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Four journaling tips to help you stick with it (and why you should)

This is about the time of year when most of us throw our New Year’s resolutions out the window. We either made them impossible to stick to or something we actually didn’t want to do in the first place. If one of your resolutions was to start journaling, then you’re not alone.  You’re also probably wondering how on earth you’re going to stick to it. Don’t go throwing away that beautiful journal just yet, because I’ve got a few tips to help you stick with it. And trust me, this is one of those things that’s worth sticking with.

Start small.

One of the biggest mistakes people make is taking on too much too fast, and this definitely applies to journaling as well. The most important thing I can say here is to try not to do it daily. Not only is it hard to stick to doing it every day when it’s a new habit, but it’s also unnecessary. There are no rules for how much you should or shouldn’t journal, and once you start doing it you’ll quickly find out what works for you. Forcing yourself to do it every day makes it feel like a chore, and the results won’t be as rewarding.

Use prompts if you need them.

Nothing is worse than staring at a blank page. If you want to keep a journal but aren’t sure how then prompts are a great place to start. You can look them up online, or even start a Pinterest board for all the stuff you want to write about. The beautiful thing about journaling is that there are no rules, so whether you follow the prompt or not is totally up to you. What’s your biggest fear? What would you most dislike being described as? What are you grateful for? Who has impacted your life? The options are endless.

Figure out why you’re doing it.

For me, journaling is something I turn to when I need to work something out, or when something exciting has happened that I want to remember. There are a ton of reasons people journal though. For example, expressing gratitude, healing, self-discovery, inspiration, or even just getting better at expressing themselves and being more comfortable exploring their feelings. Once you figure out why you’re doing it you’ll be more motivated and purposeful with your journaling.

Write for yourself.

If you go into a journal expecting to show it to someone else, then it gets so much harder to write authentically and really take advantage of the process. This might seem pretty straightforward, but it took me a while to shake the part of me that was keeping my writing guarded. I had to realize that I wasn’t writing to be funny or entertaining or smart, I was writing for me.

Journaling is like a super tool for your personal growth. It can help you work through things in the moment, and it’s often the first place I go when I’m stressed, frustrated, or not sure what’s bothering me. Not only is it great for self-exploration and care, but it’s also a snapshot of your life at that moment. Being able to look back at the meaningful moments in your life and hear about them from your past self is powerful. I know they say a picture is worth a thousand words, but your words will last far longer than your memory of the moment in a photo. I can say for certain that most of my memories of my childhood are resting on what I journaled about, and that’s what keeps pulling me back to it. Who better to tell your story than you?

And if you’re still not convinced that journaling is worth your time, here are a few more articles that might sway you.

https://medium.com/the-ascent/the-power-of-journaling-d8654060c7a7 

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/25/style/journaling-benefits.html

Sierra is a second-year student at UVic, studying philosophy, sociology and all things human. When she's not studying, she loves finding new recipes, spending time outdoors, watching crime dramas and roaming the aisles of used bookstores.
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