How to start journaling when you've been putting it off

How to start journaling when you've been putting it off

I'll admit that I put off journaling for a very long time after I had first heard about the concept and thought 'this would probably help me'. This was mostly down to the entrenched belief that it was a bit 'woo-woo' and would feel cringeworthy. Can I sit and talk about my feelings for an hour in therapy? Sure, no problem! Could I sit and write down my feelings with only myself as an audience? Ermmm... Not so much.

But here's the thing: the propaganda is true, it really does work. Shocking, right?! As a convert to journaling and someone who is still finding my footing and what works for me, who better to convince any fellow sceptics to come over to the... light side?

Get a notebook you want to write in

If you're a stationery hoarder like me, you'll already have a pristine notebook to hand that you know full well you'll never write in because it's too pretty. Go and get it. Or failing that, just get a notebook that feels comfortable to write in- I'm still searching for one that's not ring-bound, but that lays flat so I don't have to contort myself into weird positions to hold the page down as I write.

Get a pen you want to write with

You're sensing my theme here right? It may sound obvious, but if you're sceptical about journaling it's so important that the tools you use make you want to do it. I've always been a fan of writing by hand, so just the thought of a crisp black biro makes me want to write. You might even prefer to journal entirely digitally, if you're not already glued to your screen all day.

Experiment to find a time of day that works for you

If your goal is to journal regularly, it's definitely best to make it a part of your routine. Until you know how it will make you feel, it's hard to know which part of your day to set aside for it. But you can start by going about your morning, evening, or lunchtime routine and thinking 'can I see myself sitting down to journal for 20 minutes?' Habit stacking is a great way to form any new habit- could you sit down after eating your breakfast, or brushing your teeth?

Commit to a timeslot

If you're struggling to think how you could fit journaling into your already hectic schedule, after thinking about what time of day you'd like to start journaling then think about how long you can commit for each day. You may not know until you get started how long it takes to get going or to feel better, but as a starting point if you can set a timer for 5 minutes before you go to bed or have to leave for work and just write- you'll get an indication pretty quickly if this is long enough, too long, or just right.

Find some prompts

It can be daunting to think about just sitting there with a blank page, especially if you're short on time. Why not find some prompts to help you get started? It can also help you to continue practising on consecutive days if you find a list of daily prompts to keep you coming back. Sophie has some great posts that pose the sort of questions you can ask yourself when sitting down to write. Or, if you're feeling like your head is already busy enough, you can just go ahead and start getting those thoughts onto paper.

Just. Do. It.

Now is the time to stop making excuses, and just give it a go. You already had it in you to do it before you read this post- but now there's certainly no excuse. If you had the time to read this (and thanks if you did!) then you have the time to journal. It's that simple! It doesn't matter how much you do, or how often- just focus on actually giving it a go.