A journal is a special practice, not least of all because you can make it whatever you want it to be. There are so many ways to keep, use, and cherish a journal — it’s all about what you want to get out of it, what you think will make the biggest difference in your day-to-day life, and what you are most excited about as you embark on a journaling practice.
Types of Journals
People keep journals about all sorts of things and for all sorts of functions. Some ideas for a journal you may think about keeping are:
- A daily diary of your life — what happened to you that day, what you thought about it, what your hopes and dreams are for the following day.
- A gratitude journal — spend a little time each day listing three things you’re grateful for.
- A place to store writing ideas — some writers use journaling as a way to develop new ideas, either for fiction or non-fiction writing.
- A place to store thoughts — Ralph Waldo Emerson famously called his journal his “savings bank” — he saw it as a place where he could jot down thoughts to come back to at a later date.
- A place to collect writing about a particular aspect of your life. For example, some food enthusiasts keep a journal that’s just about their journey with cooking, while others keep a journal about the restaurants they’ve gone to or the cuisines they’ve had the opportunity to try.
- A growth journal — track the growth of a child, or track a project, such as a home improvement project.
- Historical perspective — historians love to use journals as primary sources to get a window into a particular period of time. You can use a journal to contribute your historical perspective by recording your thoughts and impressions of an event or era as it’s happening. For example, many people decided to keep pandemic journals in 2020.
Finding your groove
Just as journals themselves take different shapes for different people, so does a journaling practice. For some people, journaling every single day is the best (or sometimes, the only) way they’ll stick with a journaling practice. In this case, tools that focus on helping you build a daily habit can be very helpful, for example, by reminding you to journal every day at a set time, or by working towards keeping a streak for an amount of days in a row. Custom notifications, reminders, goals, and streaks are all features in Diarly that have been designed and built to help build the habit of journaling.
For others, especially those who are keeping a journal that is focused on a specific subject rather than a daily diary, they will only journal when something pertinent has happened that they need to record or reflect on. As with any writing, mediation, mindfulness, or fitness practice, it’s important to remember that the best way to journal is the way that it’ll work for you. Trying to force yourself into a type of journaling that doesn’t fit your lifestyle will just lead to not doing it.
What to use for journaling
Though traditionally, people used notebooks for journaling, as with most things, the tides have turned and today, technology is a great tool that helps many people stay on top of their journaling practice. Diarly, for example, syncs through cloud technology so that your journal can be available on your computer, iPad, iPhone, and even your Apple Watch. That means that no matter where you are, you’re able to record your thoughts, and you’ll always have them compiled in one place. Having a flexible and private tool that is always available is an extremely helpful way to make the habit stick.
How to begin journaling
The best time to start journaling is right away! If you’ve decided you’re interested in pursing a journaling practice, go for it and start recording your thoughts. Some tips for getting started:
- Set up the Diarly app on all of your devices so that it’s always at the ready whenever you need it.
- Pick a time of day to journal and try it for a few days, then evaluate it. Does that time of day work for you? If not, what’s giving you trouble? Do you find yourself unavailable at that time, or do you find that you wish you had more time to sit and write? Make adjustments as needed.
- Think about making customizations within the app so that the look and feel of the journal are in line with your personality and style. Aligning the aesthetics of your journal to your own personal preferences will make it that much more pleasurable to journal.
Get started with Diarly today — with unlimited entries, photos, and memories — for free. Diarly is private, beautiful, and personal.
Some people find it helpful to use some jumping-off points, or prompts, to get themselves into the practice of journaling. They are really easy to set up within Diarly, and can be customized to suit your needs; with tools like weather and location, or automatically importing calendar events to get a glance over your day ahead. A prompt can spark your thoughts to get started more easily than a blank page. If you think this would be helpful to you, here are some ideas for what you can write about in your early journal entries:
- What was the first thing you did today? What did you do after that? Go through your day step by step and write down, without judgement, what you did.
- What do you hope you will do tomorrow? If there was just one thing you hope tomorrow will end with you having accomplished, what would it be?
- What are you grateful for today?
- What is something you learned today? How did you learn it?
At a glance
Journaling is a very helpful and healthy habit that anyone can add to their everyday life. As with any habit, the tools used can make it stick — and a flexible tool that's easy to use and easy to customize will make the habit of journaling so much easier to start, to stick to, or continue.
You can get started for free, by importing existing journals or from scratch, with unlimited entries, future and past. Start building the habit of journaling beautifully with Diarly.
We hope you enjoyed these journaling ideas, and that they will help you build, maintain, or improve the habit of journaling.