Say, journaling has crossed your mind as 2019 sets into the horizon. You get a journal at a bookstore. You look at it every day, thinking about what it is you are going to record as your first entry. Days fly by, you nearly forget about it. There are days when you open it, hardly jot down anything, close it and look at the page days later. Where do you start? How do you make it a practice?

This is the story of many journaling beginners.

Journaling is the habit of writing down your thoughts, feelings, observations and ideas about experiences. It is quite a difficult habit to start even though it only needs a pen and a paper, or a journaling app to get started

Journal writing is as old as letter writing. It was then popularized in 1960 by Dr. Ira Progoff, a psychologist, who examined the art. He determined that wisdom can be found in every person and which can easily be tapped into through journaling. He also believed that consistent journaling can help us find meaning to life.

Dr. Progoff looked at journaling as a form of dialog with a close friend, a heart-to-heart chat that lets both parties consider the other person’s thoughts and feelings just as important as their own, only that the one addressed in a journal and the writer is the same person.

If you wish to record your first journal entry and get the most out of this either as hobby journaling or journal therapy, here are some of the things to consider:

Know the kind of journaling you want to do

Ideas will find their way to you when you start to journal. Think about your reason to journaling.

Would you like to capture life-changing moments in your life? If this is so, then an event-driven journal will come in handy. Birthdays, a new year, a job loss or any significant events can be recorded in this type of journal.

If you want to write about your life every single day, you can go for a dated daily journal. A travel journal needs updating when you are out and about or in reminiscent of a travel destination.

In a spiritual journal, you record scriptural messages and reflect on how you can apply them in your life. A child-raising journal stores precious parenting memories. A gratitude journal places you in an abundance mindset where you list down things you are appreciative of. You could also go for a self-discovery journal, a fitness journal or come up with your own themed journaling idea that speaks to you at this point in time. There are no limits too, you can keep as many types of journals as you would like.

Journal as soon as it happens

Pour out your sentiments on an experience as soon as it happens and when emotions are raw. Look up journaling prompts on what to write about or basically explore the five senses.

Dr. Progoff advises getting into a meditative state to be able to release deepest and truest feelings. Set time and a place to journal. Journaling in the morning helps you set the intentions of the day while in the night allows you to reflect.

Be honest and hold back judgments

Self-reflective journaling is hard. It is also necessary. See journaling as a tool to equip yourself with a solid sense of clarity to lead you to be more present and intentional. By all means, avoid beating yourself up. Be kind to yourself even as you write honestly.

Think of the way forward

Writing down thoughts of an unproductive day or an exhausting trip may leave you feeling drained. To put yourself in a positive emotional state, seek answers to get out of the rut. It could be as simple as jotting down your plans to be more productive next time. Or go back to that journal entry when you were at your happiest to relieve those special memories.

Happy journaling!

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