There are different ways to journal and different types of journals to fit your lifestyle. Journaling is a great way to document your life, express yourself, reflect on your progress and see your growth.
I started journaling when I was about 10 years old. My first journal was a composition book. You know, the kind that was black and white and said “composition book” on the front. In it, I would write about my favorite T.V. shows and paste in pictures that I cut out from the T.V. guide. I also journaled about what I did with family and friends. Sometimes, I journaled about my favorite snacks or things to do.
After that book was finished, I started a diary. I wrote my secret thoughts and wrote about my friends, family and sometimes, my crushes. I kept that diary as safe as I could, but I’m pretty sure that my sister got her hands on it and read it. I’m guilty of doing the same to her. Hey, that’s what diaries are for. I wrote religiously in my diary until about the first semester in collage. After that, life got really busy and I slowed down from writing in my diary. Even with that slowdown, I actually managed to keep a diary until probably about halfway through college. Once I got married and had a baby, I stopped altogether. I then started a baby journal.
I had two types of baby journals. One was a little notebook in which I wrote down my daughter’s developmental milestones like the first time she rolled over and the first time she walked. I mostly wrote down her first words and even all the words that she said after that. She was a very talkative baby and she started talking early. So it was fun to document the words and phrases that came out of her little mouth. When she got a little older, I started scrapbooking and it became a passion. I continued to journal her special milestones in those scrapbooks. I have so many scrapbooks of my daughter. In each page, I journaled a little something- whatever came to my mind and special memories that I wanted to remember about that event. I also dedicated scrapbooks to special events, such as a school days scrapbook. In it, I wrote down the name of her friends, any nicknames she had, her favorite things and what she liked to do. She has her class picture and group picture for each grade as well as any special artwork I wanted to keep in that scrapbook. I actually kept one for her until she graduated from high school! It’s all in one book. I also dedicated a scrapbook to her Christmas memories. In it is every picture she took with Santa Claus, her letter to Santa Claus, her Christmas list and pictures from each year of her opening presents. I confess that when my son was born, I didn’t dedicate myself to the art of scrapbooking his memories like I did with my daughter. But I do have a few scrapbooks for him and I had found another way to document his memories. In 2013, when he was 5 years old, I started this blog and some of his memories are documented via posts. It’s fun to look back and read those posts. They are filled with such special memories.
Another type of journal that I owned is a fitness or weight loss journal. I usually kept these when I was trying to lose weight. Now they have apps specifically for this purpose, such as sparkpeople or myfitnesspal. But if you chose to journal your fitness journey, you can write down your weight loss and fitness goals. You can document your weight and measurements each week (or day if you chose). If you are counting calories, you can write down all the foods you ate in the day as well as how many calories each was worth. If you are counting carbs, you can do the same. You can also write down what you did for exercise, for how long and if you know, how many calories you burned. Doing this helps keep you on track. It also helps you see the progress you have made.
I have also kept a dream journal. I only did this once. It helped me to figure out myself and my subconcious mind. I would write down my dream, what had happened in my life that might have sparked this dream and also what I thought this dream to mean. I would try to figure it out myself by using my own thoughts on what my dreams meant. Or I would look it up in a dream dictionary. I used dreammoods.com. Keeping a dream journal was really interesting and I know that when I kept this, I overanalyzed way too much.
So I stopped doing that and I started a gratitude journal. It started with 3 things each day that I am thankful for. That’s it. Nothing else. No reasons why or analyzation. I must say it changed my mindset. It was around this time that I started tapping (EFT-Emotional Freedom Techniques) and then eventually meditating. Now, I start each morning, before I even get out of bed listing at least 3 things in my head that I am grateful for. I try to list three different things each day. Some days, it is the same three things. And some days, they are simple things that make me happy. I then meditate for 10 minutes. In 2013, when I started my blog, it started as a gratitude journal. So some of the things that I listed back then are actually still posted in my blog. It’s reflective to look back and see what those things are and how much more I have to be grateful for. If there is any type of journal you should have, it is a gratitude journal. I highly recommend it. It will change your life.
Another type of journal you can start, if you are more of an ambitious person, is a goal journal. You can write down all of your goals for the year, for the month or even for the day. Then check off which ones you have met. It’s like a roadmap for your life. You can consider this journal a powerful tool that will keep you on track, keep you inspired and keep you motivated to accomplish those goals that you have set for yourself. I suppose this kind of journal is like a bucket list because you are documenting the life experiences that you want to experience and the goals you have for yourself before you die. In that case, never finish that bucket list. Always add new things. Be flexible. Be brave. Be adventurous. I have never written a bucket list. If I do have a bucket list, I only have one thing written in my bucket list and that’s to write a bucket list.
A bullet journal is another type of journal that is very popular these days. I don’t have one but I suppose my weekly and montly calendar is like a bullet journal. I write down my appointments for the day, my goals for the day, the things I need to do for the day and sometimes I even write down quotes that I like. However, I think bullet journals these days are more organized and comprehensive. Some people sketch in them with pretty pens of different colors to the point of art-worthy. If you google bullet journal, you can get some ideas on how to get started with bullet journaling. You will also see some examples of bullet journaling and you will see what I mean by art-worthy. There are alot of artistic people who have these bullet journals. They like to doodle or sketch in their bullet journals. I like scrolling through my instagram to see different people’s bullet journals. They are beautiful.
Which leads me to my last type of journal you can have, a mood journal. I used to be a rage-a-holic. In fact, when I started my blog, my tagline was “Confessions of a Rage-a-holic”. I actually had a mood journal. I didn’t write in it very often, only when I could sense my mood changing, mostly to anger. When that happened, I would write the date, my mood for the day in one word, the time of day, the trigger for this mood (the reason why I thought I felt this way or the things that happened that lead to this mood) and most importantly, solutions. A mood journal is almost like an ABC chart. If you are a behaviorist, you know what I am talking about. An ABC stands for Antecedent, Behavior and Consequence. Except, instead of consequence, I would write a solution. I am now far from being the rage-a-holic that I used to be. I have my gratitude journal, this blog and meditation to thank for that. But if you are experiencing a variety of moods and you want to know why and help yourself “calm the blank down”, a mood journal might help.
In all of these journals, you can add a motivating quote for the day. I feel that quotes help alot. I feel that they help with the processing and the motivating and the inspiring. Therefore, I feel that quotes in your journal are an excellent idea. Any quote that fits your mood works.
I recommend starting a journal of any kind that fits your lifestyle. For me, it is a gratitude journal but for someone else, it might be a fitness journal. Either way, they are meant to motivate and inspire you as well as give you a way to express yourself.
If you don’t know where to start, there are books and websites that can help you. In fact, I was recently given an opportunity to review a couple of workbooks for children. Guess what the name of these workbooks are? They are great, by the way. One is called “My Happy Place” and the other is called “My Gratitude and Dream Journal”. “My Happy Place” is geared specifically for children. “My Gratitude and Dream Journal” is designed for all ages but is great for kids and teens. These books were written, created and illustrated by a mother daughter duo- Sheleen Lepar and Helene Pam. Check out their website at purplesplashstudios.com
I can’t wait to review these journals and I will post that review very soon.
“May I suggest that you write, that you keep journals, that you express your thoughts on paper…You will bless the lives of many—your families and others—now and in the years to come.”- Gordon B. Hinckley
What type of journals do you have or have you had? What type of journals do you recommend? Let us know. You never know who you can inspire.