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The secret is out! Learn everything you need to know about how journaling can help you create a life you want.

by Journals to Freedom January 16, 2019 11 min read

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure for more info.

Does journaling intrigue you but you're not really sure what the hubbub is all about? Maybe you're already an avid journaler but you'd like to learn more about yourself and your style. Either way, you need to check out our "Finally Get Turned Onto Journaling" series and don't forget your FREE workbook to follow along!

Be sure grab your FREE {you must enter coupon code FREEBIE} Finally Get Turned Onto Journaling printable workbook so that you can follow along!

How to Create the Life You Want through Journaling

Julie loved her life. She had a supportive husband and three kids. She lived in her childhood home that she and her husband were slowly renovating. She was active in her community and felt connected to a large network of friends.
But Julie wasn’t happy with her job. She worked in the administrative office of a local college. It came with good benefits and a generous vacation package. Still, Julie wished she had a more fulfilling career with the opportunity to set her own hours. She just didn’t know what that job might look like.
lean into a new adventure try journaling!
Journal for Personal Growth
When she finally voiced this thought, her mother told her to begin journaling daily. At first, Julie struggled to journal. Then she began to describe her unhappiness with her career. She journaled about the jobs she’d worked over the years, describing which tasks had made her happy and which she avoided.
The more she wrote, the more she discovered she wanted a creative career. So, she began taking artistic classes at the college where she worked. She tried several different ones then she discovered photography. Within a few weeks, Julie knew she’d found the new career path she wanted to pursue—becoming a freelance photographer.
Journal for Self-Discovery
Journaling can improve your life in so many ways. But one of the most important benefits is that it helps you discover yourself. You learn more about what you like and what you don’t. You begin to understand how you’re wired and what you want to create more of in the world.
But that’s not the only thing that journaling is good for. It can also help you set new and exciting goals. Maybe, like Julie, you’re stuck in a rut and wondering what the next step is. Maybe you feel overwhelmed and want to get clarity before you make your next move.
journaling helps you discover yourself
Journal to Brainstorm Solutions
You may already be clear on what you want to create more of in the world or know your goals. But you’ve encountered obstacles when you’ve tried to pursue what you want or you’ve faced a significant setback.
Journaling can still be helpful for you. Often, writing out what you’re experiencing can lead to new breakthroughs that you hadn’t considered before. This is because journaling encourages you to see your situation in a new light.
Use journaling to chart a different course, adjust your sails, or lean into a new adventure. You just might discover something new about yourself or the world around you!
  

Discover the Different Types of Journals

When it comes to journaling, your first thought might be of a diary with a lock and key. Maybe you kept one as a kid that you guarded from your sister or perhaps you’re a free spirit who’s never seen the point in keeping a journal.

No matter which category you fall into, you should know there are many different types of journals. In fact, you can create a journal for just about any activity you do. Here are some of the most common ones…

Travel Journal

A travel journal is the perfect way to capture all of the adventures you’re having. You can journal about which cities you’ve visited, which hotels you stayed out, who you met, and what you did on your trips. 

Using a travel journal can help you remember important events that you don’t want to forget like how amazing you felt when you learned to surf or how much fun you had when you finally mastered the art of skiing.

Going on a trip? Take your journal with you!

Daily Life Journal

Some people like to record their daily life in a journal. This might include writing about current projects, a fight with your spouse, or a kind act a stranger did for you on the subway system.

You may also find yourself drawn to a daily life journal during an important season in your personal life like an engagement, a new baby, or the home-buying process. These events can bring up a lot of emotions and it can be helpful to process them in the privacy of your journal.

Prayer Journal

If you consider yourself religious or spiritual, you may like the idea of keeping a prayer journal. Many people who participate in this practice will record what they prayed for as well as the date of their request.

Later on, they can go back and add how that request was answered. This can be a wonderful way to grow closer to God or the Universe, depending on your beliefs. It can also be a source of comfort when you look back later to see how many situations turned out for the good.

Journaling Can Calm your inner choas

Business Journal

Another type of journal that you might enjoy keeping is a business journal. With your business journal, you can record your work projects, plan new products, or brainstorm new ways to market your services.

It can also be useful for generating ideas or coming up with solutions to problems you’re facing. You can also use it to consider what new goals that you might want to pursue and how you could accomplish them.

Bullet Journal

A bullet journal is a special type of journal that allows you to track many different areas of your in life in one convenient space. Inside of it, you can keep lists, make notes, and create plans. The idea is that you write down short phrases or “bullets” to help you remember important dates, manage your to-do list, and keep you on track with your goals.

The advantage of using a bullet journal is that it can be customized for your life. So if you want to keep a list of the books you’re reading, how many steps you took today, and what knitting project you’re working on, you can easily do that.

Bullet journals can take a few minutes to set up. But there’s plenty of inspiring ideas on social media sites like Instagram. Just look up #bulletjournal or #bujo and you’ll discover all of the ways you can decorate a bullet journal.

The wonderful thing about journaling is that there are no rules. You can create the journal you want and customize it to fit your life.

 

Which Popular Journal Style Is Right for You? 

When it comes to journaling, there’s no wrong or right way to do it. Journaling is a creative activity so you can relax and simply do what works for you. But if you’re stuck and not sure what type of journal you need, ask yourself these three questions…

What Do You Want More of in Your Life?

Patty was a real estate agent and single mom. She was busy raising three teenagers and often felt overwhelmed by all the demands on her time and energy. When she thought about what she wanted more of in her life, the answer was clear: inner peace.

So, Patty started a meditation journal that she used each night before bed. She wrote down positive affirmations she wanted to embrace. She recorded how long she meditated for each evening as well as anything that was troubling her.

As time went on, Patty noticed it was easier to sleep at night because she had taken the time to process the noise of the day. Now, she wakes up feeling peaceful and refreshed.

What do you want to create more of in your life?

How Would You Like to Grow?

Beth’s marriage crumbled after thirty years when she discovered her husband had cheated on her. Her children were already grown and Beth realized she was alone for the first time in her adult life.

This realization was scary but also exciting. Beth began to think of the ways she’d like to grow and realized she’d always wanted to travel. So she bought a camper with a goal of exploring every state in America.

Along the way, Beth kept a travel journal. She recorded what she was learning about herself, who she’d met, and what she was seeing. The trip gave her the chance to seek out new experiences and consider what she really wanted from the next phase of her life.

How would you like to grow & stretch yourself?

What Would You Like to Change about Your Life?

Sarah had struggled with her weight her whole life. When she was a child, she was obese and other kids bullied her. She frequently binged on junk food like ice cream, candy, and cakes to distract herself from her dysfunctional home life.

When Sarah thought about how she’d like to change her life, her health was her top concern. Sarah’s therapist knew that giving up junk food meant Sarah would need to deal with her emotions, rather than stuffing them down.

So she encouraged Sarah to buy a journal to give herself a safe space to explore her emotions. Sarah started a health and wellness journal where she began to record how she felt instead of snacking to escape. She began to recognize painful situations that triggered her feelings and how to cope with them.

Don’t feel like you have to commit to one journal style right away. You can start journaling and figure it out as you go. So for now, just relax and enjoy the journey.

 

How to Rock Your Journal Sessions for Powerful Insight

Angela loved journaling. She always felt better after doing it. But sometimes, she let her procrastination get in the way and she avoided doing it for several weeks. She shared with a friend that it was a bit like going to the gym. She never regretted getting it done but sometimes, she found it difficult to get started.

Angela’s friend, Michelle, suggested a few tips to help her become more consistent with her journaling habit. If you also struggle with consistency, consider trying some of these ideas…

Create a Template

Michelle explained that she had created a template for her journaling time. It meant that when she sat down to write, she didn’t have to wait for inspiration or try to come up with something new to say. A few of the questions on Michelle’s template include:

  • What am I grateful for today?
  • Who did I show kindness to?
  • What I did learn from yesterday?
  • How am I feeling?
  • What’s one thing I want to do now?

Make It Fun

Michelle told Angela to make her sessions fun. “When it’s fun, you’re naturally drawn to an activity, so make it easy and enjoyable.”

For Michelle, this means brewing a cup of her favorite loose-leaf tea each time she sits down to journal. She savors the tea in her favorite mug and the warm liquid helps her to relax before she begins to write.

Make journaling a fun experience.

Play Music

“Another way to make it fun is to play music,” Michelle shared. “Some people do their best journaling if they have their music blasting. Other people find music is too distracting when they’re trying to write.”

If you enjoy listening to music when you’re working on a project, you might be one of those people who finds it inspiring to listen while you journal. Experiment with different kinds of music until you find the one that makes journaling easiest for you.

Have a Special Journal Spot

Michelle likes to journal from the comfort of her front porch during the early morning hours. She sits in her favorite wicker chair and sips her tea, often getting up early enough to watch the sunrise.

Angela tried to do the same thing but didn’t find the environment stimulating enough. She liked to be surrounded by people and the hum of conversation. So, she decided to make a local coffee shop her journaling spot and found it worked much better for her.

pick a special spot for your journaling sessions

Schedule It

Michelle encouraged her friend to schedule each journaling session like she would a doctor’s appointment or other event. “By scheduling time to journal, you’re more likely to do it,” Michelle explained.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to make it a daily habit. Michelle enjoys journaling each morning but Angela found that was too frequent for her. So, she changed her schedule and now journals twice a week at the coffee shop.

Journaling might not feel natural at first, but don’t give up on it too fast. Instead, try some of the tips above. Pay attention what works best for your personality and inspires you to write.

 

Finding the Perfect Journal for Your Unique  Needs

Journaling can be done with traditional pen and paper or you can capture your thoughts digitally by using an app. But one method isn’t necessarily better or worse than the other. It’s just a matter of preference. Still, if you’ like to know the pros and cons, here are a few ideas…

Get creative & experiment with journaling

Advantages of Handwritten Journals

Handwriting can boost creativity, so you can make connections faster and easier. It also gives you space to leave the digital world behind, which can help you see your problems in a new light.

Another pro of handwriting your journal entries is that there are fewer distractions. If you’re typing on a laptop or smart device, you may be tempted to stop and check your email, read the news, or do other tasks that keep you from completing your entry.

Some people prefer handwritten journals because the writing is often more emotional and raw. With typing in a digital journal, you can erase and rephrase your sentence as many times as you want, which can sometimes result in more sterile writing.

Journal Options

You can find a variety of journals available in stores and online. (Hey – we do that!) But before you buy, think about the type of journal you’ll want.

Printable journals are really cool because you can print the pages you need, as many times as you need, and customize your very own journal!

If you’re going for a bullet journal, then you’ll need to shop for one with a bullet style grid like this Dot Grid Journal or try our printable Journal Page Pack (9 different styles!).

If you’ll be doodling or creating artwork beside your journal entries, you may not want any annoying lines to get in your way. That makes this Spiral Daily Notepad a good choice. Not only are there no lines, the paper is refillable so you can keep re-using the journal cover as many times as you wish.

If you need your journal to lie flat and hate spirals, you might want to consider Layflat Luxury Notebook.

Pros of Digital Journals

Digital journals can be more secure, especially when protected by hard-to-crack passwords. With a handwritten journal, anyone can read your entries if they have access to your notebook.

Another advantage is that digital journals can be tagged and searched. This means if you have a journal entry from two years ago, it’s much easier to find a digital copy than to sift through years of notebooks.

Plus, digital journals allow you to include other media. For example, you can write a post about that day at the water park and include videos of yourself going down the tallest slide.

Journal Software

There are several options if you prefer to journal digitally. The Day One Journal is one of the most well-known and popular journal apps. It can be used on both Android and Apple products and it’s free.

If Day One isn’t what you’re looking for, the Journey app is a good alternative. It’s free and has a desktop version that works on both Windows and Mac. It syncs seamlessly between the different locations so you always have access to your latest entries.

Although EverNote is a productivity app, you can use it as a journal if you wish. Just start a new notebook and name it “Journal” or “Thoughts”. Then create a note within the notebook. Each note can be treated like a journal entry. You can add tags, format text, and include images in your entries.

choose a journal that inspires you

So, Which Should You Choose?

Try both journal options! Spend a week or two writing daily entries in a physical journal. Then switch and spend a week or two writing daily entries in a digital journal. At the end of your experiment, choose the one that felt most enjoyable to you.

 

Discover how fun and exciting journaling can be when you download your free workbook! {remember to use coupon code FREEBIE} So which journal type or method is right for you? Let us know in the comments below.

Journals to Freedom
Journals to Freedom


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