Journalling can form a helpful and doable (yes, genuinely) part of keeping track of
- your hopes and dreams
- your tasks
- your deadlines
- your feelings
But there are 5 things that we can “make it” so that you create and develop a journalling practice that actually works for you…and that you actually do at least more times than you don’t.
(By the way, that’s my definition of a well-embedded habit – if you do it more times than you don’t – you can still count a habit even if you don’t do it “perfectly”!)
So here are my 5 make-it principles for getting started with journalling…
1 Make it shiny and new – Yes, buy a notebook and pen that you really want. While this won’t help you to journal long-term, it will give you an initial burst of motivation to start the habit. It’s a way in!
2 Make it small – Set the bar for journalling really, really low. So low that you are even questioning whether or not you are journalling. Writing down one word about your emotions every day IS JOURNALLING.
3 Make it feel good – When embedding a habit that helps us, it’s a good idea to think about how to make that practice feel good while you’re doing it. Think about creating the right sensory environment and brain environment to help you with wanting to start and continue a spot of journalling. If you need quiet, do it super early in the morning, for example.
4 Make it a practice, not a perfect – Practicing is about doing something on a fairly regular basis and nothing more. You are not aiming to be the best journaller, doing it several times a day with elaborate “spreads” or pieces of artwork to make it all look pretty. Ugly but just-about-functional is fine.
5 Make it a treat – Some of us can be demand-avoidant…even about outcomes we want for ourselves and that we know can be genuinely helpful. If you notice feeling resistance, you can stop journalling at any time BUT a great way to reduce resistance is to make the journalling into a treat. Go to a nice coffee shop and order a great coffee that you love and jot down a few phrases while you enjoy your treat.
In addition to the 5 make-its, you may find that partnering with a buddy works…especially if you’re in a neurodivergent relationship. Me and my partner journal together on Sundays to synch our diaries and goals for the week, and share any worries or wishes that are on our minds. It helps!
If you feel like you need to beef up your skills around creating and continuing a journalling habit, you can also work with a coach like me to determine
- the best type of journalling for you
- when you could do it
- how you could do it
- what might get in the way (and how to remove these obstacles)
- all the factors that will increase your motivation, engagement and confidence with journalling
For now, get yourself to your favourite stationery store or online retailer and – yes – get the stationery that will support you to put the other make-its into place!
Good luck with your journalling practice! (Not journalling perfect!)