Hi lovelies. If you haven’t already started journaling, but are curious about it, you’re going to want to read this. If you’re working on your personal development, journaling is an irreplaceable tool for self reflection and growth. I would even go as far as to say journaling is the most significant factor in my transformation to self love.
Journaling helped me to
get out my thoughts and feelings in a safe place. I was able to purge and release.
get out my mind and into my heart and soul (this is meditation)
get to know myself on a deeper level (I still do this)
work through issues
reflect on my growth and progress
allow myself to be my authentic self
build my self confidence
among many other benefits.
I have included some sample journal pages if you would like to download, just click on the link below the image. There is also a free printable of all of the journal prompts mentioned in this post. Scroll to the bottom of this post to download it.
I often get asked on Instagram (find me here), how to get started with journaling.
For some people, it’s easy to just put a pen to paper and start writing. For others, it takes a little bit of getting used to.
The fear of being judged is a very real phenomenon when it comes to beginner journaling.
We are so used to filtering our words with other people that we need to consciously remove that filter in our writing, and allow ourselves to write freely, without any fear of repercussion or judgement.
The key to removing that filter is to write as if no one is ever going to read it, maybe not even you!
“Write as if no one is ever going to read it.”
I usually do not go back and read my journal entries, not until much later. I like this because I find the purpose of my journaling was not to hear how it sounds, but to get the feelings and thoughts out of me and onto paper. So reading it back immediately is not really beneficial to me. It actually makes me question or doubt myself. For that reason, I’ve learned to allow my words to come out freely, and to be left where there are. I gain tremendous and significant insights into myself as I journal, and that is the key benefit of journaling for me.
You will likely find yourself only touching the surface thoughts at first, and this is completely normal. This is why I have included some starter questions below, to get you to move past the surface level thoughts. Keep reading for those!
It is freeing to be able to express your innermost thoughts without any judgement or feedback. It takes time to get used to writing this way, but it does happen. With practice you will be writing like no one is watching!
Secondly, if you’re afraid of someone else reading your journal, find a safe and private place to keep it, or dispose of your journal pages that are more compromising.
Ok, now into the good stuff, how to get started with journaling!
There are so many ways to use your journal, but don’t let it overwhelm you. Remember your journal is a safe place for you to pour out your thoughts and feelings. It is not a task that has to be completed, it is not an achievement nor is it a content piece written for other people.
It does not require editing or fixing of any sort. Let it be what it is. Simple as that.
I like to use my journal to process whatever is on my mind at that moment. It could be any one, or all of these things:
The purpose of your journal is to be a place to:
work through an issue
get to know yourself/ practice inner reflection
write down dreams and goals
practice affirming statements
validate yourself & practice self compassion
*Pin this for later*
Let’s take a closer look at each one:
A Place to Work Through an Issue
Ask yourself these questions, and then respond, without overthinking your responses, just put your pen to paper:
What is bothering me?
Why is this bothering me?
What do I need from this situation?
What do I wish I could change about this situation?
Is there anything I cannot change about this situation?
If I could have this work out ideally for me, what would that look like?
Is there anything I can do to make that happen? What action can I take?
You can write about whatever immediately comes to mind, or start with these guided questions.
What am I grateful for right now?
What is going well for me right now?
What am I enjoying right now?
What rewards for my efforts am I seeing right now?
What has worked out for me lately?
3. Get to Know Yourself/ Inner Reflection:
Your journal is the perfect place to get to know yourself better. There’s no judgement, and you can truly express your heart’s deepest desires, as well as your deepest regrets or pain points. Exploring who you are and what you’re all about is the key to living a more fulfilled and authentic life. You can get started with these questions below.
What do I like about myself?
What am I most proud of about myself?
What are my best qualities?
What do I want to improve about myself?
If you like these questions, you’re going to love my Self Love Workbook! Download your free copy here.
4. Clarify Your Goals and Dreams:
Whenever you are starting a new venture in your life, or trying to clarify what your dreams are and what direction you want your life to go, it’s really important to write those dreams and goals down. The written word is very powerful, and can catapult you into the forward movingt momentum you’ve been searching for. Get started with these prompts.
I want to become a ___________________.
I want to _______________.
I see myself working as a __________________.
I see myself living in ______________________.
What I really want out of life is to ___________________________.
My main goal in life is to be _____________________________.
I am working towards _____________________________________.
By (enter date), I will be ______________________________.
Every day I will work on ______________ for _________ minutes.
An intention I have for the next month is to ___________________.
5. Write Affirming Statements
Positive affirmations are powerful both spoken aloud and written down. I find I like to speak them to myself and write them in my journal. It just reinforces what I’m already working on at the moment.
Here are some examples of affirmations, however you can use any that are specific to what you are currently needing to hear.
I am smart enough.
I am capable.
I can do this.
Creative solutions are possible
Positive outcomes are possible
I have done hard things before, I can do this too.
Your journal is a great place to practice being compassionate and understanding of yourself. We are so kind and encouraging with the people we love, but we often do not give ourselves the same warmth and validation. You deserve to feel good about yourself, that you are on the right track in your life, and that you’re doing the best that you can. Your journal is a safe space for you to practice positive self talk, which is essentially accepting and encouraging yourself through the ups and downs in your life.
Your journal is a place where you can look back and see the bigger picture of how things played out in your life, and how the decisions you made led you to where you are now. You can see how you’ve tried your best and done the most with what was available to you.
You can learn to forgive yourself for the things that seem like they were bad choices, and decide how you would like to handle similar situations going forward.
Check out my post “How to Be Kinder To Yourself” here.
7. Reparent yourself
How would you talk to a small child that made a mistake and was upset about it? What would you say to him or her? Would you tell her it’s ok and not to worry about it?
Or would you tell her she’s horrible and should be ashamed of herself?
I hope you chose the first option! You need to start talking to yourself this way, and your journal is a great place to reflect upon situations like this.
Think of something that you still are hung up on and feel badly about.
What are you angry at yourself for? What have you not forgiven yourself for?
If your child or your best friend had done what you did, what would you tell her? How would you view her as a person? Would you write her off as a bad person, or would you realize that this one thing doesn’t define her, especially if she feels badly about it. You would likely see that overall, she is a valuable person, worthy of love.
Not all of us received the kind of parenting we needed to build a positive self image. We internalized the voices of our primary caregivers and how they spoke to us, especially during emotional moments. We learned to speak to ourselves in the same manner, and that’s why it’s important to learn how to reparent yourself if you did not receive the care and nurturing that you needed.
Your journal is a safe place for you to do this. To look at your shortcomings and see how they don’t define you. You can tell yourself it’s ok that that happened, and let yourself off of the hook, so you can live a happier and healthier life.
For more on this, see my post how to improve the way you see yourself here.
I’ve gotten so accustomed to my journal, its a necessary part of my day. Once I get everything out, I can connect to my inner self and let my intuition lead the way.
My journal time is part of my self care routine. I make time for it every morning, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I don’t expect you to do the same, and don’t pressure yourself into that either. Try out journaling one day when you have free time and you feel like you want to do something for yourself. A day off on the weekend, or wherever your unique schedule permits would be a great place to start.
If you’re interested in starting a self care routine, check out post here.
Don’t feel like you have to be perfect at this, or anything really! The point is for it to benefit you, and it can only benefit you if you like to do it!
I hope you enjoyed this post on how to get started with journaling. If you have any questions or comments, leave them below!
Click here to download all of your journal prompts in a free printable format: