What Should You Do When Journaling?

What Should You Do When Journaling

Journaling is a powerful tool to help you express yourself, explore your feelings, and process difficult experiences. It can be an effective way to work through stress and anxiety, improve mental health, clear your mind, and gain clarity on life’s challenges. No matter where you are in life or what kind of journaling practice you choose, certain tips and tricks will help you get the most out of your journaling experience. What should you do when journaling? In this article, we will explore what to do when journaling and provide tips on making it a consistent practice.

Key Takeaways:

When journaling, you should;

  • Take time to reflect on the day
  • Ask yourself questions
  • Set goals
  • Connect with yourself
  • Explore new perspectives
  • Make it meaningful
  • Let go of expectations
  • Take breaks
  • Record your progress
  • Find what works for you
  • Have a notebook or journal


What should you do when journaling?


Take time to reflect on the day

Try to write down your thoughts and feelings at the end of each day as a way to review what happened, process your emotions, and plan for the future.


Ask yourself questions

Give yourself a prompt or ask yourself a question before you start writing to help get the creative juices flowing.


Set goals

Create tangible and measurable goals to help you stay on track with your journaling practice.


Connect with yourself

Be honest about your feelings, concerns, and struggles without judgment or pressure from anyone else.


Explore new perspectives

Consider how different people may have interpreted the same situation you wrote about in a completely different way than you did.


Make it meaningful

Don’t limit yourself to only writing about what happened during the day; use your paper journal as a tool for self-discovery and personal growth by doing stream-of-consciousness writing.

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Let go of expectations

Remember that this is your practice, so don’t be too hard on yourself if things don’t turn out the way you anticipated.


Take breaks

If you find yourself getting overwhelmed or stuck, take a break from journaling for a few days to gain some distance and clarity.


Record your progress

Track your progress over time to identify patterns in your thoughts and feelings and to help motivate you to keep going with journaling.


Find what works for you

Experiment with different approaches to journaling, such as journal writing by hand or typing on a computer. Eventually, you’ll find the method that best suits your needs and preferences.





What do you need when journaling?

1. A notebook or journal:

This will be your personal space for reflection and contemplation so it should feel comfortable and inviting.


2. Something to write with:

Pick a pen or pencil that you love writing with; make sure it’s comfortable and easy to use.


3. Music, art, poetry, etc:

Find inspiration from creative outlets such as music, art, poetry, etc., to help you express your thoughts and feelings.


4. A clear mind:

Make sure that you’re in a calm state when journaling so that you can focus on what matters most.


5. Dedication and commitment:

Set aside time for yourself each day or week to practice journaling; this will help you stay consistent and reap the benefits of journaling.


6. Honesty:

Be honest with yourself in your journaling practice by acknowledging how you truly feel; this will help ensure that your writing is meaningful.


7. A constructive attitude:

Approach each entry with a positive and constructive outlook, rather than dwelling on negative emotions or experiences.


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8. A safe space:

Create an environment where you feel secure and comfortable pouring out your emotions without fear of judgment or criticism.


Journaling tips for beginners

Start small

Begin by setting aside 10-15 minutes each day for journaling; gradually increase the amount of time as you become more comfortable with the practice.


Set a routine

Create a daily or weekly schedule that allows you to stick to your journaling practice and makes it easier to follow through consistently.


Use prompts

Use questions, quotes, or journaling prompts to help you get started; this will make it easier to focus and flow with your writing.


Journal regularly

Make journaling part of your daily routine and write something each day; even if it’s just a few sentences, this will help you get into the daily journaling habit.


Be creative

Express your thoughts and feelings through drawing, painting, doodling, and collaging; this will help make journaling more fun and engaging.


Identify key themes

Look for common threads in your bullet journal entries to identify patterns or trends in your life that you can work on improving over time.


Try different styles

Experiment with different types of journaling such as stream-of-consciousness writing, free-writing, lists, and creative prompts.


Don’t be afraid to make mistakes

Remember that this is your practice and no one else’s so don’t worry about making mistakes or not knowing what to write about, there is no right or wrong way to journal.


Have a plan

Decide on a theme or goal before you start journaling to help keep your entries focused and organized.


Be patient

Journaling is a process, so don’t expect immediate results; give yourself time to get used to the practice and enjoy the journey.


Journaling techniques for beginners

Mindful writing

Practice being mindful by focusing on the present moment and your immediate experience without judgment, this could help you improve your mental and physical health.

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Gratitude journaling

Write down things you are thankful for in life in your gratitude journal to help cultivate a sense of appreciation for all that you have.


Reflection journaling

Use reflection as an opportunity to ponder difficult questions, learn from past experiences, and plan for the future.



Make lists of goals, tasks to complete, challenges you’ve faced, and successes you’ve achieved; this will help keep your entries organized and focused.


Stream-of-consciousness writing

Let your thoughts flow freely with no interruptions or distractions; this will help you express yourself more authentically and honestly.



Set a timer for 5-10 minutes and write continuously without worrying about grammar, spelling, or structure.



Use creative writing to explore your thoughts and feelings differently; this can be especially helpful if you’re feeling stuck.


Letter writing

Write a letter to yourself about a specific topic or area of your life; this can help you gain clarity and work through difficult emotions.


Bottom Line

Journaling is a practice that takes time and commitment to reap the benefits. Experiment with different approaches to find what works best for you and make sure you have the right tools and attitude before getting started.

With dedication and patience, bullet journaling can be a powerful tool for reflection, self-discovery, and personal growth.



  • Ben

    I'm Ben, a data engineer who adores journaling. My passion for recording life experiences inspired me to develop Otto's Journal, an online diary app. Join me as I blend data and storytelling in the ever-changing tech world, making journaling more accessible and exciting.

    View all posts

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