Journaling: Simple Steps to Start Your Own Journal

Journaling can be a way to celebrate joys, provide stress relief and help restore balance in times of chaos.

Journaling - Simple Steps to Start Your Own Journal

If you’re looking for a way to slow down, de-stress, and reflect on your day, journaling may be the perfect activity for you.  When you keep a journal, you own something far more valuable than just memories — you are also taking care of your mental well-being.  Writing in a journal is an excellent way to reflect on the events of your day, recognize the things you are thankful for, and gain clarity about what’s going on in your life.  It can also be a way to celebrate joys, provide stress relief and help restore balance in times of chaos.  With this beginner’s guide, you’ll learn the journaling basics to help you get started.


How do beginners start journaling?

The best way to start journaling is to begin with a few simple prompts and build up your skills as you go.  As you get more comfortable, you can try longer topics or even free-write about whatever comes to mind.

Check out my Journaling Prompts: Ideas to Get Started article, as you’ll find journal prompts for mental health, gratitude, self-discovery, healing, anxiety, self-love, and reflection to help get you started no matter where you are

What are the 3 types of journaling?

1. Reflection Journaling

Reflection journaling is all about taking the time to think and reflect on your day-to-day experiences. It can help increase self-awareness, provide clarity on difficult decisions, or serve as an emotional outlet for difficult emotions.

2. Goal Journaling

Goal journaling helps you set intentions and track your progress towards any goals you have in mind. It can be especially helpful when it comes to developing healthy habits and working on personal development.

3. Gratitude Journaling

Gratitude journaling is all about taking the time to reflect on the good things in life and appreciate them. Writing down things you’re grateful for can help boost happiness and foster an overall sense of contentment.

What is journaling vs. diary?

Journaling and diary-writing are two different ways of recording your thoughts and experiences. A journal is more open-ended, allowing you to explore topics or ideas in a reflective way. A diary is more focused on recording day-to-day events and activities as they happen—essentially a chronological account of your life.

Journaling - Simple Steps to Start Journaling

Steps to Start Your Own Journal


1. Choose What You’d Like to Reflect On.

When starting a new journaling practice, it would be beneficial to think about what you want to focus on.  For example, do you want to track your accomplishments each day?  Reflect on any problems that are bothering you.  Finally, start a positive habit of writing at least once a day.

Knowing your goal will help guide your journaling sessions, so spend some time thinking about what reflections would be most beneficial for you.  Of course, if you decide to treat your journal as the one place you write everything, that is ok too.

2. Choose Your Journaling Medium

Once you’ve decided what you would like to reflect on or write about in your journal, you need to determine what journaling medium works best for you.  Some people prefer traditional pen and paper journals that come in all shapes and sizes; others opt for digital versions like apps or websites.  There are many great options, so take some time to explore what works best for you.

3. Invest in the Right Supplies

Once you’ve decided on a medium, you must gather your journaling supplies.  While online journaling is an option, nothing beats traditional pen and paper for writing personal reflections.  To start your journal, invest in a good notebook sturdy enough to hold up to regular use and one with pages you feel comfortable writing on.  Next, pick a few pens or pencils—one that writes well and is comfortable to write with.  You can also invest in stickers, craft paper for collages, or paint.  Whatever you decide, make it your own.


How to Start Your Own Journal

4. Decide Where and When You’ll Journal

You’ll need to set aside time and find a comfortable place where you can do your journaling.  Doing it around the same time and in the same location each day can prompt you to write more consistently and create good habits.  If you’re looking for somewhere quiet, consider going outdoors or taking advantage of some alone time in a coffee shop.  If reflections are better at the start or end of your day, make time for journaling at that time.  So, in the beginning, experiment with a few places and at different times.  Then make it part of your daily routine when you find what works best for you.

5. Set A Schedule And Stick To It

It’s important to find a rhythm when it comes to journaling so that it becomes an integral part of your daily routine.  Set aside a certain amount of time each day (even if it’s just five minutes!) dedicated solely for reflecting through writing in your journal—and stick with it!  After doing this consistently for several weeks or months, you might even start looking forward to those moments when you can take some private time with yourself away from all the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

6. Start Writing and Discover Your Unique Writing Style 

In order to start a journaling habit, you will need to just start putting pen to paper.  When writing a journal, you’ll also discover your unique style, so let your thoughts flow naturally.  Be specific and detailed—the more concrete details you can provide, the more powerful and meaningful your reflection will be.  Talk about how you’re feeling, who was there, why something made an impression on you, and what happened next—all of these elements will provide context for your reflections which can be incredibly valuable down the road.

7. Focus On What Matters To You

When journaling, remember that it’s all about you and whatever matters most to you personally.  Start by writing down the things that have been bothering you or weighing heavily on your mind lately.  Then, take time to think about each point before moving on to the next one—it will help give your entries more clarity and purpose.

In addition to writing about negative experiences, make sure to write about the positive aspects of your life too!  Reflect on happy moments from throughout the day or week, list any successes or achievements recently accomplished, and express gratitude for things both big and small.  All these things will help ensure that your reflections are as balanced as possible.

Simple Steps to Start Your Own Journal

8. Keep Your Journal Safe & Private

Writing in your journal is a very personal exercise.  It is important to feel comfortable expressing your true and honest reflections without the fear of being discovered or shared with others.  To keep your journal safe, find an area to store it that you can access easily but one that is also secure.  Whether it’s filing your journal away in a home safe, storing it on an encrypted password-protected hard drive, or encrypting the contents of your journal digitally, make sure you still have easy access when you need it.


Journaling isn’t hard – but getting into the habit can be challenging if you don’t know where to start.  Hopefully, this beginner’s guide has given you all the tips and tricks to hit the ground running with reflection through journaling right away!  Remember – choose your medium carefully, focus on what matters most, set a schedule, and stick with it – soon enough, daily reflection through writing will become second nature!

What is your relationship with journaling?

Are you currently journaling?  Are you planning to start a journal or journaling habit?  Let us talk about it in the comments below!


Journaling - Simple Steps to Start Journaling

Last Updated on February 24, 2023 by BiblioLifestyle

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