How to build a journaling habit in 28 days

How to build a journaling habit in 28 days

I’ve always kept some sort of diary or journal, for as long as I can remember. When I was younger, my journals were mainly used for talking about what happened each day, which boy I liked, or letting off steam when something upset me.

As I’ve gotten older, journaling has become a much bigger part of my life and is one of my favorite ways to end the day.

Journaling is great for our mental health, our mood, organization, goals, and much more. It helps me organize my thoughts and keeps me calm when things don’t go as planned.

Perhaps you LOVE the idea of journaling every day but you can’t for the life of you make it into a regular habit.

In this article, I’m going to let you in on a few secrets…

How to start a journal and actually keep up the routine, so you can for once fill in one of the countless notebooks you’ve bought in hopes of finally starting a journal.

How to Start Journaling

The first steps to starting a journal are pretty simple. All you need is an empty notebook and your favorite pen. That’s it!

The hardest part is answering the question WHY.

Why do you want to start a journal? And what do you hope to accomplish by journaling?

A few reasons why you may want to start a journal could be that you want to…

Spark daily creativity

Work on your goals

Reduce your stress levels

Become a better writer

Have more clarity and become more organized

Increase your self-awareness

Improve your memory

The benefits of starting a journaling habit are endless. So, let your guard down and express yourself in an honest and carefree way.

How To Make Journaling A Habit

In order to gain the benefits from journaling, you can’t just write in your journal once in a while. You have to make it a priority.

Journaling has to be something that you do every day without thinking about it.

Start small, set journaling goals that are realistic for you. For example, try writing at least 2-3 times a week, for about 15-20 minutes at a time.

Pick a certain time of day for journaling. First thing in the morning or shortly before bed might be best so it’s separate from other daily tasks and distractions.

Make journaling a ritual in your everyday routine.

You can also add it to your daily to-do list or set a reminder on your phone to help you remember.

More tips to make journaling a habit:

Don’t worry about doing it the “right way” or making it look perfect. Your journal is for your eyes only, no one else.

Get creative and make your journal prettier with washi tape, stickers, pens and other fun planner supplies.

Try different types of journaling to figure out what works best for you.

Use prompts. Journaling prompts are a great way to overcome any potential writer’s block.

Have fun and just do it! 🙂

Before you go

I hope you’ve found these tips on how to start a journaling habit helpful. Let me know in the comments below what type of journal you’re using and how it’s going.

Here are a few more journaling posts you might like:

READY TO DIVE DEEPER INTO JOURNALING? CHECK OUT MY NEW COURSE…

How to build a journaling habit in 28 days

Journaling can be a daunting task for some, but I’ve done my best to take out all the complicated and overwhelming parts of journaling to make this course easy to understand.

Abundance Journaling! How to Write Your Dreams into Reality in Just Minutes a Day! focuses on creating a new habit so you can identify what you want to achieve in your dream life. We shouldn’t have to wait until retirement to live out our dreams.

Take that chance now to discover what’s important to you and create action steps to make those dreams a reality. Click the link to get started… ABUNDANCE JOURNALING

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How to build a journaling habit in 28 days

Story by

Georgina Ustik

Story by

Georgina Ustik

Georgina created Big Spam, and wants to see more inclusion in tech. Georgina created Big Spam, and wants to see more inclusion in tech.

Mental health problems are one of the leading causes of disease burden worldwide, and major depression is the second leading cause of disability globally, according to MentalHealth.org.uk . When it comes to quality of life, we’ve never had it better — yet so many of us still feel anxious, depressed, and burnt out.

Enter Jour, a journaling app that seeks to guide users through self-therapy. Through building a daily writing habit, Jour helps users with acceptance and empowerment through mindfulness.

We spoke with the app’s co-founder and CEO, Maxime Germain — and tried it out for ourselves.

Jour and mental health

Make invaluable connections

Connect with other high-level marketing leaders

The creators of Jour — which is both the French word for “day” and an abbreviation of “journaling” — didn’t come from a wellness or psychology background, but an entrepreneurial one. While one may think this makes them unqualified to create a wellness app, their backgrounds mean they’re acutely aware of how stress, anxiety, and burnout can affect well-being and work, especially when it’s exacerbated by technology.

Germain became an entrepreneur at the age of 19, when he moved from the small city of Le Mans, France, to New York City to start his first company. It was “quite a change,” he told TNW: “ Things took off with the business, but I quickly realized that I needed some guidance to manage stress and stay grounded — I didn’t know what it was called at the time but now I know it’s called mental health. I tried meditation, energy healing, yoga, acupuncture, therapy, and finally journaling.”

It was journaling, Germain says, which gave him the best results : “Since then, it’s helped me become not just a better entrepreneur, but a better person. I didn’t talk about it too much because it remained part of my personal life, not my professional one.”

Once Germain realized how common stress and anxiety was globally, the idea for Jour was born: “When you look at the numbers it’s clear there’s a global mental health crisis right now. More people than ever before — nearly one in five — have a diagnosable mental illness. My co-founders and I devoted ourselves to coming up with a way in which we could use our specific skills to have a positive impact on this mental health epidemic.”

As a free app, Jour is far more cost-effective than therapy and has a lower barrier of entry than meditation, which can be difficult to grasp. While it’s not a replacement for more serious forms of intervention, journaling is proven to have psychological and physical benefits, and the Jour team worked with mental health experts to develop its product.

“We landed on the idea of offering guided aides, created with expert input to benefit mental health. And this became Jour,” Germain told us.

So far, the app has organically accrued over 140,000 users since its public launch five months ago. Germain adds: “We’re on track to have millions of users within our first year. But we’ve only scratched the surface of what we can build for people to make their journaling experience as positive and rewarding as possible. We have a lot more in store.”

How does Jour work?

Once downloaded, the user is asked three questions:

  • How do I feel right now?
  • How did I feel today?
  • What feelings do I want to add to my life?

The user can then set a recurring notification for these questions, encouraging the user to have a mindfulness check-in at the same time each day.

How to build a journaling habit in 28 days

These questions act as the outline for the journal entries, which can each be revisited at a later time. You can connect your Jour app to Apple’s Health kit, so that your minutes spent journaling are recorded as “Mindful Minutes.” How to build a journaling habit in 28 days

Users can also try out “Journeys,” which are guided practices, including beginner tutorials on journaling, explorations of fear, practices on resolving conflict and letting go, and guides on overcoming anxiety as it strikes. Each journey also includes external links to resources and studies that can help add further information.

How to build a journaling habit in 28 days

The idea of putting their deepest thoughts into an app raises privacy concerns for many, just as the fear over someone else “reading their diary” is common.

Jour emphasizes that privacy is a top concern, and ensures that all entries are encrypted: “As they are signing up, all Jour users set both a password and a passphrase, which encrypts journal entries and is stored only locally on the user’s device. The passphrase decrypts entries for the journalers’ eyes only as the entries are returned from our server. This ensures that no one — not even a member of our team — will have access to any of our users’ journals… we can guarantee that we do not now sell any user data, nor do we have any intention to do so in the future,” Germain wrote in reply to a user’s concerns.

The app is simple and beautiful in design, and its notification system is pushy enough to help build a habit, without actually being annoying.

One of TNW’s writers, Cara Curtis, says the app is a great way to keep perspective: “I’ve been using Jour for a few months now to reflect in a couple of sentences of my day-to-day life, even if it is a bit mundane sometimes. Even looking back to May is interesting to see what my worries were and to remember how consuming they were then, because now, they’ve disappeared. It’s a nice reminder that what you are worrying about today probably won’t bother you forever.”

Jour for good

The Jour team is currently working on the next iteration. Germain mentions new features such as “audio guides, smart journaling experiences, and shared journals that you can complete alongside a partner or loved one.”

But, he tells us, Jour is about “something bigger” than just journaling: “We’re looking to make digital technology a positive force in people’s lives.”

You can try Jour out for yourself on iOS here , and it’ll be launching on Android soon. Maxime Germain is also joining us on TNW Answers this Wednesday, July 24. He’ll be taking all your questions on Jour, mental health, journaling, and technology for good. Send them in now!

February is often coined the romance month. I change my whole house into a romantic theme for the month of February and I focus on the romantic aspect of my life. It is an important aspect of my life because when I’m happy in my love relationship, the rest of my life goes much more smoothly. I know I have support, I’m less stressed, I’m more confident, and I just feel happier in general. That’s why my romantic relationship is the biggest priority in my life. I take the time to focus on it and work on it as often as possible. One of the ways to do that is through journal prompts. If you are in a relationship, I challenge you to do 28 days of journal prompts for this romantic month and take a closer look at your relationship and what you want out of it.

5 Reasons To Focus On Journal Prompts For Romance

How to build a journaling habit in 28 days

1. Journaling From Journal Prompts Helps You Dig Deeper Into Specific Areas

Sure, you can journal about your relationship, but you will likely find yourself writing about what you wish would happen or what has happened in your relationship.

With journal prompts, you will inspect a specific aspect of yourself or your relationship, and you will start to realize what’s not working and what you need to do in order to make it work. It’s not just about complaining and venting, it’s about putting some thought on what is happening and what you can do to make things better.

2. Nobody Holds The Key To Your Relationship But You

Relationships take work… from the people inside of them. If you don’t put in the work, you don’t get paid – so to speak.

You can see this if you look around. That person who would rather watch TV or play video games than spend quality time with their partner likely has a very unhappy partner. Their relationship is not as strong as it could be. And, as time goes on, they will either accept that a crappy relationship is a part of life or they will separate. Nobody has the power to create a strong relationship (or a weak one) but them.

When you take a month to reflect on your romantic relationship, you are putting in some work. More than that, you are building a daily habit of putting in some work in your relationship, and that will benefit it – guaranteed.

3. You Will Be Taking A Look At Important Areas That Experts Often Encourage You To Look At

All of the journal prompts included in the list below come directly from articles meant to help you improve your relationship and tackle big problems that may be coming up.

While you reflect on the prompt, you may discover issues that you were not even aware were present in your relationship. These issues – and the solutions you come up with – can have the power to change your romantic relationship around and drive it in a new direction where fulfillment and happiness is.

4. You Will Come Up With A Game Plan Moving Forward

At the end of the 28 days, you are going to have a pretty solid game plan for what you want to achieve in your relationship. You will have identified habits that you need to build, problems that you need to fix, and the issues that you need to prevent.

If you have taken the Lifebook quest, you will know how important this deep dive is. As Jon Butcher says, most people never do this kind of work, and they suffer because of it.

By spending 28 days focused on your relationship and your part in it, you are going to do more work than most of the people out there and, therefore, greatly improving the chances of a long-lasting and successful relationship.

5. You Will Have Something To Review And Build Upon For Later

After your 28 days are done, you will have 28 pages (at least) to review later on and build upon when needed. That’s why I recommend you start a new journal for this challenge, one where you devote solely to prompts and thoughts about your relationship.

Moving forward you can add pages on further thoughts, habits you want to implement, or other notes. But, you will always be able to look back and see where you started and what you truly believed and felt was important.

This journal could be something that saves your relationship in the future, or it could just be something that helps you gauge how far you’ve come.

28 Journal Prompts To Use For Your Romance Month

As said, all of these journal prompts are focused on ideas discussed in articles that focus on healing or improving your romantic relationship. They will help you see your relationship differently, yourself in your relationship differently, and your partner in your relationship differently. They can help you discover things you were not aware of, and they can help you discover relationship habits that you need to get rid of and some that you need to build. Each day, focus on a new prompt and be as honest as you can allow yourself to be. That’s the best way to get good results from this challenge.

  1. Am I making my relationship a priority?
  2. Do I spend enough quality time with my partner?
  3. How can I improve communication in our relationship?
  4. What do I see in other relationships that I feel is missing in mine?
  5. How can I make my partner feel more loved?
  6. How can I show my love more?
  7. What relationship habits do I want to develop?
  8. Do I take time to listen to my partner and understand where they are coming from?
  9. Do I give my partner enough space to be their own person?
  10. Is there a need that I’m not fulfilling for my partner?
  11. Do I follow through with my promises to my partner?
  12. Am I my partner’s biggest fan?
  13. What attracted me to my partner in this first place?
  14. What things used to be cute about your partner that are now annoying. Can they be cute again?
  15. How often do I show my gratitude for my partner?
  16. What do I believe about healthy relationships?
  17. Where do I see our relationship in 20 years?
  18. What do I need to do to help us move towards my vision from yesterday?
  19. Do I treat my partner unfairly? If yes, how can I stop that?
  20. Do I know myself enough to help my partner understand what I want?
  21. Do we fight fairly?
  22. Do I take the time to get to know my partner?
  23. How do I make my partner’s life easier?
  24. What are our love routines and habits?
  25. Is there anyone who treats my partner better than I do?
  26. Do I treat my partner better through text than in person?
  27. Do I let my partner vent?
  28. What new experiences am I having/could I have with my partner?

February is often coined the romance month. I change my whole house into a romantic theme for the month of February and I focus on the romantic aspect of my life. It is an important aspect of my life because when I’m happy in my love relationship, the rest of my life goes much more smoothly. I know I have support, I’m less stressed, I’m more confident, and I just feel happier in general. That’s why my romantic relationship is the biggest priority in my life. I take the time to focus on it and work on it as often as possible. One of the ways to do that is through journal prompts. If you are in a relationship, I challenge you to do 28 days of journal prompts for this romantic month and take a closer look at your relationship and what you want out of it.

5 Reasons To Focus On Journal Prompts For Romance

How to build a journaling habit in 28 days

1. Journaling From Journal Prompts Helps You Dig Deeper Into Specific Areas

Sure, you can journal about your relationship, but you will likely find yourself writing about what you wish would happen or what has happened in your relationship.

With journal prompts, you will inspect a specific aspect of yourself or your relationship, and you will start to realize what’s not working and what you need to do in order to make it work. It’s not just about complaining and venting, it’s about putting some thought on what is happening and what you can do to make things better.

2. Nobody Holds The Key To Your Relationship But You

Relationships take work… from the people inside of them. If you don’t put in the work, you don’t get paid – so to speak.

You can see this if you look around. That person who would rather watch TV or play video games than spend quality time with their partner likely has a very unhappy partner. Their relationship is not as strong as it could be. And, as time goes on, they will either accept that a crappy relationship is a part of life or they will separate. Nobody has the power to create a strong relationship (or a weak one) but them.

When you take a month to reflect on your romantic relationship, you are putting in some work. More than that, you are building a daily habit of putting in some work in your relationship, and that will benefit it – guaranteed.

3. You Will Be Taking A Look At Important Areas That Experts Often Encourage You To Look At

All of the journal prompts included in the list below come directly from articles meant to help you improve your relationship and tackle big problems that may be coming up.

While you reflect on the prompt, you may discover issues that you were not even aware were present in your relationship. These issues – and the solutions you come up with – can have the power to change your romantic relationship around and drive it in a new direction where fulfillment and happiness is.

4. You Will Come Up With A Game Plan Moving Forward

At the end of the 28 days, you are going to have a pretty solid game plan for what you want to achieve in your relationship. You will have identified habits that you need to build, problems that you need to fix, and the issues that you need to prevent.

If you have taken the Lifebook quest, you will know how important this deep dive is. As Jon Butcher says, most people never do this kind of work, and they suffer because of it.

By spending 28 days focused on your relationship and your part in it, you are going to do more work than most of the people out there and, therefore, greatly improving the chances of a long-lasting and successful relationship.

5. You Will Have Something To Review And Build Upon For Later

After your 28 days are done, you will have 28 pages (at least) to review later on and build upon when needed. That’s why I recommend you start a new journal for this challenge, one where you devote solely to prompts and thoughts about your relationship.

Moving forward you can add pages on further thoughts, habits you want to implement, or other notes. But, you will always be able to look back and see where you started and what you truly believed and felt was important.

This journal could be something that saves your relationship in the future, or it could just be something that helps you gauge how far you’ve come.

28 Journal Prompts To Use For Your Romance Month

As said, all of these journal prompts are focused on ideas discussed in articles that focus on healing or improving your romantic relationship. They will help you see your relationship differently, yourself in your relationship differently, and your partner in your relationship differently. They can help you discover things you were not aware of, and they can help you discover relationship habits that you need to get rid of and some that you need to build. Each day, focus on a new prompt and be as honest as you can allow yourself to be. That’s the best way to get good results from this challenge.

  1. Am I making my relationship a priority?
  2. Do I spend enough quality time with my partner?
  3. How can I improve communication in our relationship?
  4. What do I see in other relationships that I feel is missing in mine?
  5. How can I make my partner feel more loved?
  6. How can I show my love more?
  7. What relationship habits do I want to develop?
  8. Do I take time to listen to my partner and understand where they are coming from?
  9. Do I give my partner enough space to be their own person?
  10. Is there a need that I’m not fulfilling for my partner?
  11. Do I follow through with my promises to my partner?
  12. Am I my partner’s biggest fan?
  13. What attracted me to my partner in this first place?
  14. What things used to be cute about your partner that are now annoying. Can they be cute again?
  15. How often do I show my gratitude for my partner?
  16. What do I believe about healthy relationships?
  17. Where do I see our relationship in 20 years?
  18. What do I need to do to help us move towards my vision from yesterday?
  19. Do I treat my partner unfairly? If yes, how can I stop that?
  20. Do I know myself enough to help my partner understand what I want?
  21. Do we fight fairly?
  22. Do I take the time to get to know my partner?
  23. How do I make my partner’s life easier?
  24. What are our love routines and habits?
  25. Is there anyone who treats my partner better than I do?
  26. Do I treat my partner better through text than in person?
  27. Do I let my partner vent?
  28. What new experiences am I having/could I have with my partner?

How to build a journaling habit in 28 days

Just open any given site that publishes articles on personal growth, and you will find at least one article that says: Why Keeping A Journal Will Change Your Life. A journal is truly one of the best self-improvement tools there is.

When I talk to friends, or when I coach people, I always ask: “Do you keep a journal?”

This probably won’t surprise you, but the answer is almost always “No.”

And the funny thing is that everyone knows that they should keep one. But it should is not enough. There are a lot of things that we should do—but we don’t do them.

Why? We have no idea HOW to do them. It’s just like when you were in school. Do you remember all those times you had a question on your mind but you didn’t ask? You probably thought: “Maybe the teacher thinks I’m dumb.”

Well, this is exactly the same. We all think that journaling is easy so we don’t bother asking how you do it. It’s not easy, but it’s also not rocket science.

Most people overcomplicate the act of journaling or putting your thoughts on paper. I think Ernest Hemingway put it best:

“My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way.”

But how do you do that?

How to build a journaling habit in 28 days

First, get clear on your why

For me, there’s only one reason to keep a journal: To manage myself.

That’s the only practical reason I can think of. Why else would you keep a journal? It’s not that my life is so interesting that I can ever sell it as a memoir. I’m no John Krakauer or Maya Angelou.

No, I see journaling as a self-improvement tool. Nothing else.

Most of us still see journaling as a hobby or something that we do for fun or to relax. Sure, those reasons might be true for some. But for most, there’s only one why: Self-improvement.

How do you expect to improve yourself if you don’t know yourself? You truly get to know the quality of your thoughts when you write them down.

  • Do you know how good of a thinker you are?
  • Do your decisions make sense?
  • How do you even make decisions?
  • Why do you do what you do?
  • When are you productive?
  • When are you not productive?

You can answer all these questions by reading your journal. Don’t know what to write? Here are 3 ideas.

1. Journal about your activities

Just write what you’ve been doing. You can either do it in the morning or evening.

It doesn’t matter when you do, just try to write about what you’ve done during the past 24 hours. It’s not the same as an activity log, something I wrote about recently.

When I journal about my activities, I record what time I went to bed, what time I woke up, what I worked on, who I talked to, what book I read, etc.

When I lack inspiration or motivation, I just go through my journal and see when I was inspired, felt energized, or motivated. Then, I recreate those events. Here are a few journaling prompts you can ask yourself to get started:

  • What time did you wake up today?
  • What was the first thing you did?
  • What did you have for breakfast?
  • How did you feel during the morning?
  • What did you work on today? How did it go?
  • What book are you reading? What do you think about it?

These are all straightforward questions we can all ask ourselves. We all woke up today, ate something, etc. Writing about these activities will get you started. And that’s one of the most important things about journaling.

“Don’t trust your memory. When you listen to something valuable, write it down. When you come across something important, write it down.” — Jim Rohn

2. Journal about what scares you

There’s no better way to address your worries than writing about them. If you worry about something, it seems way worse in your head.

When you start writing down what you’re stressed about, you can start thinking about how you’re going to solve the problem that’s causing you stress in the first place.

I’ve been journaling about my fears for a long time now. And it truly helps. If you want to read more about that process, check out this article I wrote a while back. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself:

  • What something that’s lingering in your mind?
  • Why does that thing make you feel uncomfortable?
  • What did you worry about today?
  • What can you do to address your worries?

The point of journaling about what scares you is to think on paper. Often, we worry about things we have no control over. When we only think about it, we don’t realize that we’re wasting our time. But when you write about what worries you, it becomes very obvious.

Ultimately, you want to create a plan to address your worries. Let’s say you’re worried about your financial situation. Think about all the ways you can generate extra income. Put all your ideas on paper and then start working on them.

“The act of writing is the act of discovering what you believe.” — David Hare

How to build a journaling habit in 28 days

3. Journal about your decisions

Use your journal as a feedback mechanism by second-guessing your own decisions. Making decisions is hard. For example:

  • “Should I quit my job?”
  • “Should I take this job?”
  • “Should I end my relationship?”

Those are examples of big decisions. But you can also use it for all the small decisions in life.

  • “Should I go out tonight or should I work on my business?”
  • “Does this UX design work or not?”

Deep down, we kind of know the answers. We just don’t look deep enough. Ask yourself a question and try to answer it by reasoning from multiple sides. What are the pros? What are the cons? What are the outcomes?

The questions you can ask yourself are endless. There you have it. Do you see? It’s not complicated stuff.

Journaling is a very versatile tool. It helps you with your self-awareness, and it also helps you to improve yourself. If you’re serious about those things, a journal is a must.

Now, all you have to do is open a new page in your physical journal, or a document in your digital journal, and start writing:

“Today is the first day of my daily journaling habit.”

There’s this weird thing—when you write things down, they become real. Start journaling and see it for yourself.

How to build a journaling habit in 28 days

Today is Day 28 of the 28 Days NessLabs blogging challenge.

I can’t believe that I did just that – publish every day for 28 days. It’s pretty surreal thinking about what I achieved. I’d like to share some of the things I experienced and learnt from doing this challenge.

Writing 28 days in a row

Do it with someone. I asked a fellow NessLabs member, Sourav, for his help to keep me accountable to this challenge, and I’d say it’s the main reason I managed to write every day. Some days I feel tired and can’t be arsed to write, but knowing that someone is doing the same thing and is expecting me to pull my weight pushed me to write even when things get tough. I think you can do the same principle for anything you’re pursuing.

Do you want to run more? Run with a friend. Do you want to study more? Ask someone to study the same topics as you or study with them. Do you want to read more? Read with someone.

Have a note-taking system. Most of the articles I wrote are a remix of my notes. Whenever you’re reading, listening, or having conversations, capture the best ideas into a note-taking app. Use these notes to create an outline of your article, and you’ll be surprised how easy it is to write. Goodbye, writer’s block! It doesn’t matter how you take the note; what matters is that you take it. My notes have also surprised me whenever I search through them while doing research.

Block time for it. I try to schedule some writing time every day, even if it’s just 30 minutes. Pick a time where you can write, and stick to it. Inspiration doesn’t come randomly. It comes when you sit down and put your brain through the wringer.

Start with easy wins. My first essays were relatively easy to write. They were curations or things that are already 80% done because I’ve done most of the research. I started writing these essays first because I wanted easy wins as momentum to keep me going. Had I chosen something challenging for my first few essays, I would’ve been demotivated by how hard it is and stopped in a week. The feeling of success helped push me when the tough gets going.

Thoughts on writing daily

I didn’t like writing daily. It was hard. There were some days where I have no idea what to write. There were some days where I was busy with other commitments in life. However, I told myself just to show up and forget perfection.

Most of the essays I wrote were crap. I didn’t like the quality of some of them, and I could only spend 1-2 hours on each. Because I didn’t have much time, I skipped some of the steps like editing and getting feedback from others, which significantly diminished my articles’ quality. However, I told myself that quantity is the only way to get to quality. If I wrote 28 bad essays, surely 1 or 2 of them are golden.

If I were to do this challenge again in the future, I’d probably do it when I have nothing else going on so I can spend 8-10 hours writing quality articles.

Consistency is the way forward. Publishing daily might not be the cadence that works for me, but I’ll figure a schedule that optimises quality as well as quantity. I’m used to writing 1 article weekly, but I might ramp it up to 2 articles weekly in the future.

I should learn how to distribute my articles. I write every day, but it feels like writing into the void at times. I should spend more time distributing my articles instead of just writing them and not sharing them. I’ve read something that resonates with me about sharing your articles: If you’re writing it and not sharing it, you’re writing in a diary, not a blog.

My main reason for writing daily was to develop a writing habit. I’m not aiming for quality here, but aiming for quantity. Now that I’ve proven to myself that I can write every day, I’m reinforcing my identity as a writer.

How to build a journaling habit in 28 days

“The more light you allow within you, the brighter the world you live in will be.”

Keeping a journal has many positive benefits. Journaling can help with personal growth and development. By regularly recording your thoughts you will gain insight into your behaviors and moods.

Journaling can be used for problem-solving and stress reduction. It’s been proven to improve mental and physical health. It can lead to increased self-esteem.

Dr. John Grohol, CEO of Psych Central, estimates that one in three people suffer from a mental illness. Anxiety disorders, mood disorders and substance abuse can be treated with a combination of medication and counseling.

In addition, writing in a journal is an effective tool for use in the healing process.

I started keeping a diary at age 8. As I grew up, I wrote the normal kinds of teen angst entries but eventually I turned journaling into a more sophisticated practice. In my 20’s I read all of Anais Nin’s Diaries.

I studied Ira Progoff’s At a Journal Workshop and implemented his methods—an elaborate design for generating the energy for change. Using his methods I was able to sort through turbulent emotions during the divorce from my first husband and discover hidden lessons from the experience.

To this day I continue to use some of his techniques as well as others I’ve learned. Recently I’ve discovered a new creative world in art journaling. Using mixed media has helped me express myself in refreshing and unusual ways.

There is a lot of power in the written word but occasionally words are hard to find. By drawing or making a collage I have been able to create a representation of how I feel that moves beyond my analytical writing.

Writing has helped me to process not only failed relationships but also to recover from grief and loss.

Reading back through my journals has helped me reflect on where I used to be and where I am now in my life. It’s a method of allowing the light of understanding and compassion to shine on my past.

In The Artist’s Way Julia Cameron suggests writing three handwritten pages or 750 words every morning. At first there is a lot of “dumping” but eventually little jewels of wisdom and direction emerge. I found myself creatively energized when I participated with a group for 12 weeks using her book as a guide.

If you want to improve your perspective on life and clarify issues, start writing in a journal.

You can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you are. Be sure your journal will remain private or write online so that you are writing for your eyes only.

Here are 10 tips to get started:

1. Start writing about where you are in your life at this moment.

Describe your living situation, your work, and your relationships. Are you right where you want to be?

2. For five to ten minutes just start writing in a “stream of consciousness.”

Don’t edit your thoughts or feelings and don’t correct your grammar. Don’t censor your thoughts.

3. Start a dialogue with your inner child by writing in your subdominant hand.

Answer with your dominant hand. What issues emerge?

4. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude by maintaining a daily list of things you appreciate, including uplifting quotes.

Keep it in one journal or in a separate section so that you can read through it all at once. When you feel down you can read through it for a boost of gratitude and happiness.

5. Start a journal of self-portraits.

You can take pictures, draw colors or shapes or collage images. Learn to love and accept yourself just the way you are today.

6. Keep a nature diary to connect with the natural world.

The world we live in is a magical and mysterious place. Record the things you notice about the sky, the weather, and the seasons.

7. Maintain a log of successes.

Begin by writing the big ones you remember then regularly jot down small successes that occur during the week. As you pay attention, your list will grow and inspire you.

8. Keep a log or playlist of your favorite songs.

Write about the moods they evoke. When you hear a song that triggers a strong memory, write down how you feel and explore that time and space of your life.

9. If there’s something you are struggling with or an event that’s disturbing you, write about it in the third person.

This will give you distance and provide a new perspective. Write down what you learned about yourself.

10. Develop your intuition.

Write down questions or concerns then take a deep breath and listen for a response from your Higher Self. Let yourself write automatically. If you don’t get an answer right away, look for signs during the day.

We all have dark days, black moods, and anxious feelings. Use writing in a journal to explore the darkness. You will find your inner light when you do.

How to build a journaling habit in 28 days

About C. Loran Hills

Loran is a travel guide on the spiral journey of life. Her business, Loran’s Heart, is filled with journaling prompts, nature photographs, and inspirational products to help you grow and develop spiritually. Her e-course, The Seeker’s Journey, will take you on the quest to discover and manifest your inner truth.

How to build a journaling habit in 28 days

“The more light you allow within you, the brighter the world you live in will be.”

Keeping a journal has many positive benefits. Journaling can help with personal growth and development. By regularly recording your thoughts you will gain insight into your behaviors and moods.

Journaling can be used for problem-solving and stress reduction. It’s been proven to improve mental and physical health. It can lead to increased self-esteem.

Dr. John Grohol, CEO of Psych Central, estimates that one in three people suffer from a mental illness. Anxiety disorders, mood disorders and substance abuse can be treated with a combination of medication and counseling.

In addition, writing in a journal is an effective tool for use in the healing process.

I started keeping a diary at age 8. As I grew up, I wrote the normal kinds of teen angst entries but eventually I turned journaling into a more sophisticated practice. In my 20’s I read all of Anais Nin’s Diaries.

I studied Ira Progoff’s At a Journal Workshop and implemented his methods—an elaborate design for generating the energy for change. Using his methods I was able to sort through turbulent emotions during the divorce from my first husband and discover hidden lessons from the experience.

To this day I continue to use some of his techniques as well as others I’ve learned. Recently I’ve discovered a new creative world in art journaling. Using mixed media has helped me express myself in refreshing and unusual ways.

There is a lot of power in the written word but occasionally words are hard to find. By drawing or making a collage I have been able to create a representation of how I feel that moves beyond my analytical writing.

Writing has helped me to process not only failed relationships but also to recover from grief and loss.

Reading back through my journals has helped me reflect on where I used to be and where I am now in my life. It’s a method of allowing the light of understanding and compassion to shine on my past.

In The Artist’s Way Julia Cameron suggests writing three handwritten pages or 750 words every morning. At first there is a lot of “dumping” but eventually little jewels of wisdom and direction emerge. I found myself creatively energized when I participated with a group for 12 weeks using her book as a guide.

If you want to improve your perspective on life and clarify issues, start writing in a journal.

You can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you are. Be sure your journal will remain private or write online so that you are writing for your eyes only.

Here are 10 tips to get started:

1. Start writing about where you are in your life at this moment.

Describe your living situation, your work, and your relationships. Are you right where you want to be?

2. For five to ten minutes just start writing in a “stream of consciousness.”

Don’t edit your thoughts or feelings and don’t correct your grammar. Don’t censor your thoughts.

3. Start a dialogue with your inner child by writing in your subdominant hand.

Answer with your dominant hand. What issues emerge?

4. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude by maintaining a daily list of things you appreciate, including uplifting quotes.

Keep it in one journal or in a separate section so that you can read through it all at once. When you feel down you can read through it for a boost of gratitude and happiness.

5. Start a journal of self-portraits.

You can take pictures, draw colors or shapes or collage images. Learn to love and accept yourself just the way you are today.

6. Keep a nature diary to connect with the natural world.

The world we live in is a magical and mysterious place. Record the things you notice about the sky, the weather, and the seasons.

7. Maintain a log of successes.

Begin by writing the big ones you remember then regularly jot down small successes that occur during the week. As you pay attention, your list will grow and inspire you.

8. Keep a log or playlist of your favorite songs.

Write about the moods they evoke. When you hear a song that triggers a strong memory, write down how you feel and explore that time and space of your life.

9. If there’s something you are struggling with or an event that’s disturbing you, write about it in the third person.

This will give you distance and provide a new perspective. Write down what you learned about yourself.

10. Develop your intuition.

Write down questions or concerns then take a deep breath and listen for a response from your Higher Self. Let yourself write automatically. If you don’t get an answer right away, look for signs during the day.

We all have dark days, black moods, and anxious feelings. Use writing in a journal to explore the darkness. You will find your inner light when you do.

How to build a journaling habit in 28 days

About C. Loran Hills

Loran is a travel guide on the spiral journey of life. Her business, Loran’s Heart, is filled with journaling prompts, nature photographs, and inspirational products to help you grow and develop spiritually. Her e-course, The Seeker’s Journey, will take you on the quest to discover and manifest your inner truth.

University College London, London, UK

Cancer Research UK Health Behaviour Research Centre, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT, UK.Search for more papers by this author

University College London, London, UK

University College London, London, UK

University College London, London, UK

University College London, London, UK

Cancer Research UK Health Behaviour Research Centre, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT, UK.Search for more papers by this author

University College London, London, UK

University College London, London, UK

University College London, London, UK

This research was conducted by Phillippa Lally when she held a Medical Research Council PhD studentship and has been written up during an Economic and Social Research Council postdoctoral fellowship.

Abstract