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9 Best Journaling Techniques 

Calm your chaos with journaling! I know everyone has been buzzing about how journaling has changed their lives, and I’ve been skeptical too – until I tried it myself. Everyone seems to have an opinion on the best journaling techniques. Many of us may have tried journaling and weren’t able to stick to it or have given up trying because it didn’t really help us or it was too hard to continue.

But maybe we just haven’t found the perfect pairing of the purpose we want to give journaling and how we do it?
Let’s find your perfect pairing! We’re going to dive into its benefits and figure out the best journal technique for you to try out.

Benefits of Journaling

To figure out the best technique to use, you need to ask yourself why you may want to journal. Overall, journaling helps you process, digest, and layout what’s inside your mind. It can be about work, relationships, goals, health, or anything really going on in our lives. 

  • It helps us be honest with ourselves and process our thoughts 
  • Allows us to figure out how we feel or think about an issue 
  • It relieves stress, anxiety, and worries 
  • It can help boost mental health 
  • Lets out emotions we have bottled up 
  • Helps with manifestations 
  • Lays out our desires, goals, and priorities
  • It helps with our memories 
  • It gives a way to track our progress or emotions 
  • It can help boost creativity

The benefits are boundless! You decide what you want to gain out of journaling! Don’t be afraid to try it out, especially if you’re unsure about how long you can commit to it. Journaling doesn’t have to be done daily or feel like a task, do what works for you

9 Best Journaling Techniques You Need To Know 

So, how do we transfer the chaos in our minds onto journal pages? There’s a bunch of different ways to journal, and the amazing thing is that you don’t have to only stick to one. Think of your journal as your brain, but just in book-version, it’s totally customizable to fit who you are. 

 

1. Free Writing

What Is It? 

It’s as simple as the name suggests – you’re free to write about anything and everything. It can be about your feelings, ideas, or describing your experiences. It’s for you to continue writing and letting all your thoughts flow onto the pages, and it does not have any structure to it. You’re free to let your mind wander! 

Favored By: 

People who have anxiety or just have a lot of things on their minds. It’s perfect if you need to release and process your thoughts, experience, and ideas. 

How Does It Work? 

Your objective is just to keep going until you squeeze all your worries, thoughts, and chaos onto the pages. So, don’t worry about grammatical and spelling errors, don’t even be critical about your writing in any sense. 

You can start your mornings with journaling or write whenever you’re faced with roadblocks.

It helps you digest what happened and allows you to carry on with your day feeling relieved. It could also be great for bursts of ideas for an upcoming book or business you want to go do in the future. You’re absolutely free to talk about the smallest and trivial topics to reflect on vital experiences. 

How Do You Do It? 

You may feel a little lost due to the lack of structure, so here are some suggestions for you to start!

  • Try freewriting a page or even a paragraph a day.
  • You can try to give yourself 10-15 minutes of your day just to write continuously.
  • Write about your anxieties or how you’re feeling throughout the day

Purpose:  

  • Gives you clarity 
  • Let’s you reflect on yourself and the situation 
  • Let’s you be truly honest with ourselves past criticism and fear 
  • Help get over mental roadblocks and anxiety 

Look Out For: 

  • Sometimes you can get too carried away with writing 
  • It can take time to adapt and follow fully

 

2.  One Line A Day Journaling

What Is It? 

One Line A Day Journaling is an easy method to get into journaling and the habit of writing daily. As the name explains, you only write one line each day. You can write and reflect on one key point of your day. It’s super easy and not time-consuming at all! 

Favored By: 

People who want to get into journaling but don’t have the time or commitment to do so daily.

How Does It Work? 

Since writing a line each day is not very difficult, you immediately feel a sense of accomplishment. This is exactly what makes you want to keep doing it every day!

Talking about one key point of your day could be something important, like closing a deal to something really small like eating your favorite dish. It can help you become mindful and even appreciate the little things in life. It’s also a great way to look back and see how things have changed over the weeks or even months. It’ll be like a compact time capsule of your days! 

How Do You Do It? 

Writing only one key point of your day can be difficult, so I suggest you look at prompts to help you. It can be the same one for the week or month, or you can change it every day. Here are some examples:

  • What are you most thankful for today?
  • What did you accomplish today? 
  • How did you take a break today?
  • How are you feeling today? 

Purpose:  

  • Helps you get into journaling and writing every day 
  • Easy to adapt and not time-consuming 
  • Get to see your progress over the weeks or month 

Look Out For: 

  • Trying to fit everything about your day in one line 

If you find yourself doing this, maybe consider a different journaling technique – keep reading to find out which one is for you! 

 

3. Dream Journaling

What Is It?

It’s a cool and creative way to keep track of your dreams. I know it sounds funny, but keeping track of your dreams has its benefits! Our dreams can be very vivid or something we can barely recall but is still affected by it. Without you knowing it, having a good dream or nightmare can impact how we go on with our day. It also can give us a view of our emotions that we don’t even realize we are feeling. Your dreams can also be a great way to get creative ideas for that next fantasy book or graphic design you’re planning to do. 

Favored By:

People who want to understand and keep track of their dreams and people who want to use their dreams as a creative source. 

How Does It Work?

Now, there is a science to your dreams and how they reflect your subconscious mind and emotions. Studies show that the emotions we experience in our dreams have significance in how we’re actually feeling. So, taking note of what we experience in our dreams can help us increase awareness and better understand our feelings.

Recalling our dreams also is a great way to exercise our memory. Also, our dreams aren’t always realistic. It would be exciting and fun to use your dreams as a muse for your upcoming creative venture. 

How Do You Do It?

I know how recalling dreams can be difficult to do, so it’s best to do it first thing in the morning! Have your journal next to your bedside table and start scribbling. If you saw things in your dream that you need to draw out, feel free to do so! You don’t necessarily have to always write in the journal because there will be days where you can’t recall your dream, or you didn’t have any at all. 

By journaling, you can notice if there are any patterns. These patterns can be experienced, emotions you feel, or recurring characters or objects in your dream. All of these can contribute to uncovering what’s going in your head. Maybe something is bothering you subconsciously, and your dreams can help you figure out what that is. 

Purpose:

  • Improves memory 
  • Help process your emotions 
  • Source for creativity 

Look Out For:

  • Recalling your dreams can be difficult 
  • It’s time-consuming, especially if you’re crunched for time in the mornings 

 

4. Goal Journaling

What Is It?

Whether it’s leaving that 9-5 job or changing our entire lifestyle, we all have goals. Small or ambitious goals, having a journal helps us make those intentions a reality. Don’t worry; this journal isn’t only reserved for people who have work-related goals; this could be for your health, studies, and passions! 

Favored By:

People who are goal-oriented and want a way to keep track of it. 

How Does It Work?

Studies have shown that writing our goals will increase the likelihood of achieving them. With this journal, we get to visualize and keep track of our progress. The steps we take to achieve our goals are what actually boosts our happiness and motivation to keep going. 

If you have multiple goals spanning from work to lifestyle, you can section out your journal. You can also consider writing both your short and long-term goals. 

How Do You Do It?

You’re free to customize your journal with what fits you best. But here are some tips on how you can optimize your goals in your journal. 

  • Set SMART goals 
  • Highlight your priorities and values 
  • Try to set a timeframe 
  • Set weekly, monthly, and yearly objectives that lead to your goal 
  • Try to elaborate on the steps that you have to take to get there

If you want to know more about how you should actually be setting your goals, check out “Best Goal Setting Hacks for Busy Entrepreneurs”.  

Purpose:

  • It helps you visualize your goal
  • Keeps your accountable 
  • Helps motivate you 

Look Out For:

  • We can sometimes set unrealistic goals for ourselves

 

5. Dialoguing

What Is It?

Dialoguing is having a Journal Dialogue. I know it may sound a little funny, but it’s one of the best ways to really get deep down in our minds, find the pattern and connect the dots. There are emotions, reactions, and thoughts we have that we don’t fully know why they are of that nature. But with this type of journaling, we’re going deep and hopefully find clarity on the other end! 

Favored By:

People who have depression, heavily stressed or burnt out.

How Does It Work?

You may be thinking, “How does this differ from freewriting? I get to write about anything that is on my mind?” Well, you aren’t wrong; they’re similar but different. Journal Dialogue is writing your inner monologue about your emotion and thoughts, but we’re trying to go deeper than the surface. In this journal, you’re trying to answer “WHY” you do or feel the way you do. 

This is great if you just had a massive fight, your temper has been very short lately, or you’ve been feeling out of it. 

How Do You Do It?

It can sound intimidating to do but trust the process! Now, it’s a two-way dialogue; you’re basically conversing and answering yourself. Here are some tips on how you can make the most out of this technique. 

  • Meditate before journaling 
  • Give yourself 25 uninterrupted minutes
  • Remember to answer: WHY 
  • Start your dialogue with the issue and your feelings 
  • If it involves another person, consider WHY they reacted the way they did 

This should help and bring clarity with yourself, emotions, and even relationships! Some things can be easily solved by communicating and being vulnerable with yourself. But there are things that we all need a little more time to do and master – and that’s okay. 

Purpose:

  • Reflection 
  • Brings clarity about our nature 
  • Helps us understand our emotions and thoughts 

Look Out For:

  • It can be hard to find the core reason 
  • Time-consuming 
  • It requires a lot of focus, empathy, and reflection

 

6. Bullet Journaling

What Is It?

I’m sure you’ve heard about bullet journaling and how it’s taken over the stationery world by storm. But let’s break down what it actually is. A bullet journal is usually a plain or dotted journal that incorporates to-do lists, mind maps, reminders, schedules, and brainstorming all in one place. It can be as minimalist or sophisticatedly chaotic as you want it to be! 

Favored By:

Creatives and people who have a lot of moving parts in their life.

How Does It Work?

A bullet journal is 100% customizable to fit your needs, which is exactly why a blank or dotted journal is preferred. It gives you the freedom to create layouts, lines, titles, and keys to organize your chaos the best way you can understand it. 

It lets you have different components in one place, which is great, especially if they’re connected or interlinked. For example, you have an interview that is scheduled on Friday, but you have tasks and priorities you need to complete to be prepared. Your bullet journal can encompass all of that in one place! That way, you don’t miss or forget anything. 

How Do You Do It?

Everyone’s bullet journal will be different, and that’s because of the layout and symbols we choose to represent certain things. Here’s a list of things you should consider when making your own: 

  • Sentences are swapped for short phrases 
  • Tasks and priorities have different symbols 
  • Use different colors to show completed items 
  • Ass keywords and notation that can help you easily understand 

It’s perfect for getting really creative or minimal. You can use highlights, markers, stickers, and funky tape!  You can also check out Youtube videos on different ideas on how to layout your journals! 

Purpose:

  • Can cover a variety of topics and aspects 
  • Allows you to be creative 
  • Visualizes tasks

Look Out For:

  • It can be time-consuming 
  • Reflecting on progress can be hard 
  • Hard to continue 

 

7. Plan Your Day

What Is It?

The name explains what it is – a journal to help you plan and tackle your day! We can get so caught up trying to think of what we need to do in the following weeks or feeling bad about not completing tasks last week. What we really need is to stay present and be productive now so that we don’t have regrets in the future. Hence, a plan your day journal is perfect for doing that. 

Favored By:

People with anxiety and those who think they’re busy but not productive.

How Does It Work?

You can include your reflections and to-do lists in the journal. Writing down your goals can help you track your progress, see the steps you need to take, and visualize how close you are to achieving your goal. It’s a great way to ensure you aren’t distracted and feel motivated every time you complete a task. 

How Do You Do It?

There are three aspects to consider, your work, personal, and leisure. Try having a balance of the three and setting goals for each day throughout the day. Consider writing your to-do list or tasks first thing in the morning and include a section to reflect at the end of your day. Here are some prompts you can include to help you reflect! If reflecting every day is too much, you can do it weekly! 

  • What’s the one big goal you’re working towards for tomorrow. 
  • Name three things that you’re releasing. 
  • List three things that makes you feel grateful.

Purpose:

  • Highlights your priorities for the day 
  • Helps increase productivity and focus

Look Out For:

  • Over or underestimating the time spent on each task

 

8. Reflection Journal

What Is It?

Your reflection journal is going to be your safe haven to be completely honest with yourself and your emotions about things that have transpired in the past. You can reflect every day, weekly or monthly about anything, roadblocks, your wins, losses, or emotions. It could even be about your childhood, relationships, or even your teenage years!

Favored By:

People who need clarification about the past, or someone who likes to see their progress. It’s also great for people who want one-way conversations with themselves and see reflecting as a way to grow. 

How Does It Work?

We all have something to reflect on! Reflecting can help us grow, expand our point of view, and see how far we’ve come. It can also help us understand other people, as well as ourselves. It’s a way for us to be really honest and uncensored. It can really be about anything, good or bad! 

How Do You Do It?

It really depends on what you’re reflecting on. You can be as detailed as you want about the event and then begin to reflect! Here’s a little routine you can do, 

Step 1: Meditate 

Step 2: Allocate 15-30 minutes of uninterrupted time

Step 3: Layout what happened 

Step 4: Reflect on your actions and emotions 

Step 5: Highlight things you are proud of 

Step 6: Highlight things you want to change and how 

Step 7: Pat yourself on the back – reflecting can be a lot! 

Purpose:

  • Help keep track of your habits 
  • Brings clarity and contentment 
  • Helps growth 

Look Out For:

  • Time-consuming 
  • Reflecting can be difficult 
  • You can be distracted if you don’t have a specific subject 

 

9. Gratitude Journal

What Is It?

Let’s take a breather and really be present! Now, the perfect way to do that is with a gratitude journal. This is where you set time from your day, week, or even month – whenever you feel comfortable just to sit and be thankful. 

Favored By:

It’s amazing for people who want to appreciate life! It’s great to improve relationships, decrease depression, and increase self-confidence. 

How Does It Work?

Writing down things we are thankful for really positively impacts our lives. It motivates us to be better people, be productive, and achieve our goals. Writing down what we are grateful for makes us reflect on what we already have, making us happier and more content with our lives. It also helps us live in the present and see how far we have come! Gratitude journaling sets a time for us to appreciate ourselves, our hard work, and progress! 

How Do You Do It?

We have a lot of things in our lives we can be thankful for. It could be our progress, the people who surround us, to even the mundane, like being happy you ate your favorite meal today. The best way to ensure you do set enough time for yourself to complete this is to time block it into your schedule. Also, if you feel lost or unmotivated that day, consider using prompts: 

  • Something funny that happened 
  • A small thing that made you happy 
  • An opportunity you got this month 
  • Someone that helped you 

Purpose:

  • It helps you stay present 
  • You become happier and content
  • Appreciate yourself and your progress 
  • It motivates your to keep going 

Look Out For:

  • There will be bad days where it can be hard to find gratitude – but that’s okay!  

 

Did You Find the Best Journaling Technique? 

There you have it, the nine best journaling techniques that you can use! Hopefully, you found your perfect pair of purpose and techniques to keep you motivated to journal. Feel free to mix and match to customize your journal the best way it fits you! 

If you struggle with finding the time to journal, or you’d like to find your unique productivity style, the Free Get Stuff Done One Day at a Time template has an easy-to-use daily gratitude prompt in addition to setting you up for a daily win!

 

What are your thoughts? Are you ready to start or continue journaling?  

Continue to calm your chaos with Total Fit Boss Chick

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