Whether you’re doing it for self-reflection, recordkeeping, or even just to pass the time, journaling can provide an incredible sense of relief you may not find elsewhere. Here’s how to get started with journaling, as well as five different methods to try.

By Megan Fu
March 26, 2018

Journaling can be important for documenting the inner workings of your mind, or cataloging the events and emotions you experience every day. But it can also be very difficult to keep up with, making what should be an enjoyable pastime a hassle. So, in order to gain all the benefits, it's important to find a journaling method that works for you. Here, a few tips and tricks to get you started:

1. Get the right notebook (and writing utensil): The notebook is everything. Think of it this way: In an ideal world, this is something you will be writing in and interacting with every single day. You might as well make it something you enjoy looking at and working with. Do your research and think about what is important to you when it comes to a great notebook. Design? Size? Cover? Color? Paper? No detail is too small. If you need a place to start, check out options from MoleskinePoketo, Muji, and &otherstories. While you’re at it, find a writing utensil, too. Pen, pencil, marker, or crayon—it’s all up to you!

2. Choose a time (and a place): Once you’ve picked out a notebook and a pen, you may want to choose a specific time of day to journal. Structure, especially early on, can help transform journaling into a routine rather than an occasional activity. Maybe you want to journal in the evening, giving yourself a chance to reflect on the day. Maybe you’d prefer the morning to mentally and emotionally sort out what lies ahead. Or perhaps you want to do it smack dab in the middle of the day to give yourself a break from the bustle of life. If you’re entirely new to the journaling lifestyle, it might be helpful to try a few different times to feel out what works best with your schedule and mindset. It also can be helpful to set an amount of time you would like to journal for. Ten minutes? Twenty? Start small and go from there. Just remember: Journaling should not feel like a chore.

Now that you’ve picked out a journal and scheduled your routine, now it’s time to explore your journaling options. Of course, you can mix and match different methods, topics, and approaches, but consistency might make getting in the swing of things a little easier.

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