How to Start Journaling in 2024

Start your year off right by committing to journaling this year.

coffee and a journal

Journaling is a powerful tool for self-discovery, stress relief, and creativity. It can help you to better understand your thoughts and feelings, track your progress towards goals, and simply get things off your chest. If you’re new to journaling, it can be daunting to know where to start—and how do you fit it in to your already hectic schedule? We are expert journalers, so here are a few tips to help you start journaling.

Tip 1: Choose your favorite format.

woman sitting on sofa while looking at phone with laptop on lap

When trying to start journaling, sometimes people get attached to the idea of having a physical journal and writing by hand—when that really doesn’t fit their lifestyle. Although we love physical journals, there are many different ways you can start journaling. You can keep a virtual journal on your phone or computer. You don’t need any fancy digital software either—sometimes a notes app journal works just as well. Or what about a voice note journal that gets auto-transcribed? If physical journaling isn’t working out for you, give one of these other formats a try.

Tip 2: Experiment with different types of journaling.

A woman on a bed start journaling.

Journaling isn’t only diary-writing—it’s evolved! There are many different types of journals you can keep, so take some time to find a style that you like. You might hate gratitude journaling and think guided journals are corny. You might hate the feeling of writing a diary and prefer answering pre-written prompts. Try a few different types of journaling to figure out what works for you and what you get the most benefit from.

Tip 3: Start Journaling at the same time every day.

Maybe you have time during a lunch break, in the early morning, or after work. Treat journaling as a habit to cultivate and add to your existing routines. My routine is a fresh cup of coffee with my journal in the morning, but I’ve also journaled at night, right before bed. Experiment with different times of day to see what feels best for you. You should also find a place where you can relax and focus on your writing—maybe put on some calming music.

A woman journaling on a bed

Tip 4: Start journaling—micro-journaling.

A woman journaling on some random roof.

Ignore that last tip about journaling at the same time every day (you’re experimenting!) If you can’t seem to get a routine going, try to start journaling for short bursts in between tasks or activities—while you’re waiting for the bus, during the dead space between meetings, or during a commercial break—any time you might usually scroll on social media. Even if it’s just a few sentences about what you’re feeling or doing, it helps you get in the habit and is a short burst of mindfulness throughout the day.

Tip 5: Don’t worry about making sense or making your high-school English teacher proud.

an English grammar textbook

Grammar? Spelling? Run-on sentences that go nowhere where you switch thoughts halfway through? Who cares! Journaling is for you and you alone–don’t worry about mistakes. Just write whatever comes to mind, even if what is coming to mind is unintelligible gibberish.

Tip 6: Don’t read what you’ve written.

This will help you to be more honest and open in your writing, as well as relieving any negative-self talk about what you write. I almost rarely ever go back to read what I wrote—the value is in getting it out of my brain the first time.

Tip 7: Use prompts if you need inspiration.

There are many different journaling prompts available online and in books. These prompts can help you to get started, and they can also help you to explore new areas of your life. Try a guided journal, or search online for journal prompts. You can search for journals and prompts specific to what’s on your mind, for example, our dating journal.

Keep Going!

It may take some time to get into the habit of journaling, but it’s worth it. Starting journaling can be a truly life-changing experience, and I hope these tips help you to start your journaling journey. Happy writing!

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