How To Start A Journal: The Ultimate Guide For Beginners

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how to start a journal - a complete guide for beginners

Writing in a journal reminds you of your goals and of your learning in life. It offers a place where you can hold a deliberate, thoughtful conversation with yourself.
Robin Sharma


I was never one for keeping a daily diary. I loved the idea and I would buy several cute-looking notebooks in the hopes that I would finally get a move on and get started. I honestly don’t know how many empty notebooks I have laying around the house. My guess is close to one hundred (not joking)

It wasn’t until I finally grew up a bit that I discovered the wonderful world of journaling.

Journaling has now become one of my favorite ways to start and end the day. 

It helps me in my business and keeps my head afloat when things don’t go as planned. 

Journaling can help you in SO MANY areas of your life (and we’ll get into the perks later). 

If you’re new to the world of journaling, this article is designed to teach you how to start a journal from scratch, the different methods and strategies used for journaling, supplies you may need and the best journals out there (in my opinion)

Perhaps you’re like me – you LOVE the idea of journaling every day but you can’t for the life of you make it into a regular habit. 


In this article, I’m going to let you in on a few secrets…


How to start a journal and actually keep up the routine, so you can for once fill in one of the countless notebooks you’ve bought in hopes of finally starting a journal. 

Hang tight because this is going to be a long and detailed one, and I hope you’ll get a lot of value out of it. 

I’m so excited for you to start your journaling journey.



How To Start A Journal: Find Your Why


The very first step to starting a journal is pretty simple.

All you need is an empty notebook and your favorite pen. 

That’s it. 

I highly recommend you dive deep into the reason why you want to start a journal in the first place. 

Ask yourself the following three questions right now, and write down the answers:

  1. “Why do I want to start a journal?”
  2. “What do I hope to get out of it?”
  3. “What do I want to accomplish?”

It’ll be much easier to be consistent and make journaling a habit if your WHY gets to tag along. 

A few reasons why you may want to start a journal could be that you want…

  • More clarity
  • A peaceful mind and better emotional health
  • Be more productive
  • Work on your goals 
  • Spark daily creativity

And so on. 

Before you get started, be sure you know your why. 

Have it? Great, let’s get started. 



Why Start A Journal?


The benefits of starting a journal are endless. 

As a busy woman in today’s age, it’s ridiculously easy to feel stressed and overwhelmed.

Take advantage of these AMAZING benefits that journaling will have on your life, and learn why it’s so valuable to start doing it daily. 

Here are my favorite journaling benefits to get you motivated, inspired and started with your journaling experience.  

  • Increased productivity
  • Increased self-awareness 
  • More gratitude and appreciation for the little things
  • Clarity and focus
  • Better mental health
  • Increased mindfulness
  • More likely to set, chase and achieve goals
  • Strengthened willpower
  • Boosts confidence
  • Improves your mood
  • Decreases the likes of stress and overwhelm
  • Journaling can also lead to new ideas forming, creativity sparking, and inspiration in general. (my favorite perk)



The Rules Of Journaling


Great news! There are no rules when it comes to journaling.

Allow for mistakes, grammatical errors and a not-so-pretty font. 

Let your stream of consciousness flow freely. 

It’s okay to not have the prettiest handwriting or the most Pinterest-worthy journal entry the world has ever seen. 

The point of journaling is to let your guard down and express yourself in a carefree and honest way. 

Other people should have no impact on the way you choose to journal, how many spelling mistakes there are or if your journal entries are pleasant to look at or not. 

This is not the time for perfectionism, guys. 

Journaling is intended to be private – it’s your safe space. 


how to start a journal - the different types of journals



The Different Types of Journals


Now for the fun part!

So, which type of journal should you go for?

What is the best solution for your journaling needs?

Well, honestly it depends on what you want to journal about and why. 

Get your WHY out of your pocket and on to the table. 


Here are a few of the different types of journals you can choose from:


  • Bullet journal – Bullet journaling has quickly become one of the most trendy ways to journal for productivity and goal setting. The concept was invented by Ryder Carroll. It’s best described as a mindfulness practice disguised as a productivity system. Learn more about bullet journaling here


  • Morning Pages Morning Pages is from the book, “That Artist Way”, by Julia Cameron. The idea is to let your stream of consciousness flow freely onto a piece of paper, preferably in the morning when we are most creative. Don’t think, just write for at least two pages. 


  • Dream journal – Dream journals are devoted to your dreams – the dreams you have while you sleep or dreams you have for your life. Either will do. Every morning, write a few sentences about a dream you had or things you want for your future-self. 


  • Gratitude journal – Journal for gratitude. Start and finish the day by writing down what you are most grateful for – big or small. 


  • Mental Health journal – Journaling for mental health is an effective way to get some clarity and peace of mind. As someone who has dealt with her fair of anxiety, journaling has been a wonderful substitute for a therapy session. Think of it as a therapy session with yourself. Get out the good, the bad and the ugly thoughts and distance yourself from them. I find this way of journaling to be really helpful when it comes to my emotional wellbeing and I highly suggest writing for better mental health if you’re struggling with negative thoughts, depression or anxiety. 


  • Pregnancy journalIf you’re expecting, keeping a journal and logging your pregnancy journey can be really helpful to track symptoms, your anatomic changes, and general wonderments during this special time of your life. 


  • Food journal – If you’re looking to lose some extra weight or just want to have a bit more insight as to what you’re actually stuffing your face with – keeping a food journal is the way to go. Log everything you eat and drink, and during what times of the day. 


  • Art journal – The artistic type are we? Draw, doodle and devote your journal for making art. 


  • Guided journals – If you’re not sure where to start, a guided journal can be favorable for you. The Five Minute Journal is my go-to guided journal and I write in it every day. Yes, every single day. It’s THAT good. More on this journal soon. 


  • Journaling for general ideas and brainstorming – Jot down any new brilliant idea that comes your way and keep track of them in your journal. It’s a good idea to keep this journal with you at all time because you’ll never know when an excellent idea will spark.


  • Scrapbooks – Gather memories, dreams, create mood boards or whatever makes your heart sing. A great way to gather thoughts onto a vision board and make it into something REAL. 


  • Dear Diary journal – Journaling in its most classic form. I’m getting nostalgic just typing this up. You know the deal here.



When To Journal


I know how easy it is to drift off and leave your journaling habits for a rainy day.

It can be a hard habit to implement into your routine if you’re new to journaling. 

The only way to make the habit stick is to get started and do it in small doses.

You don’t have to journal for hours or aim for filling out three empty pages. 

This ain’t the way to go. 

Start with setting aside time to journal for 5-10 minutes every day – to start with.

Just write something – anything.

I would advise you to journal at a specific time during the day to be consistent.

To really make the habit of journaling stick, do it right after a habit that you’ve already implemented – for example brushing your teeth or while you sip your morning coffee. 

Make journaling a ritual in your everyday routine. 



best supplies for journaling

You’ll want pretty pens for your new journal. 


Supplies for Journaling


Let’s face it – the colorful journaling supplies are what makes journaling extra enjoyable.

As you’re probably new to the world of journaling, I’m not going to overwhelm you with a long list of supplies that you ABSOLUTELY MUST HAVE. No, don’t you worry. 

I’ve listed my favorite basic journaling supplies below to get you started.

You can, of course, go bananas and upgrade as and when you want. 

Click the links below to direct you to my suggestions 🙂



Pretty Journaling Notebooks


If you’re anything like me, you’re a sucker for pretty notebooks. 

To tell you the truth, this step isn’t a must, because all you truly need to get started with a journal is a piece of paper and a pen. 

This is just for those of you that enjoy having lovely esthetics to go with your journaling needs.

And for me, this is part of the fun – buying pretty notebooks that match my personality, wants and needs. 

It’s a plus if the journal is of reasonable size and handy enough to bring with you all day. 

It’s just an added layer of motivation for wanting to write in this little thing every day.


Here are a few of my favorite journaling notebooks from Amazon: 





My Favorite Guided Journal


I’ve talked about it before and I’ll talk about it again.

The Five Minute Journal is my number one recommendation if you’d like to go for the guided journal option. 

This journal helps set the right tone for my day and I can start every single day on a grateful and happy note. 

Living with intention has never been easier. 

As you can see from the inside sneak peek below, every day starts with an inspirational quote, you note down what you are grateful for and how you can make TODAY amazing. In the evening, you’ll get out your journal again, evaluate your day, make a note of 3 amazing things that happened, and how you can make tomorrow even better. 

The inside of the Five Minute Journal

A look inside the Five Minute Journal.

I. love. this. journal. 

Learn more about it here. 



Using Journal Prompts 


Journaling prompts is a great way to kick-start your journaling adventure and to overcome any potential writer’s block. 

Journal prompts are essentially questions to ask yourself as you journal. 

If you’re beginner, this is a helpful and inspiring way to get a better understanding of what you want to journal about. 

With the right prompts, you’ll never get stuck again. 

Head on over to this post to get over 50 Self Discovery Journal Prompts For Self Discovery



Make It Fun


Please don’t make journaling something you dread.

It shouldn’t feel like a chore and it’s supposed to be fun. 

Something you do for you. 



Other Tips For Journaling


Here are a few other handy tips when it comes to journaling for beginners:

  • Time yourself
  • Avoid computer screens or “journaling” on your phone
  • Start slow
  • Do it first thing in the morning
  • Use journal prompts and ask questions
  • Just try it out and don’t make it a big deal
  • Draw, create art, use stickers and don’t ONLY focus on writing down words
  • Keep your journal with you throughout the day
  • Go back and review what you’ve written to learn something about yourself
  • Have fun with it! 🙂



Before You Go


Are you wiser? 

I hope you’ve found this guide on how to start a journal helpful and that you are well on your way on your new journaling adventure. 

Let me know in the comments below what you type of journal you went for and how it’s all going. 

Journaling saved me and I just know it will do amazing things for you too. 


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How to start a journal for beginners


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