Last Updated on November 27, 2022 by Stephanie
How many times have you started journaling? You start it and then a few weeks later, the journal is sitting there a few pages full and you have no desire to pick it up again. That is so many people, including myself until a couple of years ago. Since July 2021, I have opened my notebook/journal every single day. There have only been a handful of days I’ve missed since then as of this initial writing in November of 2022. Do you want to start a daily journal practice? Have you been searching for journal prompts and don’t know where to begin?
My goal for this post is to give you a look into my own personal journey in hopes that it helps you with your own daily journal practice. This is building more on my Morning Journaling Post, so if you want to read that as well, that might give you even more insight! In this post, I’m going to go through the why of journaling, my personal journal and what it has looked like over the past almost 2 years, and daily journal prompts and ideas for you to use now! If you want to skip ahead to that list, you can click here… otherwise, keep reading!
Why Should You Keep a Journal?
Journaling can be so therapeutic. One thing I read was that it is something that you can control when everything around you feels chaotic. It gives you time to put things out of your head and onto paper or a screen. Many scientific studies have been done about the effects of journaling to manage anxiety, reduce stress, and cope with depression.
One article put out by the University of Rochester Medical Center talks about journaling controlling many mental health symptoms by helping you prioritize problems, fears, and concerns, tracking symptoms to recognize triggers and control them, and providing an opportunity for positive self-talk.
To get the benefits though… you have to actually do it consistently. Let’s be honest, this is where the struggle is.
My Current Journaling Practice
My current morning journal takes me about 10 minutes to do and it is perfect for me to start my day. I have kept this same basic format with very few changes since February of 2022. Since it is November of that same year, you can see that it is a pretty sustainable format for me! Here is a picture from a couple of days ago:
I start off with a reflection on my day before and hopes for the upcoming day. Then I write out my four main goals. I don’t talk about benchmarks or anything every day. On Saturdays, I will add more to my goals section, talking about how I did on my benchmarks for the week and what I’m aiming for in the next week. At the end of the month, I will also revisit my goals more in-depth and reflect on how I did for my monthly goals and set them up for the upcoming month as well. Daily though, I just write them out. I close out that session by writing three pieces of gratitude.
Ten minutes… that’s it. On days that I review my goals a bit more, it might take me a bit longer, but not much!
Setting and Checking in With Goals
One thing that I love to do in my journaling is reflecting on and touching on my goals. When I went through the journey of the last couple of years, that has stayed consistent, but it took many different forms.
- Reflected on my goals when I was in a slump.
- Added a monthly goal review in July 2021.
- Stated writing daily goals in November of 2021. (This was a long list of 7-11 main goals I wanted to accomplish.)
- Kept up with daily goal writing, but came up with 4 main goals and also wrote out my monthly and weekly benchmarks within the goal starting in February of 2022.
- The current practice of writing my main 4 goals (health, family, finances, and Creating Time For Life) with a monthly and weekly goal benchmark check-in.
I find it interesting that I went from only checking in with my goals when I felt like I was in a slump to writing them out every single day! Honestly though, this has been awesome. Every day I know what I’m working towards. Every day I get to look at those goals and start my day with intention, and that feels AMAZING.
I’ve written a few different posts on goals including a good way to map out your goals as well as figuring out your why first, so definitely pop over to those if you’ve got the time. However, I will say that having goals be a part of your journaling is a definite plus.
3 Pieces of Gratitude – My Favorite of All Journal Prompts
Seriously… this is awesome. This is a life-changing practice and is something I LOVE to look back on. It is by far my favorite of all journal prompts and it is the one I’ve stayed most consistent with since starting. If you get one thing out of this post, it is this:
Write down 3 things you are thankful for every single day. It can be simple. It can be thoughtful. Just do it.
Looking back on my gratitude was probably my favorite thing of all when I decided to write this post. I had so much fun!
One of my favorite pieces of gratitude I found was after I had started talking to my now good friend Heidi. She was a new athlete in our gym and I found out that she too was a teacher, and we instantly clicked. In fact, I sent her a picture of it the other day when I found it.
Your list can be the simplest, stupidest things. Seriously, these were some of my “stupid” ones:
- I’m thankful for wearing joggers all day.
- My sewing machine is ready for pickup.
- I’m thankful for silly sock day at school.
- Lexi kept her shoes on in the car yesterday!
There have been many thanks for coffee and for comfy socks on there as well. I’m not reinventing the wheel here guys, I’m just saying what is on my heart. There are also times that I’m more reflective and things hit me a different way. Those are fine to write down too!
- I’m thankful I’ve had the realization to go after my dreams.
- I’m thankful we were able to show up for **** at her mother’s wake.
- Had a fun brunch with Brian and Lexi yesterday.
- Grateful for a growing JV class at the gym!
You can honestly just do a journal that only has your three pieces of gratitude. Put it in a small notebook or if you are into digital notebooks, I’ve got a daily notepad that this would be perfect for as well. All you need is to start!
Daily Hyperlinked Digital Notepad | iPad Notes | Goodnotes Hyperlinked Notes
Stay organized with these awesome Daily Hyperlinked Digital Notepads. These are perfect for your to-do lists, journaling, daily bujo spreads, and more. A new page is ready for every day of the year.
4 Different styles of notepad:
Each notebook features:
– One 2023 Calendar that links to each month’s dashboard.
– A dashboard each m…
Journal Prompts to Get You Started
I think that a LOT of people are intimidated by a new notebook. Those blank pages are staring at you and telling you to write something and you have no idea where to begin. That is something very common because people want things to look nice, they want things to be perfect. Journaling should not be perfect. Journaling is personal and it is all for you, so stop getting in your own way by holding yourself to super high standards that you don’t need for this! Check out this list of 10 journal prompts you can use every day:
- List three items of gratitude – these can be super simple to super thoughtful.
- Write out 3-5 main life goals daily – really think about what your big goals are and just list them out.
- Make a list of the top 1-3 things you will get done that day.
- What was your favorite moment of the day yesterday? – I call this my daily look back and do this in my planner.
- Set a timer for 5 minutes and write about all the things that happened the day before.
- Write one thing you would change about the day before.
- What is one thing you learned or would like to learn today?
- What made you feel vulnerable today or what am I going to do today to put myself out there and be vulnerable?
- Create a list of 3 things you did today or will do today to practice mindfulness and/or self-care.
- Write a daily affirmation for yourself and also put it on an index card or post-it note to carry with you throughout the day!
These are not new ideas. If you’ve read any posts about journaling or journal prompts, these are definitely some ideas you’ve seen repeated over and over again. There is a reason for that! The people who make journaling a daily habit do some of these things. I myself list out my goals, reflect on my day, and list out three items of gratitude. I love those three things so much and believe that even starting there can be immensely helpful. Save this post and this image when you want to refer back to my favorite three:
So what next? Grab a notebook or a journal, digital or traditional, and just start to write. You won’t do it if it isn’t easy. If you feel like you’re already stuck, seriously try one of the journal prompts above! I am a morning journal person. When I’m ready for bed and getting in is when I remember to do it, so in the evening never happens. I know I’ve got about 10 minutes in me before I want to get started on my work for the day, so I’m not willing to sit there and write for hours on end. Some people might be, and that’s okay too!
Your journaling practice will evolve with what works for you, and it should. All things that work in your life will change and evolve… you HAVE to be okay with that. In fact, I’ve got a whole post about checking your systems that talks about just that!
Comment below with any questions or ideas for more journaling awesomeness!