How To Start Journaling | 5 Easy Ways
I get it. You’ve made the decision to look after your mental health. You’ve done some research and thought yeah, you know what, journaling could be a bit of me. I mean I may not actually write with pen and paper anymore - more Whatsapp and DM’s - but I’m willing to give it a try.
You purchase a journal (hopefully ours), and you wait for it to arrive. It lands on your doormat, you disinfect, open the package and wash your hands, classic COVID protocol. You flick through, give the nod of approval and inside your voice says ‘looks good, I’ll do that later’.
And then what happens.
Later comes. Later goes. Whether it's Facetime with your mates, another painful Zoom quiz (I think they’re dead by this point, no?), or heading to the Gulag for the evening, you can guarantee that there are going to be distractions. You head to bed, glimpse the journal on your way past and go ‘ahhh fuck, I’ll DEFINITELY do that tomorrow’. We all know what happens tomorrow….
That’s why as both a man and a man with my journal, I thought I’d share my best tips to getting started.
My Top Journaling Tips
1. PUT THE JOURNAL SOMEWHERE OBVIOUS
As the saying goes,” out of sight, out of mind”. Therefore, it makes perfectly logical sense that “insight, in mind” - I think that works. Place your journal wherever you seem to spend most of your time in the evenings. If you like to watch football, place it by the remote. If you play Fifa, put it by your drink on the bed stand. Purposefully place it somewhere where you cannot miss it, in the environment of the activity you do most. That way, it will be less ‘ahh fuck’ and more ‘oooh yeah, I need to do that’.
2. SET A REMINDER FOR THE SAME TIME EVERYDAY
Now, this is something I’ve taken from Atomic Habits (not an Ad, I wish) but set aside the same time each day that you will journal. For example, say to yourself ‘I will journal at 9pm each night’. Then set a reminder on your phone to go off at this time. As this habit grows, you’ll naturally start doing the behaviour without the reminder. To take this a step further, stack your journaling habit with another thing you also do before bed. For example, before I brush my teeth, I will do my journal. Or, when I turn off the Xbox/PS5 I will do my journal.
3. GIVE YOURSELF A SMALL GOAL TO START WITH
Now if you’re anything like me, you’ll likely start with a massive goal. Especially early doors when it’s exciting. I remember Lockdown 2 when I set myself the goal of running 5K in less than 20 minutes despite not running for about 5 years. Needless to say, I didn't achieve that. The same can be said for journaling. Bullish claims of I’m going to do this every day, twice a day, all the time are often thoughts at the start that don’t materialise and put us off. So let’s not do that. Start with a small but achievable goal ‘I will journal 2x a week’ that's based on how busy your life is.
4. TRACK PROGRESS
Luckily for you, this one is almost done for you with our journal review pages. As important as it is to set goals, it’s also important to track the progress. This way you’ll be aware of if you are journaling as often as you think you are and what you can do to get back on target. And remember. This is journaling for fun and to improve your mental health. Not some detention after school to make you write lines. So enjoy it, and look for progress in the journaling amount, not the perfection of always hitting the target. Great if you do, but no one is going to ground you if you don't.
5. SHOW OFF ABOUT YOUR NEW HABIT
You’ve done the hard bit in buying the journal and beginning to start to write, now it’s time to shout about it. Talking to friends and family about your latest foray into looking after yourself can solidify your new persona as a 'journaler'. This way, they’ll likely ask for updates and act as an extra reminder for you to get stuck into the journal. Also, as a bonus, gives you a new topic to talk about with your mates.
And there we have it. My tips to help you get journaling and help it stick. Let me know in the comments below if you have any extra tips to share or how those shared have impacted you.
For those reading without a journal, it would be rude of me not to mention the marvellous Locker Room Journal - the easiest, quickest to use and most bad-ass journal there is for men.
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