How to build a consistent journaling habit
Are you trying to build a consistent journaling habit but have no time?
I have been journaling for more than two years now but I always had a journal since my high-school days. I used o write micro-poems and Japanese haiku in my journal and flaunt it to my professor (that teenage phase lol) But journaling has always been such an integral part of my life and I even had a digital journal.
Before having this blog, I had another one where I would write my heart out without any intention of being found. When it comes to being consistent with journaling and building daily journaling practices, it’s indeed intimidating and challenging in the beginning.
This is especially when you have never considered writing your feelings or dumping your thoughts. However, this beautiful art is for everyone whether you have never written a word, or even if you are a regular journaler. Writing has always been a form of therapy for me, so whenever I need to get something off my chest, my journal is my go-to.
However, after having coached my students to live an aligned life through journaling, I get this question quite often – How do we journal consistently? How do we maintain this habit of journaling? In this post, I’m sharing some of my personal thoughts on why I failed at being consistent with journaling when I just started.
The time when I was inconsistent with journaling:
Initially, when I started journaling in 2019 I was so into it because I had lots of stuff inside of me that needed an outlet. I was stuck in a toxic workplace and journaling was the only way where I would blow off all my worries and frustration.
However, after a few weeks, I found myself repeating the same things in my journal and it started feeling mundane. I started losing my interest and unknowingly I fell off of this practice. A few days passed and I didn’t notice much change or feel anything different. I never felt I was missing journaling or I never had the thought to journal back during that period until one day something terrible happened.
So, I was on my way back home from work after submitting my end-of-the-day list and at that time I was mentally abused by a co-worker which made me feel motionless. I felt numb at that moment and had no idea how I returned home.
After reaching home, I kept playing that scenario in my mind over and over and locked myself inside my room. During that time, I felt a strong urge to journal (after weeks). I picked my journal and journaled until my hand got tired of writing and I ran out of words. I didn’t feel good all of a sudden but something inside of me felt lighter, felt calmer.
I indeed took a mental health day leave the next day to process things. However, this incident made me realize why journaling was so powerful and why I needed to be consistent with my habit of journaling.
The reasons your brain gives to not be consistent with journaling:
The main reason why I was not consistent with journaling is that I only picked my journal when I felt low, disheartened, frustrated, and treated it more of a brain-dump thing than a wildly awakening ritual. Journaling isn’t for the tough times only!!! Here’re some reasons why your mind tells you to not journal consistently.
I also wanted to highlight this – there’s a huge difference between being regular and being consistent.
If you’re doing it daily, you’re being regular with the practice but if you set an intention to journal thrice a week and show up every single week; this is called consistency. So, why are you not able to build this habit of journaling:
1. Maintaining a new practice, habit is challenging
Think of any habit that you wished to build and be consistent about. Whether it’s going to the gym or practicing meditation; starting a new habit is not as challenging as maintaining consistency. This is because we lose motivation along time and it starts to feel like a chore. Ultimately, we skip a few days and it’s high time until we realize we have fallen off of the particular practice.
2. Your brain wants you to be in your comfort zone
When you start journaling, you meet your raw self and it’s kind of scary. This is why your brain gives you gazillion reasons why you shouldn’t journal. It wants you to be safe and hence unknowingly it feels easy to skip a day or two.
3. You have no idea what to journal on
At times, we feel stuck and stare at the blank paper because we have no idea what to journal on. You keep narrating your daily life to your journal and then you run out of words to write. This is where journaling prompts really help in being consistent with journaling habit.
4. The blank page scares you
There’s a thing called writer’s block where you cannot think anything creative and write. It seems as the blank page is staring at you and is going to blow off at your face (that was my own imagery of facing writer’s block)
5. You just don’t feel like journaling (no other reason)
‘I just don’t feel to journal’ is the most common resistive block. This has the hidden meaning that says; I don’t want to show up because this might bring suppressed emotions out on paper and it’s totally okay. It’s natural and normal to not want to journal because of fear of meeting your raw emotions.
6. You’re putting too much pressure on being perfect
Are you someone who prefers knowing all the rules and doing everything with utter perfection before beginning to journal? You’d want to have a specific journal, a particular pen, and most importantly the perfect timing for your journaling session. The perfectionist in you is just procrastinating things.
These were some of the reasons that my brain used to keep me safe and not to journal consistently. You might have some more and I would love to know + help you with those. Do feel free to drop them in the comments.
Now that we know why aren’t we able to build a consistent journaling habit; let’s figure out some easy solutions for the same. I have some amazing tips and tricks to train your mind to be consistent with journaling. These journaling tips are going to help you get back to your routine.
How to build a consistent journaling habit – journaling tips
Here’re some amazing journaling tips that I use to help me with building a consistent journaling habit.
1. Follow no rules
Initially, when I started journaling, I got under the influence of other journalers and started accepting their routine as mine. I was following the rules they followed without realizing that we’re all unique and different and it’s okay to have our own rules with this practice of journaling.
2. Commitment >>> Motivation
You can never bring change in your life if you simply rely on being motivated. You will never be always motivated (even I’m not) but when you’re committed, it really helps you move the needle forward. Be committed to showing up consistently. (thrice a week every week is a consistency)
3. Create a ritual for your journaling session
My journaling sessions changed when I adopted this little change. I started having a ritual around journaling sessions where I would meditate and do a little breathing exercise, light up candles, and get aligned before journaling. I loved the cozy set-up and it made me look up to the next day. Try having some fun rituals to build a consistent journaling habit.
4. Have fun while journaling
You don’t always have to sit and fill up the pages while journaling. Draw some doodles, try different journaling techniques, use color pens, use different prompts – go out of the bo and journal your heart out. You don’t have to follow any rules except being utterly honest as you journal.
5. Have an accountability group or a support community
I deeply believe in the power of community especially when it comes to journaling or building a habit. The community keeps you accountable and besides that, you get to meet new people, build relationships and share your journaling breakthroughs. Join our Journaling community over Facebook.
6. Do not beat yourself
Do not put pressure on yourself to show up every single day when it’s difficult. Show yourself some grace and know that it’s totally okay to fall off the practice. You can always start again and be more intentional. Do not label yourself lazy or indulge in negative self-talk.
Life happens and it’s totally and completely alright to fall off the wagon!! We all do, trust me.
How to build consistent journaling habit – Conclusion
Building a consistent journaling habit indeed takes some time and the key is to be generous with oneself. Give yourself some grace and know that your why to journal will always be your truest commitment. If you really wish to build a consistent journaling practice and welcome abundance, I would love to invite you to our 21 days of journaling challenge. This changed life of students and I’m certain it will help you as well.