How Journaling Can Benefit Your Life This Year

It’s the start of a new year and an excellent time to reflect on the past and plan for the future. One of the best ways to keep your life organized and on the right path and to discover meaning and purpose is to journal. Journaling is a powerful and often underrated practice.  

Tips for Journaling:

Use Writing Prompts 

Some people are a little skeptical about journaling. Many people have tried writing down their thoughts in a journal or on recycled paper (it doesn’t have to be a fancy journal!) with mixed results, but have become discouraged or become a little jaded as to the purpose of the practice. If you don’t know what to write about, it might be time to use some helpful prompts. 

Here is a list of writing prompts that cover some general categories in life; they include work, relationships, and life purpose. To get the most out of them, you need to turn your journal writing into a habit, and answer the questions regularly. It’s a good idea to create a time and place for your journal writing.

Make Lists 

When they think of journaling, most people think of sitting at a desk and writing out their thoughts and feelings. Of course, this is a great way to journal, and using writing prompts can help to inspire ideas about what to think about and write about next. But making lists can also be very effective. Lists can save you time and can be used as writing prompts, later, for longhand writing. 

Be sure to have something with you all the time, on which to record your thoughts. If you’re waiting in a line, sitting on public transport, or bored in a waiting room, take out your notebook and create a list of things that are on your mind or things you are grateful for. Making lists and categorizing thoughts helps to improve your quality of life.    

Use Smartphone Apps 

These days, using smartphone apps is one of the best ways to journal because almost everyone has a smart phone in their pocket or handbag that can be quickly accessed to write down a creative thought or vent about a difficult life situation.

There are plenty of journaling apps to choose from, including My Diary, Day One Journal, and Diaro. Most of the apps have a security password or fingerprint scan so they can be kept private. Bear in mind that some of the apps have paid versions for the full features, and you might want want to export your writing every now and again to make sure it’s kept safe.

Notice Patterns 

Life can be a messy experience, especially when you aren’t sure if you are on the right life path and you have anxiety and fears about the future. If you want to discover your best life path, a practice of regular journaling is one of the best ways to do it.

Choose five or ten questions from a range of categories, and write a page in your journal for each one. When you have finished, go back to the start. The cycles will be every five or ten days or however long your practice takes. You will start to notice patterns emerging that seem to speak to you and help you to make more informed life choices and decisions. Seeing patterns of repeated thoughts in your journal can help you understand yourself better and help you navigate your life.

Create a Future 

Most people think of journaling as a form of reflection, which it undoubtedly is, but it can also be used as a mode of creation. In addition to reflecting on your current life situation and the past, you can start to write about what you desire in the future. Perhaps at the end of journaling sessions, you could write a few sentences about how you would like your present to unfold in the future.

When you write about the future, try to think about the short, medium, and long term. The short-term ideas should be more detailed and realistic; they should be goal-orientated. The medium-term goals are still goal-orientated but can be a little more abstract, and the long-term goals could just be a general idea. As you move along, you can chart your life course more effectivity.   

There is no right or wrong way to journal, and journaling can be a wonderful way to enhance your life and learn about yourself, relieve stress, and even help determine your future.

Linking to:

Mostly Blogging, Jenerally Informed, French Ethereal, Thursday Favorite Things, Imparting Grace, Building Our Hive, Esme Salon, Life and Linda, Lou Lou Girls, Wonderful Wednesday

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10 Comments

    1. Thanks so much for reading, Mary. I am going to try to be more consistent with my journaling this year. (I hope I can follow through!)

  1. I’m an on-again off-again journaler. But I do find it very helpful. Mine is more of a spiritual journal. I include prayer requests and answers, Scriptures that I’m meditating on, and other things along my journey with God.

    1. One of my goals this year is to keep a scripture journal, with prayers and gratitude, Donna. I’m hoping that I will keep my journaling resolutions this year!

  2. I used to journal a lot. I guess my blog is something of a journal, where I work through my thinking on various subjects. I also use the Notes app on my phone a lot to record a thought I don’t want to lose or want to ponder more later.

    1. Barbara, that is a good way to think about a blog-as a type of journal. I love to go back over the years and read some of my blog posts as little bits of time in my life. The Notes app is a great idea, too.

  3. I’m definitely a list lover and have a separate notebook just for lists. Some are just for fun, some are for home, and some are for work but lists keep me organized. Love this post, journaling has so many benefits!

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