How to Start A Journal: Ideas and Reasons to Keep A Journal

Our brain is a very powerful machine that can hold so much information.  But with all the stressors in life, we sometimes can’t help but to feel overloaded.   I find journaling helps with this as I dump all my thoughts and feelings with the simplicity of just a pen and paper.  Throughout the process, I realized that this simple practice of writing in my diary as a kid can do so much for me as an adult.   If you’re not too sure on how to start a journal, read further to learn some creative ways to use journals — even if you’re not a big fan of writing.

how to start a journal

How to Start a Journal: Ideas and Reasons to Keep a Journal

Benefits of Journals


Even if you’re not a natural born writer and you have no idea how to start a journal, you will find that writing down your feelings on a piece of paper can be very soothing.  There’s something about that literal process of transferring all your thoughts that have been bothering you from your brain into something else. 

It really feels as if weight has been taken off your shoulders! 

You can either contemplate further until you’ve arrived at a solution, or simply slam the notebook shut along with all the worries creeping up on you .  

Sparks your creativity:

Writing things down can help those thoughts move along in your head.  

It creates that flow which can direct your thinking into different heights of imagination.  Sometimes, our creative juices can get stagnant. All we need is to break through it, and writing will do the job.

You get to know yourself:  

As you garner ideas on how to start your own journal, you’ll notice something remarkable about the process.  All this time, this was the key and I missed it!  

Even if you write about the most mundane things, I guarantee you that this will make you dig deeper. And as you dig deep,

you get to know more about yourself.   

Brain dump:

No matter how powerful our brains are, we are humans and we tend to forget sometimes.  If you have a sudden light bulb moment, use your journal to dump all your thoughts so you don’t forget!

Even if it doesn’t make sense at that time, jot it down.  It could be your instinct trying to tell you something. Or a brewing innovative idea that could hit that jackpot you’ve been waiting for!

Types of Journal


C’mon.  Admit it…

We all had diaries as kids.  We write our most intimate thoughts, our crushes, our dreams. These are important events that you want to look back to someday.  Reads that captured happiness, funny, embarrassing, and cringe-worthy moments in our lives.


Gratitude is a whole ‘notha level that envelops the entirety of personal development.  I can’t talk enough about it and can’t stress how important it is to master.  

Visit my gratitude post to see what I’m talking about.  

Through journaling, you can explore gratefulness by writing down things you’re thankful for.  The act of writing it down embeds it deeper into your thoughts and emotions. It helps you lessen complaining as it directs your focus on the positive areas of your life.


They say

“You are more likely to retain things you learn if you write them out.”

I keep reading logs about books I currently read to jot down the main points I want to remember and stick.  Be extra and take this a step further by applying and practicing what you’ve learned.

how to start a journal

Personal development aka Progress trackers: 

It’s always fun to have actual measurement of your life progress.  It probably comes from my engineering background – I love metrics.

I make it more appealing and enjoyable by making it more visual using progress trackers in form of charts, graphs, and logs.  

It makes you feel more accomplished seeing that you have a direction and you’re actually working your way closer to it.

Some examples of life trackers…

  • Habit trackers
  • Fitness trackers
  • Budget trackers
  • Goal trackers
  • Home management


Planners can definitely be a type of journal. When you think about it, you have your calendar with all your tasks, to-dos, goals, reminders, save-the-dates, and phone numbers in your planner.  

As years go by, you will have a collection of yearly planners that captured your life.  It’s a diary without the narration.

It shows you what you’ve done that day, all the appointments listed, people met, meetings attended, and simple notes to self.

how to start a journal

Journal Writing Ideas: 5 Elements of a Powerful Journal Entry

  1. Things you’re grateful for 

Start your journal off right by setting your focus to things you already have and are thankful for.  Even if you don’t feel like journaling, nothing is more motivating than realizing that you are blessed. 

  1. Goals 

Next, reflect on your goals.  This serves as a reminder for you to keep up with it in case you lose sight of what is important to you this year.  This will also help you build up on your goals as you explore and learn new things.

  1. Powerful questions

As you regain clarity on your goals and what you need to work on, asking powerful questions will help you evaluate things.  It will help you know yourself more. You get to reassess and adjust your beliefs and identify which are limiting you from achieving your potential.

how to start a journal

  1. What you’re planning to contribute to others

We work to enhance our lives in order to achieve happiness.  Keep in mind that whatever it is you’re aiming for, fulfillment comes when you contribute to others.  Align your goals and tasks with the intent to add value to someone–anyone! 

6.  Affirmations

You started your journal with gratitude to set a good tone.  Now end it with high intensity by saying your affirmations.





Say it loud and say it proud.  When you think it, you become it—law of attraction at its finest. 

Like meditation, journaling is a very powerful TOOL you can use to control your life.  Now that you have some ideas on how to start a journal, give it a shot and I guarantee, you will see huge improvement with your mindset.

Happy Journaling!

How to Start a Journal is part 7 of the Perfecting Habits Series where you can join me in incorporating some habits that definitely changed the course and my outlook in life. Get your FREE Habit Tracker today, plus BONUS morning habits worksheets that you can use to help you build a life you enjoy!  

printable worksheets

Perfecting Habits Series:  Habits 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20

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