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How to Build a Journaling Habit

To experience the greatest benefits that journaling has to offer, it’s best to do it daily. Journaling is basically a habit that you build up, and like every habit, it can take a while to cement it into your daily routine. Let’s explore how to build a journaling habit!

It’s said that currently, about 1 in every 6 people write in journals. Half of us have kept a journal at some point in our lives.

The benefits of expressing ourselves through writing are profound.


  • improves mental health
  • builds self-confidence
  • boosts emotional intelligence
  • helps with achieving goals
  • inspires creativity
  • boosts memory
  • enhances critical thinking skills
  • heightens performance
  • improves physical health
  • strengthens communication skills

Read about Mental self-care for women Over 50

Woman in white shirt with a cup of coffee writing in a book, building a journaling habit.

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Build a Journaling Habit: Getting Started

Understand the Benefits of Journaling Daily

Some days might be more of a struggle than others when it comes to trying to journal every day. When you are just getting started, it is easy to think “It won’t hurt to miss a day – I can always make it up tomorrow.”

But consider the ten benefits of journaling listed above. Which of those is most important to you?

If you have a clear understanding of why you want to build a journaling habit, it will be easier to follow through on your goal.

To help you overcome the harder days, consider printing out small cards with your “why” on them. You can look at these cards to gain inspiration when it is needed.

Schedule Time For Journaling

You may find it easier to make journaling a routine if you schedule it in. Just like you would schedule an appointment, set at least 10 minutes aside each day to write in your journal.

Add it to your daily calendar.

Some people prefer to journal first thing in the morning, while others do it at night. Figure out what works for you and then add it to your schedule at the same time every day.

By planning ahead and scheduling, you are more likely to do it than if you just try to “fit it in wherever”.

Scheduling helps create the habit.

Start Out Small

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when building any new habit is to place unrealistic expectations on yourself. If you try to do too much too quickly, you are setting yourself up to fail.

It’s so much more effective to start out small.

The key is to just write.

Early on, it doesn’t matter so much what you write about. You want to get used to the words flowing together continually. Coherence or writing with purpose is not the primary goal.

Set a just 5 minutes in the beginning.

If you feel like writing more, of course, you can go on. But on the days when you feel like skipping your habit, it’s easier to stick with it if you are only asking for a small block of time.

Use A Physical Journal

Look around on the internet, and you’ll see that there are plenty of options to journal via computer. While online journals may seem more convenient, they don’t have the same benefits as a physical journal.

Putting an actual pen to paper results in:

  • better information retention
  • less distractions
  • effective goal setting
  • stress management

Time for a new journal? Choose your favorite here

Woman in white shirt with a cup of coffee writing in a book, building a journaling habit.

Tips for Making Journaling Part of Your Daily Routine

So now that you are clear on your “why” and you’re ready to start your new journaling habit, here are some tips to build journaling into a daily habit.

Keep It Simple

Sure, you can buy fancy leather-bound journals and gel pens and stickers and such, but really, you don’t need any of those things. A decent pen and a spiral-bound notebook will work just as well, at least in the beginning.

Keep your journal and pen handy, establish a time on your schedule, and create a quiet place to write. Keep it simple.

Choose a time that works best for you

Most people find that the best times to journal are either first thing in the morning, or right at bedtime. You may prefer journaling at lunchtime.

You may need to experiment a bit, but once you find your preferred time, lock it into your schedule.

Create a Comfortable Space to Write

It’s easier to focus if you’re comfortable. Read the post How to Create a Peaceful Place to Journal for ideas on how to set up your journal-writing retreat.

Play Some Relaxing Music to Set the Mood

Some people prefer to journal in silence. If you prefer a bit of background noise, choose some relaxing music – without lyrics – to help you focus.

Choose music to play while you journal

Try Different Types of Journals

We are all different, and our journaling preferences are, too. There are so many types of journals to choose from! You may find the words come more easily in a journal that has a specific focus, such as:

If you’re curious about all the types of journals, try searching through ETSY. You never know what you’ll find that may be perfect for your needs.

Experiment With Journaling Prompts

If you find yourself staring at a blank page too often, try using prompts.

Prompts come in the form of daily questions, quotes, sayings, or affirmations. Your goal for that journaling session is to respond to the prompt you are given.

Reward Yourself as You Build Your Habit

Habits can often grow stronger if you receive small rewards along the way.

You might buy some colored pens or some scrapbooking materials to decorate your journals, bake your favorite cookies, or take a long walk in nature – whatever you find to be rewarding, that will spur you to continue building your good journaling habit!

How long have you been journaling, and what is your “why”? Let me know in the comments below!

Read More:


Woman in white shirt with a cup of coffee writing in a book, building a journaling habit.
Woman in white shirt with a cup of coffee writing in a book, building a journaling habit.
Woman in white shirt with a cup of coffee writing in a book, building a journaling habit.

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