Journaling Tips

Looking to define who you really are? Or live a more fulfilling life? Or just find a way to resolve issues that you’ve been grappling with? Here are some journaling tips that will help to lead your way to self-discovery.

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woman writing journaling tips

My On and Off Affair with Journaling

I’ve journaled off and on for years. But since retirement, I’ve filled up at least 4 notebooks. While I may not do traditional journaling, I create, memorialize, vent, argue, solve dilemmas, express gratitude, and give absolution while writing.

Recently, I’ve been feeling like I’ve been stifling my creativity.

So I began a brand new journal. This one is a three-ringed binder where I can add pages.

I’ve been sketching and adding them to my binder.

Seeing them there reminds me to continue to practice.

Remember, one of the ways to hone your skills is to practice. This way I can see my progress which spurs me on to more creative sketching.

Journaling Tips Includes Goals

Since retiring, I’ve been wondering what comes next. I always have ideas but never concrete goals.

When I began to take an inventory of things I like to do, I started jotting them down in a journal.

What took shape was idea of helping people to build a better life. That’s something that I always loved doing through my professional life, personal life, and through my volunteer life.

Hence, my decision to become a life coach.

Which is why I started blogging – it’s my way of reaching more people, but doing it in my time (which is important to me).

So, my journal has a “Goals” section. And the more I write, the more I am sure that there’s still more to do.

In addition to a goals section, my journal has one for musings, another for quotes, and finally one for creative expressions.

So no matter what I’m feeling at any point in time, I can work in my journal and keep it all orderly!

The Benefits of Journaling

Journaling helps in so many ways. Here are a few:

  • Writing things down provides an excellent way to record events as they happen. Our memories can be faulty at times. Journaling memorializes with much better clarity. And reducing everything to writing has been proven to improve one’s memory.
  • Strengthens convictions. When we write something down, it signals to our brains that this is important. It can help us to choose the right course of action.
  • Boosts courage. Writing about your fears and ways to overcome them will provide determination and impetus to defeat what’s standing in your way.
  • Helps to maintain focus. If you are struggling with a problem, writing specifically about the issue – pros and cons – will not only bring you clarity, but also put things into perspective, and helps to center yourself.
  • Can calm you and bring peace. Writing about your day, especially a trying one can help to get out frustrations. You can vent in private and allow your true feelings to be shown, and therefore, provides an opportunity to close that door and move on.
  • Reduces stress and anxiety. It clears clutter. Once those negative thoughts come out, you will find relief and a possible solution to what’s bothering you.
  • Brainstorming ideas will help to find answers that you hadn’t even thought of before. Once again, just write freely – you never know what’s going to end up on your journal pages.
  • Brings inspiration. Seeing things in black and white makes it more real. Try to write using positive, powerful words. It will help you feel that you can accomplish anything!
  • Provides a haven. You can express your innermost thoughts without fear of criticism. You can be yourself!
  • Accomplish goals! Write down the steps you must take to reach your goal and check each off as you complete it.
  • Tracks progress. You can see how far you’ve come!
  • Holds you accountable. When you write about what you wish to accomplish, it impresses upon you that this is important. You are more apt to follow through to completion.
  • Increases your self-confidence and awareness.
  • Writing about happy events will brighten your day. Reliving happy times brings about the same kind of feelings as if they were happening all over again.
  • Provides an opportunity to review what you’ve written. This may help to find triggers and patterns in life and clear the way for positive change.

I’m sure that you can come up with more benefits but this is a great start to identifying why journaling is a good thing.

So, What does a Journal Look Like

When you hear the word Journal, what comes to mind? Maybe a leather-bound book with your deepest, darkest secrets?

But that sounds more like the diary that you kept as a teenager.

Do you think of a beautiful, store-bought notebook with a floral cover with many blank pages that haven’t been written on yet? Or do you think that it’s another fad whose time has come and gone?

So, what does a real journal look like?

By definition, a journal is a personal record of occurrences, experiences, and reflections kept on a regular basis. Some actually do call it a diary.

A journal is a place where you can write down your thoughts, what’s going on in your life, your dreams and frustrations, and just somewhere to do a brain dump to clear your head.

It can be written words on paper or typed into a computer.

It may not have an order to it; it might include checklists and could be used as a planner to organize timelines.

There really isn’t a set way for a journal to look. It’s very personal to each person and can take on any look that you want!

Check out the Journaling page here at Dream. Explore. Discover You to find out how to create your own Discovery Journal.

Journaling Tips to Remember

While there are no right or wrong ways to journal, there are some things to keep in mind.

Write at the same time every day. It is best to create this routine habit when you can be alone with your thoughts, without interruption. Put it on your calendar and set a reminder alarm. And then just do it.

When you write, don’t be overly concerned about what or how you’re writing.

Feel free to write your thoughts, even if they’re disjointed at the time. This is your escape, no one will review it for spelling errors or critique for how well it’s written.

Habits take at least 30 days, and many times longer, to become second nature. Be consistent in your writing. Even writing a line or two at a time helps to practice. You don’t have to write a full page in order to get the benefit of journaling.

Journals can be very specific. For example:

  • food,
  • health,
  • sleep, or
  • goal journals

Maybe you’re on a mission to lose weight. You’ll want to jot down everything that you ate during the day. In this journal you can also keep food’s calories, propose menus, add recipes that you’d like to try, count the number of glasses of water drank during the day, and record dates and weight.

There’s no set way to keep a journal. There are no rules in how your journal!

Let’s say that you are specifically keeping a food journal because you are focused on succeeding in your weight loss journey. You can still set aside a portion of your journal to write about other things. For example, how you feel when you eat certain foods or setting up a menu calendar.

Journal Prompts

There may be times when you are stuck in your writings.

A journal prompt will give you the inspiration that you’re looking for to push through your block.

Prompts are ideas to kickstart your writing. They are questions or statements that will give you ideas to write about.

Journaling prompts pages
Journal prompt pages

You can access journal prompt pages by signing up to receive email notifications when new posts are up on Dream. Explore. Discover You. You will also get a password that will provide you with entry into the Dream Life Toolkit. This is a free resource library full of guides, worksheets, and activities to help you discover the real you.

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2 Responses

  1. Kathy says:

    Excellent read

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks, Kathy! I appreciate the feedback!

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