5 Tips to Start Journaling

This post originally appeared on my daily journal prompt website a few years ago called Daily Aspire.

Journaling has been a game changer for me. While most of the time, I choose to follow a gratitude journaling practice, I do also break out my notebook just to work through the thoughts in my head, document certain things, or try to figure out what I’m feeling.

Whether or not you are new to journaling, starting a new habit can be tricky. I totally get it. We are really excited before it all begins so those first few days (maybe even weeks) we stick with it, the adrenaline just carries us through. Then it starts to fade, we find ourselves busy and making excuses and next thing you know, it’s been two weeks and we haven’t even thought about it.

I find this to be true regardless of the healthy habit we’re trying to create – journaling, meditation, yoga, exercise, meal prep, etc. I think you get the picture. But I want this to be different. I want this to be a habit you can maintain. As such, I’ve pulled together five of my top tips for creating a consistent journaling habit. Ready?

1 – Start with 5-10 minutes

This may not seem like much but if you try to schedule out anything more than that (especially in the beginning), it’s going to feel like a burden which is the last thing we want. Start small and as you feel necessary, add to it. I recommend setting a timer. I promise it will go by much quicker than you think.

2 – Get a new notebook & pen

It’s possible I’m the only one who gets excited about new school or office supplies, but this new notebook and/or pen could be just the thing you need! This isn’t to say you can’t do your journaling on an electronic device but to me, there’s something even more personal about opening up a notebook and writing out those words by hand.

3 – Find your spot

Make sure it’s quiet, comfortable and inspirational. This may mean you need to do your journaling in the morning before anyone is up or at night after the kids go to bed. It doesn’t matter to me when you do it, just so long as you are getting that time for yourself so you can really look inward.

4 – Don’t worry about grammar

Bad grammar and terrible spelling is a major pet peeve of mine. It’s not to say I don’t ever fall victim (I’m human, after all) but when it comes to journaling, no one is going to be reading this, except maybe you 20 years down the road, so don’t worry about the spelling and grammar being perfect. If you focus too much on that, you’ll lose sight of what your feeling. Let it go and just write.

5 – Enjoy it

Seriously, this is supposed to be fun! Of course, there will be days when the words aren’t flowing and you get frustrated, or maybe the prompt is hitting really close to home and you can’t help but shed a few tears. I get it and I promise, that’s normal. But while all of this is happening, I hope you also find it enjoyable.

Do you journal? What are some of your trips to make it a habit and start journaling?


12 thoughts on “5 Tips to Start Journaling”

  1. Great post, Katie! And I love the suggestion of getting a new pen/planner—it’s like buying workout clothes to motivate you to go back to the gym. It works (at least, for me it does!). I’m trying to get back into journaling. I have a planner that I really liked towards the beginning of the year, but now I find myself using it less and less. Scheduling time for it and dedicating a quiet space are great suggestions!

    1. Yes, it’s totally like the new workout clothes thing! I love my workouts and stay pretty motivated but a new pair of yoga pants never hurt anyone. 😉

  2. Such great tips! I think starting with 5-10 minutes is a great goal. When I worked in youth ministry and we went on a mission trip, the kids started their day with journaling and I remember we gave them like ten minutes and it seemed like a good amount! And double yes to the new notebook and pens! It definitely does fuel the fire a bit!

  3. Great tips – I especially like the new notebook and pen part! I’m a serious stationery addict!
    I find using a planner or diary easier than a journal but I need to make use of the journal I bought.

    1. I always loved fresh school supplies at the start of the year so it’s no wonder a new journal works for me!

  4. Great tips for sure. I used to journal all the time, sharing the things that happened in my life and the world around me. I still have these tucked in a drawer and I randomly look through them sometimes which is fun. I haven’t journaled in forever though – it got to a point where I can’t really hand-write for very long at all without my wrists starting to hurt. I think I just got away from taking notes in school, etc. and did more writing online so it agitates me when I try, which is a bummer.


    1. Just pick it up and write ONE time. Then don’t feel bad if it doesn’t happen again for a week, but just try to start adding it into your routine or figuring out where it fits.

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