This is how I used to approach journaling:
*goes to Target*
*stares at all the cute journals*
*buys a cute journal*
*opens to page one*
*dear diary today was a good day. I went to work, worked out and came home.*
*never opens journal again*
Who can relate?
I used to put a lot of pressure on myself about journaling. I felt like I was always setting this expectation-filled goal of “I should journal more” like it was something I had to be doing. I remember setting a new year's resolution (back before I knew w-t-f I was doing around resolutions) in 2013 to journal every day. I think I made it until about January 4 and then didn’t crack the journal open again until March of that year. Even my journal entries were filled with pressure and unmet expectations. I’d be journaling about how disappointed I was in myself for not journaling for so long. Not really sure what type of journaling I felt like I “should” be doing back then, but adding an additional way for me to judge myself wasn’t really one of them…
So, something had to change. That something was my perspective.
I decided to adopt two new perspectives when it came to journaling. My gut says, if you adopt these two perspectives as well, you’ll be able to hop on the journaling wagon and finally be able to fully integrate it into your life!
1. Stop making it another chore or "to do".
My first change in perspective was to realize that journaling can’t be forced. It was easier to do and less daunting when I would just write a sentence or two every few days, usually when I felt like it. My go to sentence would usually be either a) something I want to remember about the day or b) something I was grateful for that day.
When you are first getting into journaling, you have to remember where you’re starting from. Think of it this way, you don’t just decide to become an olympic runner one morning and win a gold medal. It requires time, training and discipline to get to where you want to be. The same is true for journaling. If you come out of the gate hot and write 25 pages during your first journaling session and tell yourself you must do this every day, you’ll burn out and won’t be able to keep up.
Keep it light, keep it free and build your journaling muscle up over time.
2. Make it visual.
My second shift in perspective was allowing myself to see my journal as something that didn’t need to be filled with my words only. If I sat down to journal, and couldn’t think of what to write (which usually meant defaulting to writing nothing because of the infinite amount of things swirling around in my head), I would start sketching instead.
Actually, on a side note, the sketching is part of how I came up with the eventual logo for Everme. I found it really relaxing to sketch pine trees. I mean if someone didn’t know about Everme and stumbled upon my journals, they’d probably think I have an obsession with pine trees...which I guess I do so it doesn’t really matter what they think!
Sketching, as a form of journaling, sometimes is all I need to relax my mind. A lot of my journal entries start with a few sentences, then I’ll draw a handful of sketches around the border of the page to relax my mind and after that, I can really get into getting my thoughts on to paper.
The bottom line is this: make journaling something that works for you and doesn’t burden you. Make it your own so you can benefit from the self-care and reflection that comes along with it. Also, if journaling has been on your mind for a while and you haven’t found your stride with it yet, don’t give up. There’s a reason your life is pinging you toward journaling... don’t ignore it.