Do you get excited to start writing in a new journal only to find it sitting untouched a month later? Are you intimidated by the blank pages, or just don’t know where to start? Has the fear of others reading your journal stopped you from writing?
Those are a couple reasons people stop journaling before they even start. The way you choose to look at journaling makes all the difference in how you use this tool in your life. Working on shifting your mindset around what journaling means to you can give you a new perspective. Some of the mindset blocks that may keep you from journaling could be…
Journaling takes too much time.
I have nothing significant to write.
My handwriting is ugly, my paragraphs don’t flow, and I can’t spell.
What if I told you that you had the power to make journaling work for you? You can create your own style of journaling, because there is NO wrong way. Deciding to journal is just as personal as what you write when you journal. Here are a few ways to help shift this journaling mindset.
I encourage you to explore why you want to journal. Do you want clarity around a problem? Are you going to journal for memory keeping? Do you need a space to unload the swirling thoughts?
Once you have your why then decide on how you want to journal. Do you want to have pages of only writing or leave some space for photos and collages? Do you want to have places to doodle and draw or even paint in your journal? Defining your own journaling experience is the first step to creating a journaling practice you will look forward to and enjoy.
Release the expectations of perfection. No need to have every page pretty with perfect handwriting. Some days you may just want to pick one word to write, and that is good enough. It is refreshing to turn the page for a fresh start.
Do not set yourself up to feel like you are failing if you miss a day, week or even month. Keeping things simple and doable for your season in life is huge. You may not be able to write 3 pages every day, but writing one thought at least 3 days a week could be a more realistic journaling approach for you. When your season changes you may want to work on increasing your consistency. There is some truth in creating a consistent journaling practice to get the most out of the experience, but I encourage you to create your own consistency. Define it for yourself, for your season right now.
Find a guided journal to help you start with a topic and reduce the fear of the blank page. Some guided journals have art work and coloring pages included which is fun to have in your journal to get the creative juices moving. Some topics like traveling or gratitude are also good ways to start.
Using prompt questions or creating lists is another way to get writing. Start out answering a prompt or list and you may find you are thinking of something else completely. Allow yourself to dive deeper into a feeling that it brought up instead of answering the prompt or making that list. Give yourself the freedom to wander off topic if your thoughts go that way. Honor your thought process and let the words flow.
Keep your journal with you or in a private place if you are afraid of someone reading it. Add your name and contact info in the front so it can be returned if lost. Remember your journal is for YOU, no one else. Be yourself as you write and get those thoughts out, even the hard ones. Some even destroy pages or glue pages together if necessary.
If you need another way to protect your journal you may want to go the digital route. You can password protect a digital journal or use a journaling app like the Day One app.
The way you journal is your way. Shifting your mindset around keeping a journal is just as important as the mindset shifts you can create by practicing to journal. Yes, journaling takes practice. Approach journaling with your own set of values and expectations and when you do that you will begin a new relationship with yourself.