Journaling is a popular way for people of all ages and walks of life to record their thoughts and feelings daily, but it’s a hard habit to get into. Perhaps you started a daily journal but gave up, or maybe you have never tried it before. Here’s our ultimate guide to starting a daily journal:
What is a Daily Journal?
A daily journal is, in its purest form, a log of your life. Like a diary, journals contain information about your day, thoughts and feelings, dreams, and goals. There are tons of different types of journals, including dream journals, daily planners, and even creative journals, but they’re all connected by one thing: daily routine.
The most important part of a daily journal is frequent use. You don’t have to use your journal multiple times a day, just once.
Why Journal Daily?
Of course, this begs the question: why is daily journaling so popular? Why would you want to have a daily journal in the first place?
Daily journals are a great practice for mental health. By writing in your journal daily, you can:
Journaling reduces overall stress levels by providing users with a space to list their daily activities and stressors. Many times, we end up getting overwhelmed by a multitude of things to do, places to go, people to call, or things that happen to us each day. Using a journal to write them down in a bulleted list can help reduce this stress by showing that you are in control of these things.
Another great way journals can reduce stress is by incorporating your to-do list into them. Writing down and crossing off daily tasks feels great!
Provide Space for Processing Emotions
We don’t always have the physical or mental space to process intense, negative emotions. Setting aside time to journal every day creates a space to encounter and face those emotions freely. Taking time to handle emotions like grief, anger, or anxiety can also help reduce stress levels.
Track Habits, Symptoms, or Changes
In terms of physical health, daily journals are very useful for tracking your habits, behaviors, or changes in your body. If you’ve kept a chart tracking when you get your period each month, you’ve already got experience with daily journaling! Daily health journals are a great way to stay on top of your physical health and goals, including how much you exercise, how your weight changes, and if you start experiencing any new complications.
Stay Organized with Long-Term Goals
Daily or weekly planners are great for writing down daily tasks and short-term goals, but when planning for the long term, it’s a bit harder to know where to start. Physically writing down your long-term goals on paper is a great way to get started with them since the act itself is an excellent way to “make them real.” From there, you can track progress towards your goal in your daily journal.
Learn More About Yourself
Similar to therapy, just talking about yourself and processing your emotions out loud or on paper can help us realize who we are as people and how we process our emotions. Journaling builds self-awareness by forcing you to stop and focus on what you’re thinking and feeling. Plus, looking back on previous entries allows you to see how you’ve grown!
What Should I Write in My Journal?
You can write anything in your daily journal, and there are plenty of different journal formats to play with. However, most people write their thoughts, feelings, dreams, or daily activities in their journals. What matters most when you write in your journal is to establish daily writing habits.
How to Start Journaling Daily?
Journaling is great, but building the habit of writing down your thoughts every day is challenging. Here are some of our favorite ways to get into journaling daily:
The best way to get started with a daily journal is to start small. Write some things down on your phone, in a blank document, or in a notebook. You don’t have to write fancy prose; using a bulleted list to write out your day and how you’re feeling is a quick and simple way to get started.
Set a Schedule
Setting a schedule for yourself is an excellent way to start when it comes to making a habit of journaling. Many people like to write in their journals right before bed. To ensure that you’re setting aside time to write things down each day, set a daily alarm around the time you’d like to write in your journal.
Play with Different Journaling Techniques
There are lots of ways to journal and plenty of free journal templates to work with. Experiment with different types of journaling to find what works best for you. Some popular types of journals include:
- Bullet journals
- Gratitude journals
- Long-term goal journals
- Daily dream journals
Try Writing Prompts
If you’re not sure what to write about when you start journaling every day, try working off a list of prompts. Prompts are a great way to relieve writer’s block and get creative while writing about your thoughts and feelings. Some of our favorite journaling prompts include:
- Listing things and people you’re grateful for
- Writing about a recent, exciting event that happened to you
- Listing what you’re feeling once every hour
- Writing down daily positive affirmations
- Making a list of goals for your day
Write Anything and Everything
Of course, you can always go with the “word vomit” approach and write down whatever comes to mind. Even when working with a prompt, it’s always important to be honest while writing in your journal.
Best Digital Journal Templates for 2023
Looking for a great template to start your own journal? Try these free daily journal templates from Craft:
- Simple Gratitude Journal is a basic template for gratitude journaling.
- Daily Reflection Journal is a handy tool for organizing thoughts for self-reflection, and the
- Bullet Journal is a great way to keep things short and sweet.