Can’t Make The Journalling Habit Stick? Consider These Five Journal Hacks

Blogging and Journalling has changed my life.

The act of writing things down has enabled my mind to focus it’s attention and energy and at the same time create recipes for what I want to do with my life.

There are days when I’m hasty and emotional and days when I’m lucid and logical.

Journalling benefits both days.

When you’re feeling anxious or depressed, writing problems, worries, concerns, goals, prayers and questions on paper triggers what feels like organizing and de-loading for the mind and enable you to call upon your logic later on.

When you’re inspired, you can write ideas, recipes and plans that you can follow whenever you’re unsure of what to do in life.

According to many recommendations the best time to journal is first thing in the morning or before sleeping.

Having things written down enables me to focus and leave things alone and as a result I’m able to get things done.

I still haven’t figured out the best system for journalling.

Here are journalling systems I’ve used in the past.

  1. iDoneThis. This is an app I used in the past where every day you can write a list of accomplishments. Instead of using a to do list to manage your life write down what you did that day. Doing so has built some internal motivation for me to want to keep doing more awesome things because I already started a chain. You can use the app or just add it to your notebook.
  2. The Bullet Journal is a manual system where you use a notebook and various symbols for bullets to log and organize different details of your day. You use black bullets for thoughts, circles for events and squares for check boxes. If you do a search on the bullet journal there’s a lot of video guides on this.
  3. Logging Questions is a strategy I learned from Josh Waitzkin where he leaves questions on his journal often related to the project he is working on or a problem he’s trying to solve and after a nap, a walk, a workout, a meditation or just leaving the question on the journal he can come back to it later and have a solution.
  4. The Five Minute Journal is a system that uses a series of questions that enable you to get your day a daily dose of gratitude, focus, productivity and reflection. You can buy this product or just google the questions and you’re all set.
  5. TheProductivity Planner is created by the makers of the five minute journal. It’s an organized to do list starting with the number one most important thing you need to do today, two nice to complete tasks that will make your day even better and two more tasks that you’d like to do. This reminds you to focus on the one thing and get things done.

I’ve tried all three methods and one challenge I am having is sticking to journalling consistently.

I start with a new notebook and often 60-70% in to the notebook I don’t feel like continuing or life gets in the way.

Some of the systems can be overwhelming.

There seems to be an advantage writing on paper but going digital makes things easier to store and review because digital is portable.

For notebooks I use notebooks from Mead or Muji and for digital I use DayOne because I love the calendar view and the quick log feature on the Mac. DayOne is also the most beautiful journal app available. They recently came out with an Android App which justifies my premium subscription.

I use a modified version of the bullet journal combined with the other methods. When I write things down:

  • I use a bullet to write down thoughts.
  • I use a circle to record events, blessings and accomplishments.
  • I use a square as a checkbox. I avoid using checkboxes as I prefer writing accomplishments
  • Every now and then I just write a question and leave some space so I can fill it in later.
  • I use two journals. One is for tasks and quick thoughts and the other one is for deep thoughts and my monthly planning.
  • Every now and then I ask myself the questions from the five minute journal.
  • I also write down some workout notes or good things that happened today.
  • I try to record important stuff to Day One.
  • I also do my best to write down my prayers.
  • I have a separate journal for workouts. I’ll share it in a future post.

I’m still trying to figure this out but these work well so far.

I do my best to start my day and end my day with the journal.

Tips on how to make it stick.

  1. Start small. Trying all these tips can overwhelm you. You can start with what you did today and perhaps some thoughts you’d like to record for the day.
  2. Don’t try to fill the whole page if you have nothing to write. A couple of lines work as long as you journal everyday.
  3. Forgive yourself from missing entries but continue writing whenever you remember to do so.

Thank you for reading.

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