Is Journaling Right For You?

We’ve all heard the recommendation to journal each day. Sometimes the recommendation is made to journal about your gratitude. Other times it’s to free-flow write about whatever comes to mind. And yet, other times, we are pushed to journal about everything we go through each day. Some people recommend journaling every morning. Others recommend every evening before you go to sleep. I’ve tried each of these methods multiple times, and not all of it has stuck with me.

I’ve tried writing in cute little notebooks or on an app on my phone. I’ve purchased structured journals and copied the structure into cute notebooks. I’ve tried structured apps and free-flow apps. Apps on my phone and computer. I was at a point where I was trying every method that I heard because I was trying to comply with every recommendation.

I hear about people who have written every day of their life in a journal for as far back as they can remember, AND they still have every one of them! I most definitely am not that type. I threw most of my journals away from when I was a kid. I have one journal now that I write out things that trouble me that I’ve been working on for years. How many years? I don’t know, and I’d have to look at it. I most definitely do not write in it every single day. Sometimes I go weeks between entries, and sometimes I go months. 

I’m not consistent in free-flow journaling, and I’m not consistent in journaling before bed either. I’ve tried multiple methods of end-of-day journaling and haven’t found anything that sticks for me. The only thing that has stuck for me is journaling every morning. The journaling I do every morning is structured and is split between two different journals. I used to write out the format in cute blank journals, but then I started buying the actual structured journal when there were sales. It evened out the cost and gave me back some time. 

One of the journals I write is focused on gratitude and dreams, and the other is focused on structuring each day to reach those dreams. The gratitude that is suggested to be written is small things that happen like cuddling with your dog or watching something funny or something cute or romantic your partner did for you. Sometimes I have simple things like that, but sometimes I go deeper and show gratitude for the growth I’ve done or my ability to identify when my hormonal mood has taken over and is raging. I don’t try to write anything specific, I write what comes to mind. I love the dreams section because it is a daily reminder of what I dream about achieving in my life. It is especially nice to have this reminder when I am in PMS mode and feel like the world is on fire. As for the journal for structuring each day, I half-ass that journal. I write out the goals I have for each day and each week as a point I want to reach, but I typically don’t structure each day down to the hour like what’s provided. I take both of these with me anytime I travel or go camping. Sometimes my goal for the day is to simply live in the moment and enjoy the company of those around me.

Why do I tell you this? Because I want you to see that not everybody does journaling exactly the same. And not everybody who purchases a structured journal follows that structure exactly as the author does. 

If you’ve ever thought about journaling and tried to get a practice going, I’d like you to keep trying. Keep exploring all of the options you hear about or develop your own structure or free-flow method. I’m not saying you absolutely must journal every single day. I’m merely suggesting that if you keep trying things, you have the desire to do it, so don’t give up trying to find what works for you.

I am 35, and my method of journaling is still evolving. I am constantly revisiting whether what I’m doing now works for me or if I need to adjust. I try new apps and new structures, and I keep blank notebooks handy to allow for the free-flow when I feel the desire come to me.

Another method for journaling that has helped me is my blog. What I write has evolved over the years, but I work through things in what I produce. I don’t simply share what I’ve read. I share what I’ve learned from something I read or what a quote means to me, or my experience with some topic. If you write a blog, you don’t have to publish it to anybody, it’s simply another avenue you could try.

No matter what you do or don’t do for journaling, I want to remind you that journaling is an activity that can and should be personalized. All of those Instagram ads you see for all of the different journals don’t matter. What matters is you doing the journaling that you feel connected with. If you don’t journal at all and don’t feel compelled to, then don’t force yourself. Forcing yourself to write in a journal will never get you to a place where journaling feels natural and comfortable. 

In my opinion, the act of writing in a journal should be something you connect with and are comfortable with. It should be something that you want to do because you actually want to do it, not because some life coach or influencer told you that you should. 

We’ve all heard the recommendation to journal each day. Sometimes the recommendation is made to journal about your gratitude. Other times it’s to free-flow write about whatever comes to mind. And yet, other times, we are pushed to journal about everything we go through each day. Some people recommend journaling every morning. Others recommend every evening before you go to sleep. I’ve tried each of these methods multiple times, and not all of it has stuck with me.

I’ve tried writing in cute little notebooks or on an app on my phone. I’ve purchased structured journals and copied the structure into cute notebooks. I’ve tried structured apps and free-flow apps. Apps on my phone and computer. I was at a point where I was trying every method that I heard because I was trying to comply with every recommendation.

I hear about people who have written every day of their life in a journal for as far back as they can remember, AND they still have every one of them! I most definitely am not that type. I threw most of my journals away from when I was a kid. I have one journal now that I write out things that trouble me that I’ve been working on for years. How many years? I don’t know, and I’d have to look at it. I most definitely do not write in it every single day. Sometimes I go weeks between entries, and sometimes I go months.

I’m not consistent in free-flow journaling, and I’m not consistent in journaling before bed either. I’ve tried multiple methods of end-of-day journaling and haven’t found anything that sticks for me. The only thing that has stuck for me is journaling every morning. The journaling I do every morning is structured and is split between two different journals. I used to write out the format in cute blank journals, but then I started buying the actual structured journal when there were sales. It evened out the cost and gave me back some time.

One of the journals I write is focused on gratitude and dreams, and the other is focused on structuring each day to reach those dreams. The gratitude that is suggested to be written is small things that happen like cuddling with your dog or watching something funny or something cute or romantic your partner did for you. Sometimes I have simple things like that, but sometimes I go deeper and show gratitude for the growth I’ve done or my ability to identify when my hormonal mood has taken over and is raging. I don’t try to write anything specific, I write what comes to mind. I love the dreams section because it is a daily reminder of what I dream about achieving in my life. It is especially nice to have this reminder when I am in PMS mode and feel like the world is on fire. As for the journal for structuring each day, I half-ass that journal. I write out the goals I have for each day and each week as a point I want to reach, but I typically don’t structure each day down to the hour like what’s provided. I take both of these with me anytime I travel or go camping. Sometimes my goal for the day is to simply live in the moment and enjoy the company of those around me.

Why do I tell you this? Because I want you to see that not everybody does journaling exactly the same. And not everybody who purchases a structured journal follows that structure exactly as the author does.
If you’ve ever thought about journaling and tried to get a practice going, I’d like you to keep trying. Keep exploring all of the options you hear about or develop your own structure or free-flow method. I’m not saying you absolutely must journal every single day. I’m merely suggesting that if you keep trying things, you have the desire to do it, so don’t give up trying to find what works for you.

I am 35, and my method of journaling is still evolving. I am constantly revisiting whether what I’m doing now works for me or if I need to adjust. I try new apps and new structures, and I keep blank notebooks handy to allow for the free-flow when I feel the desire come to me.

Another method for journaling that has helped me is my blog. What I write has evolved over the years, but I work through things in what I produce. I don’t simply share what I’ve read. I share what I’ve learned from something I read or what a quote means to me, or my experience with some topic. If you write a blog, you don’t have to publish it to anybody, it’s simply another avenue you could try.

No matter what you do or don’t do for journaling, I want to remind you that journaling is an activity that can and should be personalized. All of those Instagram ads you see for all of the different journals don’t matter. What matters is you doing the journaling that you feel connected with. If you don’t journal at all and don’t feel compelled to, then don’t force yourself. Forcing yourself to write in a journal will never get you to a place where journaling feels natural and comfortable.

In my opinion, the act of writing in a journal should be something you connect with and are comfortable with. It should be something that you want to do because you actually want to do it, not because some life coach or influencer told you that you should.

So, is journaling right for you? Only you can answer that, and only you can answer what journaling means to you. You absolutely can look for inspiration from others, but please do not take anything that someone else does as the only way it can be done. If you want to write in a journal, make it personal to you. Make it something that you like to do and want to do again. And if you never want to journal, then don’t. Journaling is about each unique individual, not about the collective. You do you, even with journaling.

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