How to Start Journaling - A Quick Start Guide


So you’ve heard all the wonderful things about journaling and want to dive in, but don’t know where to start. It is a common place to be. Fear not! Here at Find Your Steady, we are huge proponents of journaling as an amazing technique for reducing stress and want to help you get started.

Journaling really comes down to two things. One, how often. Two, what to write about. There are several ways to approach both of these decisions, but for this post, let’s keep it easy breezy.

How Often

With anything you do to improve your wellbeing, consistency is key. Ideally, you want to journal every day. Now that doesn’t mean you’ll be journaling everyday out of the gate. Journaling is a habit. It takes time to work up to doing it every day. That is why we introduced the 30 Day Write In Me Daily Journal. It is a 30 day journal designed to help you build up the habit of journaling every day. But even if you start with a couple days a week, as long as you stick with it, you’ll reap the benefits.

What to Write

This decision can be a little bit more personal as to what you’re looking to get out of journaling. The two main types of journaling are guided and unguided.

Guided journaling has you follow prompts, either the same or different each day. We’ve found that using a combination of these two strategies helps people stick with journaling long enough to truly get the most benefit out of it. In the 30 Day Write In Me Daily Journal, there are five prompts given each day. Four of these prompts will stay the same and the fifth prompt changes daily.

Here are a few ideas to incorporate into your guided journaling:

  • Gratitude: Write 1-3 things you are grateful for each day. To get even more out of this, also write why you are grateful for each.
  • Daily Intention: This is a statement you make about who you will be or what you intend to do each day. 
  • Priority Tasks: What are the 1-3 tasks you want to accomplish that day no matter what.
  • Daily Habit: What habit do you want to make sure you work on that day?

Notice how each of these focuses on simplifying your thought process. This is key to building habits that with time, reduce stress in a proactive way.

Unguided Journaling is simply writing down what is on your mind. 

What are you feeling? 

What are you thinking about? 

It is having a conversation with yourself and while letting your thoughts flow out on paper to get it out of your head. This is especially powerful if you find yourself holding onto past or future thoughts internally. If you find your mind racing at night when you lay down to go to sleep, consider using unguided journaling before bed.

Journaling has tons of great benefits from improved sleep, better focus throughout the day, lowered stress levels and increased feelings of overall life satisfaction. It can seem daunting to build into a practice that you consistently do each day. The most important thing is to try it and stick with it for at least thirty days. If you can do that, you’ll start feeling the good journaling juju for sure.


Image Credit: Michael Burrows