3 ways to cultivate your journaling practice
We know daily journaling can be helpful, but actually creating the habit and the practice can be difficult. Should we do morning pages? Bullet journaling? How long do we need to write? Does it have to be written at all? Sometimes we get all wrapped up in our heads about it before we even start.
The answer to all of these questions is: do what works for you. It's as simple, and as difficult, as that. The end goal of a journaling practice is simply to get more in touch with what's going on inside your own head -- to help yourself process the world you inhabit, so you can make better decisions about how to live your one precious life. By cultivating a daily journaling practice, we can better connect with ourselves and each other, so we can create the world we want to live in.
So here are three ways to help set up a daily journaling practice that works for You.
1. Let go of the idea that it must be written.
If you are more of an auditory processer, consider doing away entirely with the notebook and instead record yourself. Most of us have smart phones, and most smart phones have some sort of free voice recorder app. Instead of grabbing a pen, grab your phone and go somewhere you can talk, then just speak freely into your phone. You can occasionally check how long your recording is, and once you get to your limit (maybe 5-10 minutes to start), let yourself stop the recording. You don't ever need to listen to it again (and in fact, some folks advocate for getting rid of what you've shared, so you can't listen to it again!)
If you're more of a visual person and pages of words doesn't hit right for you, consider art journaling. Get out some markers, colored pencils, magazines for collaging, whatever you've got, and have fun with it! There are lots of great art journal explorations online, so if you're not sure where to start but this sounds intriguing, I'd head on over to YouTube and type in "beginner art journal tutorial" and see what a creative world awaits.
If you do like traditional journaling, awesome! Do that. But consider other alternatives if that hasn't really worked well for you in the past.
2. Do it at the same time each day.
Consistency is the key to strong habits. One way to help ourselves develop consistency is by doing something at the same time each day. Then we naturally start to develop a routine around it. Whether you're writing in a notebook, audio journaling, or art journaling, give yourself a set time to sit down and journal daily.
Perhaps you journal when you first wake up, or just before bed, or as a short break after lunch. Whenever it is, consider giving yourself a specific time of day where you set your timer for ten minutes and just write. At the end of the week, check in with yourself. Does it feel easier now than when you started? Are you starting to look forward to that daily time? (And if the time doesn't feel like it's working for you, pick a different time of day and try that for a week!)
3. Start with a question.
The fear of the blank page can be strong. Sidestep that issue by using journal prompts. That way there's no question about what to write (or talk about or make art about).
Here are some places you can find questions to use as journal prompts:
- Use tarot cards as journal prompts
- Use an oracle deck (like my soon-to-be-released Soft Heart Oracle Deck
- Open a book you love to a random page, choose the first sentence you see, and write it down. What does it make you think about? Feel? Wonder? (If you need ideas of books to read, join the Soft Heart Book Club for a community learning space with book recommendations to hep you grow yourself an change the world.)
- Check out my Pinterest board with questions for self exploration. Grab a question that catches your eye and start with that. What is your first answer? How does the question make you feel? Why? Keep asking yourself why, and see where it takes you.
No matter what, have fun with it
Journaling can be a really effective way to explore your inner feelings, connect with your intuition, and come to a better understanding of yourself, so that you can bring your best self to the world every day, be the person you want to be, and create the world you want to live in.