Tips to Establish Good Journaling Habits
In last week’s blog post, I went into detail explaining some of the journaling features in the JMB Living Journal and how I interpret some prompts in the journal. In my journal I capture my thoughts, practices, lifestyle, experiences—through this, I feel such a personal connection to it because it is a reflection of me. I designed the JMB Living Journal not only as a tool and resource for organization and reflection, but also to harmonize joy, mindfulness, and balance in everyday life with its features. However, such an in-depth journaling commitment can be overwhelming for people new to journaling or who are exploring a new type of planning with JMB Living. Now that I’ve explained some of the prompts, I’d like to share some tips and best practices for staying motivated to consistently update and use a journal. Journaling is intrinsically a personal act, and you should customize it according to you.
We all have developed daily rituals over time that are now critical aspects of our life. Morning cups of coffee, night-time showers, brushing our teeth, checking the news, and socializing are all things that we dedicate specific time in our day to. Journaling is more attainable and easily maintained when you implement it in part of your routine. Take into account your lifestyle, habits, and why you are journaling. Here are some helpful questions you can ask yourself to determine the best, most realistic time for you to write in your JMB Living Journal.
Do you use it mostly to plan and track your obligations/plans? Or do you prefer to journal the events of your day and feelings throughout?
Would you prefer to do it at night so that you can review your plans for the next day or write about how your day was while it’s still fresh on your mind? Or do you want to start your day and look at your responsibilities or journal about the previous day once you’ve slept on it?
When does it make the most sense according to your daily schedule?
Is it practical for you to add it to your morning schedule, or are you more likely to do it in the evening or just before bed?
When do you need to take time to yourself and reflect the most?
Do you find yourself feeling most mindful in the morning so that you can center yourself before you start your day, or do you like to unwind and process your day at night?
Because the JMB Living Journal works as both a planner and journal, you can compartmentalize its use. I reference mine throughout the day to make sure I’m accomplishing my work tasks, but fill out most of the prompts and journal in the morning. I like to start my day by filling out that day’s prompts for gratitude, abundance, affirmations, self-care and things I’m going to do today, while I drink my morning cup of tea so that I can lead with the intentions I set for the day. Then when I close out my work day I jot down things I want to do tomorrow on the next page while it is still fresh in my mind. I also reflect back on my day and fill out my best win, beauty I noticed and what gave me joy at this time.
However, some might prefer to fill out all the prompts at night to write about the day they just had and go to bed with their intention for the next day on their mind. The best way to consistently fill out your journal is to personalize your entire experience so that you as an individual feel satisfied and content journaling your day.
When I first released the JMB Living Journal, I advocated a lot for its quarterly length. While the JMB Living Journal is updated seasonally to provide an immersive, relevant journaling and planning experience, research has proven that quarterly goals are more achievable and more frequently reached than broad, annual goals. Many aspects of the journal, such as the monthly habit tracker, affirmations, and seasonal dreams, are assets that serve as reminders and written intentions for how you seek to progress and grow throughout the year.
Dividing this up into three-month issues allows you to create realistic goals and closely track your progress, while moving onto new dreams that are more fitting for the next season’s events and shifts in the next issue. This ensures that your journal is not just a collection of assignments, birthdays, and work obligations, but it is a tool to help you define and actively work towards your dreams in a manageable way. What are you working for this season?
When you journal every day, you are documenting your growth and can adapt your daily lifestyle as you reflect on what is working for you to facilitate success.
As I said last week, my journal often feels like a best friend. She welcomes me to vent after a long day, encourages me with quotes and affirmations, and reminds me about important deadlines. One of my favorite things to do when crafting the content for the JMB Living Journal was assigning each week a Mindful Moment Challenge with related daily quotes and features. Now that my dream of this journal has come to fruition, I love being able to use my journal to help remind me to be mindful on a daily basis. The weekly Mindful Moment Challenges encourage me to adopt a new perspective for a few minutes, a day, or off and on throughout the entire week. The introspective theme inspires me to take a break from my normal interactions with life and focus on seeing something in a new way.
When you implement journaling in your daily routine, do it with something that sets your intent and creates a pleasurable writing experience. For me, that means sitting in on a special pillow on my yoga mat, in a candlelit room and with a fresh cup of hot tea. While the content of your journal can be a source of joy, so can using it. What is your favorite writing environment? Create your ideal space so that you look forward to taking that time to yourself everyday and reveling in your commitment to self-care and growth.
When you are updating your journal frequently, you are chronicling your life story. A motivating concept to consider when you feel like giving up on journaling is that by writing down what’s going on in your life, you are creating a comprehensive and detailed timeline that you can look back on one day to remember how far you’ve come or what your life used to be like. You might always have pictures on your phone or Facebook memories, but your journal is an in-depth record of how you were feeling and what you were focused on and working towards at that time in your life.
Use the reflections prompts throughout the journal to notice how you improve day to day, month to month, and so on. These will serve as reminders of joys, highs and lows, and relationship developments—both with yourself and others—when you are having a bad day and looking for memories of better times, or to recognize how far you’ve come.