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Journaling: Getting Started and Sticking With It

Many people I know, including myself, have tried and failed to keep a journal at some point in their lives. Personally, I’ve gone through quite a few journals over the years, each with only a few pages filled. I loved the idea of having a little book of my life, just for me, but I couldn’t get the habit to stick! This past summer, after ending up on the journaling side of TikTok, I decided to give it one more try. I went on Amazon, ordered a cute teal journal, and waited excitedly for it to arrive. 

I was pumped to start writing, but looking at those blank pages was pretty intimidating. To tell you the truth, that journal sat on my desk for almost a month before I wrote my first entry. Every day I’d go to write something, but I felt like I had nothing to say! Luckily, as you can guess, I eventually figured out how to make journaling work for me and have stuck with it since then. If you’re like me and want to keep a journal but can’t figure out how to get started and make the habit stick, then keep reading for some helpful tips!

My biggest piece of advice is to remember that journaling is a low stress activity. It’s meant to help you! It can be so easy to put pressure on yourself to write every single day, or to write about something deep and interesting, or to keep an aesthetically pleasing journal, but that’s not what journaling is all about! You’re the only one who’s going to be reading your journal, so the only person you need to cater to is you. It’s okay if you don’t write for a couple days, or if the only thing you feel like writing about is what you had for breakfast. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to work for you.

I would also recommend finding a place in your routine for journaling, though I definitely know that this is easier said than done. For me, I like to try to write before I go to bed – it’s a good way to reflect on the day and clear my head to wind down. Making journaling a part of your daily routine is a great way to keep yourself in the habit of doing it every day (or as often as you want) while also giving yourself some “me time.” It’ll become second nature after a while, and you’ll find yourself looking forward to it throughout the day!

Finally, make sure you remember why you’re journaling in the first place. We all have different reasons – maybe you’re working through some big emotions, you want to practice your writing skills, or you just want to record what your life is like at this moment. It’s so important to remember what your reason is when you feel yourself falling out of habit. Journaling isn’t for anyone besides yourself, so your reason for journaling should be for yourself, too.

Journaling has helped me so much in the past couple months and has become one of my favorite parts of my day. Getting started can be a challenge, but it’s so worth it. If you’re thinking about keeping a journal but aren’t sure, this is your sign! Get a journal, grab a pen, and dive in. Happy writing!

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Emily Day

U Mass Amherst '24

Emily is a sophomore at UMass Amherst majoring in Business Management and pursuing minors in Spanish and Natural Resources Conservation. In her free time, she can be found hanging out with friends, dancing, or following a Bob Ross painting tutorial.
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