Habits Journaling

How to Make Journaling a Habit

Your habits determine your future. Here’s how to make journaling a habit. Here’s how to improve your future!

Do your actions line up with what you actually believe and want in life? Do they line up with the person you want to be and the things you want to achieve in life? If not, it’s probably due to your habits. Habits are unconscious patterns that in one way or another have gotten hardwired into our brain. We do them without thinking. And that’s what makes them so either extremely powerful, or potentially dangerous.

The power habits have over our actions can’t be overstated. at least 40% of what you do on a daily basis is happening inside the unconscious part of your brain? That’s why it’s essential to have good habits in place.

One of the most important habits you can instill in yourself is the habit of journaling. The benefits of journaling are numerous, and impactful. Here’s another blog post in which we discuss how journaling can change your life.

Here’s how to make journaling a habit.

The good news is that there are lots of ways to make journaling a habit.

1. Ask yourself questions. (And write down the answers).

When we ask ourselves questions, it makes our brains sit up and pay attention. Here are some questions to ask yourself about your habits – both bad ones you want to break, as well as good ones you’d like to start:

Question #1: What is my ‘Why?’

Question #2: What is the long-term result of this habit likely to be?

Question #3: Is this a realistic habit? Is it achievable?

Question #4: Do I have a plan for creating (or stopping) this habit?

Question #5: What challenges am I likely to face along the way to making this a habit? What will be my solution for each?

Asking and answering your own questions will help you learn more about yourself, understand yourself better, and remember what your intentions are.

2. Identify your triggers, and insert new routines.

There’s some solid science behind the power of habits. In the book Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg explains that a habit is “made up of three things: a trigger/queue, which provokes the unconscious behavior, the routine, which is what we do after we’re triggered and finally, the reward.”

Triggers are a fact of life, and we can’t get away from them. We can change the reward, and we can change the routine, but we can’t eliminate triggers. So we need to check in with ourselves from time to time about what triggers us.

Is the way you’re processing your triggers creating the kind of outcome you’re hoping for? When you recognize one of your triggers that makes you feel bad, anxious or stressed, it’s in your control what to do next. You can insert a new routine to get the same reward you were getting from the old routine. One of the new routines you can insert is writing in your journal.

3. Don’t break the chain.

Don’t Break the Chain is a strategy coined by comedian Jerry Seinfeld. This strategy commits you to completing a daily goal for an extended period of time. Each day you complete your daily goal (journaling in this case), you mark an “x” on that day in a calendar. The unbroken streak of accomplishments activates your brain’s reward system, and starts becoming more and more rewarding. This, in turn, dissuades you from breaking the chain.

As your streak goes on for longer and longer times, you’re building a long-term habit of daily journaling!

4. Get some supplies you love.

There is something so powerful about picking out an item that’s specifically for your goal of making journaling a habit. It’s like a little jumpstart. You get excited to use your new items (a cool pen or pencil, a new notebook, etc.) that it’s almost hard not to get started!

5. Change it from a chore into a ritual you enjoy.

Spend some time just daydreaming about what would make writing in your journal a joy. It could be something like lighting a special candle, preparing a cup of your favorite warm beverage, or even simply using a pen that you love.

Block off time to do your writing. Think of it as sacred time just for your own personal development. Make it regular. Try to do it around the same time each day. After a few days of repetition, you’ll soon realize you don’t want to ever miss a day!

Transform Your Life

How Journaling Can Change Your Life

Since the dawn of humanity, people have been writing things down about their lives. From cave paintings made tens of thousands of years ago, to modern dedicated journals, people have always written things down. Essentially, they’ve kept journals. Here’s how journaling can change your life.

Why have people always kept journals? Because it has changed their lives for the better. Here are 5 ways writing certain things down, such as your daily experiences, goals, dreams and desires, can improve your life dramatically.

1. Journaling can change your life by clearing and rejuvenating your mind.

All throughout the day, your brain is working. It’s taking in new information, filing things away for later use, and making decisions you’re not even aware of. Writing your thoughts down is a way to process all that information. To clear it out and let it go, so your mind is more at peace.

Sometimes you may vent in your writing. Venting your frustrations in writing gets all those negative thoughts rolling around in your head out. This is sure to make you feel better. When your head is full of clutter, you don’t feel at ease. But when you clear that clutter out, your brain can become sharper and more creative. Better able to focus on solving the problems you’re facing and finding solutions.

2. Journaling is a way to process your emotions.

Journaling helps you to “feel your feelings.” Unless you’re highly trained in mindfulness, something that can take an entire lifetime, you probably aren’t processing your emotions – or maybe even acknowledging them.

Many of us were taught from a young age that it’s better to hide or suppress your emotions than to express them. That has led us to believe that our emotions are embarrassing, inconvenient, or even dangerous. This is far from the truth.

Writing things down in a journal will validate your emotions and re-connect you to what is real. It can help you dig through the layers of self-judgement and self-editing. It allows you to release your difficult emotions, leading to discover new insights about what the pain or discomfort in our life is really telling us.

3. Journaling is a way to keep a record of the past.

Our brains forget most things over time. The experiences you’ve had, the lessons you’ve learned, the people you’ve interacted with – memories of all of these things fade over time. Keeping a journal is a way for you to keep a record of those things that you would otherwise forget over time.

Going back to read over that record later on can be fascinating and insightful. You can re-live the good times, and gain greater understanding and appreciation for the hard times now that there’s some distance from them. You can look for all the good in your life, and increase your gratitude – something that will increase your overall sense of well being.

4. How journaling can change your life by helping you reach your goals.

Writing down our goals and desires makes it much more likely that we’ll achieve them. There is something magical in the act of physically writing down what you’re trying to achieve. Not much is known about the reasons for this, but it has been proven time and time again through experience that when you write down your goals, you’re much more likely to reach them.

5. Journaling gets you to think big.

Writing things down gives you a safe space to aim high and think big. It helps you to stay motivated, and keeps you safer from untrue self-limiting beliefs.

Journaling gives you the chance to explore dreams and desires that you might not feel safe telling anyone else about yet. And it leaves you a record you can return to later.

The Bottom Line

Are you convinced yet that journaling can change your life? If not, there’s no better way to find out than by giving it a try. I challenge you to start journaling today. I know that if you do, your life will change for the better. You may want to take a look at another post we’ve written that will give you some tips on how to make journaling a life-long habit.

And that’s how journaling can change your life. So go grab a pen right now and start writing down whatever comes to your mind. It doesn’t matter what it is. Let the amazing miracle that is your brain decide for itself. Just put the pen to paper, and let the magic begin!