There are many reasons to keep a journal. Not everyone keeps a journal for the same reason and no two people do it exactly the same way. By their very nature, personal journals are individual affairs. One of the barriers to getting started is knowing how to journal and what you wish to gain from it. This post presents some journaling ideas to improve upon yourself and make the most of this beneficial habit.
Some examples of personal journals include:
- Dream journals
- Business journals
- Task journals
- Travel journals
The list keeps going, with the most popular being food and weight loss journals. Many people of faith keep a prayer diary. You get the idea. The reasons people journal are as varied as the type of journals there are. Some people do it as a form of self-help therapy. They might not even realize that is what they are doing. But they get a tremendous catharsis from the practice. They miss it and feel a sense of loss when they have to skip a day. It can become that for you too. In fact, it can do more.
Here is an in-depth discussion of some journaling ideas and how journaling can improve every aspect of your life.
If you’re at a loss of where to get started, or perhaps you have a journal and find it hard to keep going, look up and use some journaling prompts. These can be quotes, comments, or questions for you to think about and address. They can be in the context of the following journaling ideas or just to help you write and reflect about something important to you.
Without further ado, some journaling ideas to help you get started!
Creating a journal for your business can come about in several ways. You can use it to record the relevant facts that make a difference to your efficiency and bottom line. Did you end the day in a profit or loss? Did you have more or fewer customers than you had yesterday? How many requests were you unable to fulfill, and why?
This is the stuff you need to write down. Over time, patterns will emerge and help you make decisions to improve upon your business plan, for instance, if you need a business coach, more efficient operations, or to hire more staff.
A bullet journal is a great way to get started journaling. It is a journal with a series of bullets instead of lines to maximize flexibility. You can use it to take notes, make charts, set up reminders, and yes, even make bulleted lists.
The main idea is to help you get organized, whatever that looks like to you. It is generally not for the type of journaling that starts with “Dear diary…” Instead, it is designed specifically to help you focus and get your day on track in the most organized, productive way possible.
If you are the kind of person who has good intentions that never pan out throughout the day, try a bullet journal.
In case you’re wondering what a bullet journal looks like, check this one out: (click on the link and you’ll see how the pages are set up, ideas for how you can use it, and a video demonstration!)
You probably are already familiar with the benefits of a diet journal. Consider another way to do it. Don’t bother with calories. Those are abstract numbers that don’t mean a lot in isolation. Try doing a journal that only includes the food you ate that day.
Keep track of every snack, every piece of candy, every potato chip. If you are diabetic, include your glucose readings throughout the day. Don’t include anything else. The idea is just to have a glanceable record of what you have been eating and how often you eat it. This is a little like a spending journal where you just want a glanceable record of how much you spent and what you spent it on. This type of journal can change your life for the better almost overnight.
A Cooking Journal
On the other side of the diet journal, is a cooking journal. If you like to cook, or try new recipes, write them down! It’s a great way to collect and remember your favorites and even share them with family, friends, or kids.
An Exercise Journal
If you need help with getting moving and getting fit, then try this journaling idea. Jot down the exercises you do, and for how long. The next day, document how you feel. Different workouts have different effects on us, and doing some exercises might be easier than others. By having a record, you can focus in on what really is fun for you and works the best.
As a professional, you likely deal with different personalities, different work-related challenges, and your personal imposter syndrome.
Jotting down how you feel about a situation, how you dealt with conflict, or even what went right on a given day, can help you unload your thoughts and view things objectively. It can also help you overcome any self-doubt and help you do better the next time.
The road to success is a tough one with many obstacles. Journaling about it can help you overcome all of it and achieve your goals.
If you’re single and find yourself struggling to find good guys or people you click with, it might be worth trying out a dating journal. Write about your dates and reflect on them.
Who was the person? What did they do? How did you feel during the date? What worked or didn’t? What did you like about them or anything that felt like a red flag?
Over time you might find patterns in the types of people you choose or the experiences you’re having. The only way to change your patterns is to first recognize them. Jounaling is an excellent way to see the evidence of your actions and choices!
If you enjoy writing something like short stories, or would like to get into that kind of hobby, then start out with a writing journal. Practice writing your ideas, detailing your characters, and drawing out your storyline.
In addition, you can use the journal to note down your writing inspiration, practice creative writing activities and writing exercises, and other related brainstorming.
Dreams have meaning and can help us better understand ourselves. Sometimes we wake up and can barely remember what we had just seen. Keeping a dream journal and immediately recording our memory of it can give us some insight to our subconscious.
Keep in mind, though, there is rarely ever a direct correlation between our dreams and their meaning. So be sure not to take it all literally!
When life feels off, or you feel down, it’s always important to remember what’s going right and be grateful. I’ve done this before where every time I was sad about life, I would keep a master list going of everything I loved about my life. Over time, I built quite a big list, and when I go back over it, it’s an excellent reminder of all the positive blessings I do have.
The beauty of keeping a journal is that it can be anything you want and you can write whatever comes to mind. The idea is to jot down your thoughts, questions, needs, goals, and have a place where you can come back to it. Review, reread and understand yourself better.
Whichever one of these creative journal ideas you choose (it can be more than one!), focus your journaling efforts so that you can look back and understand your patterns and habits and use that information to make changes. Making little improvements in your life to help you achieve all of your goals, both personal and professional.