within reach (I’m also guilty of constantly reaching for my phone!).
You can set a timer for 10 minutes and put on some relaxing music and just get in a zone. You’ll see that when you focus and you’re present with yourself, you will feel better just for the simple act of allowing yourself to sit and just BE with yourself.
[ JOURNALING TIP # 4: Schedule it when it makes sense ]
This might take some trial and error, but this relates to the tip #1 where I explained that I want you to think about when you want to journal – every morning? Every evening? During your lunch break? Or maybe it’s every Sunday and eventually you will do it during the week as well.
Whatever time of the day you choose, it has to make sense with your schedule. If you want to stay consistent with the habit of journaling and you want it to be simple, it has to make sense with your schedule and your needs.
You can start off with trying to journaling in the morning or evening, and if you find yourself not being able to stick to it, don’t be hard on yourself. Question whether it’s the time that doesn’t work, whether you’re not using the right prompts, or maybe you’re just too tired in the morning to wake up earlier and journal.
Remember that every day won’t be perfect and if something isn’t working, it’s simply a matter of adjusting and changing your approach to set yourself up for success.
[ JOURNALING TIP # 5: Follow prompts ]
Journaling can feel intimidating so remove the overwhelm of trying to figure out “What do I write? Am I writing the right thing?” And simply follow prompts and an audio guide to help you.
It takes a bit of practice to feel comfortable with journaling but once you have the habit in place, the benefits will make you want to keep going back to it.
The first way you can keep it simple for yourself is to follow guided journal prompts so that you remove the thought process out of it. You don’t have to think about to write but you can just show up to your journaling session with guided prompts in hand.
Another related tool that might help you, especially when you’re getting started, is to use audio guides to walk you through the prompts and ask you additional questions and give you ideas about what to write.
[ JOURNALING TIP # 6 : Notice the benefits ]
You might not think that this is a way to help you cultivate a new habit but in reality, the only way you are going to keep doing something is if you feel the benefits from it, right?
So if you want to cultivate a new habit, you have to pay attention to how you’re feeling, how is it impacting your life, how do you feel on the days where you didn’t journal?
Because the way to keep going and practicing a new habit then you have to feel the benefits of the habit so that it’s “self-motivating” – the next time you don’t want to journal, you can remember how much better you felt in the morning when you did your morning gratitude journaling.
Another way to assess your progress and determine whether there are benefits, you can use a simple tracker to see what days you journaled and when you didn’t and notice how you felt throughout the month, especially when you sit down and do your monthly self-reflection.
If you want to grab your free monthly habits tracker to start cultivating the habit of journaling, access the free journaling resource library.
[ Take Action ]
If you made it to the end of this blog post, then take this as a sign that this is the time for you to start journaling, because I know you’ve been thinking about it.
I want you to take immediate action and go through the steps again and create a simple strategy on how you will cultivate the habit of journaling this week.
Make sure to access the FREE journaling resource library for some tools to get you started such as journaling worksheets with corresponding audio guides.
The secret to achieving goals and actually making change happen in your life is to take action and to stay consistent.