Taking the time to write and reflect is a worthy undertaking, but as with any new habit, forming a new practice can seem intimidating. Journaling is proven to have mental health benefits, increase focus and clarity, and aid in accomplishing goals. 

Here are four simple ideas to help you jumpstart the creation of a journal writing habit and help you keep writing for years to come.

1) Commit To A Time

The hardest part of starting a new habit is carving the space in your day for it. Journaling doesn’t need to be a daunting addition. The first thing you need to do is decide how often you want to commit to the practice. It could be daily or a certain day of the week. Once you decide, set a reminder on your phone and add it to your itinerary or day planner. Create realistic expectations for yourself. You only need to commit to 10 – 20 minutes for your journaling time. Some days you may only reach 10 minutes of mindfulness, while others you may look up and see an hour has flown by. It’s all about creating space in your life to reflect on and collect your thoughts, no matter how short or long that may take. 

2) Create A Peaceful Space 

It’s important to make journaling something you look forward to, not just as another check on the to-do list.  Creating an intentional space to journal doesn’t mean building a She-Shed or redecorating a spare room. It’s as simple as deciding when and where you want to journal and making it a peaceful space. Keep your journal somewhere simple and accessible. If you want to start your day journaling, make a designated spot at a desk or breakfast nook where you can enjoy a cup of coffee and some quiet. Or if you prefer to wind down at night with journaling, set up your nightstand or desk with a diffuser or candles to make a peaceful space to reflect on your day.  Either way, if you create a space and small ritual around your journaling space, you’ll look forward to it more. (Also – make sure to limit distractions. Keep the TV and other electronics off and away) 

3) Keep It Simple 

Don’t put pressure on yourself to write the next great American novel or seem “perfect” – your reflections are for you and you alone. It’s one thing to record your day, but it’s a completely different approach when your goal is to engage with Scripture more deeply, record your prayer life and set aside intentional space to listen to the Lord – a spiritual practice to help you process your emotions and discern your decisions for the future. It’s a tool to keep your mind focused, sharp and clear.

Sometimes that process will look messy, and that’s ok. Sometimes it looks like nothing “noteworthy” being written down, but this is your journey and not anyone else’s. Journaling shouldn’t feel like a chore, rather a cathartic and nourishing time of self-care, spiritual intimacy with Abba Father and deep reflection. 

4) Invest In A Journal You Love 

Your journal is going on a journey with you and needs to be tough enough to withstand the test of time. It needs to have sturdy pages and cover for all the bending and flipping and traveling it may do. But on top of that, it should be beautiful. Beautiful things spark peace and inspire creativity.  If you have a journal you love, you’ll respect the journey more than just writing on a notepad or in a cheap plastic covered notebook. Keep your thoughts, reflections and goals bound up in a book that is worthy of your process and that makes you excited to open up and put pen to page. We’ve designed durable and beautiful journals with this goal in mind, and you can get started today with your own journal here: 

Lastly, if you find yourself unsure where to start or hit a mental roadblock, use this helpful list of thoughtful journal prompts for inspiration: 25 Journal Prompts for Self-Reflection So, go grab that coffee, have a seat and start writing!