Journaling can take serious discipline if you’re a busy body, but it is super important for your day to day life, because it organizes your money, social life, emotions, and goals. For most people, I feel like you truly don’t know what’s going on unless you see it written down on paper and have it visually in front of you.
Personally, I like using bullet journals because it gives me a sandbox to design, doodle and write. They’re pretty easy to come by, so make sure whichever you pick it suits you and you feel comfortable with it.
I’m a stationary fanatic, so a good pen that writes nice in my preference is a must, I always have some type of ruler or protractor for straight lines, although, I admit I don’t use it often enough… A pencil for draft doodling and a nice chunky eraser for max erasing. I also like colored pencils in my notebooks because it adds flavor and doesn’t bleed through pages. But you can literally go anywhere with this. Stickers, collages, dried flowers, etc.
Use mediums you enjoy, but I do encourage trying to step out of your comfort zone because it will boost your confidence and creativity.
So, there’s a number of things you can put in a bullet journal but I love starting out with a landing page that is literally just my name. The next page I find important is a lil about me page that shows blurbs about your life. You can lay this out however you need to but I tend to google for inspiration. I always do everything in pencil first and then go over it in pen and erase the pencil marks because I HATE making mistakes and having to cover it up or rip the page out.
Another important thing I think everyone should do is make a birthday page to remind yourselves of important dates, and if you want, make a bucket list.
Now I’m emphasizing that the key to successful journaling is your calendar. I always give each month a grid layout of the days and write important reminders like bills, birthdays, events, work schedules, appointments, etc. You can get lengthy if you want, but you’ll probably need to extend your calendar space. Then close by my calendar Is my detrimental habit which is bill organizing. I lay out my bills by due date and then I list them on another page and separate them between pay days so I know the total of what I need to have set aside. That way, I don’t overspend, and I can plan my budget accordingly for plans or savings. I cannot tell you enough how much my debt has gone down just by simply doing this. This page was way more full with cards than it is now. And oh, I also indicate which are automatic payments, so that I know which are not. And sometimes I write the remaining balance just to see where i’m at.
I also would do mood journaling which was detrimental to document for me because I suffer from bipolar 2 – So when I was figuring out my meds and trying them for the first time after years of no being medicated, I could concretely keep track of how it was effecting me and found the right balance along the way. These, I like to get creative with and do cute drawings to color in so that its not so plain, but you can do whatever.
That can also be done for habit tracking, especially for people like me who forget when the last time I watered the plants was, or cleaned the litter box, or looked through expiration dates. If you give yourself a tidy chore list each da, it will definitely boost production.
One thing I love doing is reflecting on who and what I’m grateful for. That way it captures where i’m at in life and who is in it as well. It’s always never a bad time to be appreciative of the little things in life.
That also leads to one of my favorite things to journal is where I remind to myself what makes me happy. I had a happy journal I would write in so that when I was depressed I could look through it and remind myself what I love and am good at, but I didn’t look at it as often as I should have, so I implemented it in here. And if you don’t keep secrets in your journal, It’d be good to share this knowledge with someone close to you so they can know how to cheer you up or at least try.
Other ideas could be to set out goals or wishes for the following month and then reflecting how it went at the end, but I tend to not be so good at that stuff although I did try.
And then the other topic that is key to journaling is obviously, daily journaling. Even if it’s not something long, you can just say, today I did xyz. I tend to not dedicate pages to this because If I did a page per day my journal would fill up fast, but excerpts of a summary of my day or a quote or something keeps you on track.
I do advise however, and please take this into consideration.. Try not to write when you’re upset about why you’re upset. I can’t tell you how good I am at writing when I’m upset, but when I look back, all I see is how my life sucks and it makes me more upset vs seeing what , my life has to offer. If you need to, try to keep a separate journal for this that you can burn, and try to keep your daily journal more light hearted so that its not so dark. That doesn’t mean you need to pretend or mask your feelings, just trust mention, if you’re afraid people will read it, you should keep those thoughts separate because keeping this daily journal on you is more practical.
Keep your poems here, your ideas, your knowledge and whatever else that comes to mind. I’m always pinteresting things that spark ideas for my bullet journal, and instead of using stickers, I like doodling things I googled how to draw because it makes me proud and makes the journal nicer to look at. Aesthetic is definitely key in these things.
Of course, like many others, I get lazy or forget to journal – it really does take discipline and some days you really may not be in the mood. But if you think of it in a way that is – you are making yourself make the time FOR yourself. It gets easier. Think of it like medication or birth control and set a time to journal real quick in the morning, at night, or both. Take your journal with you if you can so you can journal if you’re waiting in line or riding along in the car.
Truly, there is no right or wrong way to journal. And as a beginner, just focus on staying consistent. If you don’t want the overwhelming organization junk, stick to making your calendar and organizing your bills. When you get into that habit, add some more features to your journal. I found my first bullet journal to be rocky and somewhat ugly, so my second is a better hope for aesthetic. But like I said, there’s no right or wrong way to do things as long as it works.