One fun fact that you may or may not know about me, is that I have kept a daily journal for the last 10 YEARS of my life! I started writing my diary back in 2009 and couldn’t quite believe I was buying another one 10 years later this year.
In January 2009, I had this idea to document my last year of school and my first few months of university. I’d kept a diary (or journal) on and off for most of my life. My mum’s friend who looked after me as a baby even wrote a small diary for me as a two year old! I knew that 2009 was going to be a year full of change and I hoped that I was going to blossom into this confident young adult and that by January 2010 my life would be different.
It has been wonderful documenting the last 10 years – 3650 days worth of juicy (and not so juicy) stories. I’ve documented meeting Ben, how I fancied him for months and how I felt the day he kissed me. I also have a record of my battle with an eating disorder – seeing how that escalated so quickly and how long it took to recover from. I look back now at all the ups and downs and it’s so special to see it all.
I love journaling, not only for capturing those memories that might have been lost and forgotten but for so many other reasons too! Journaling helps me:
I truly believe in the power of journaling and that it can help transform your life – hence why it’s been such an easy habit for me to stick to for over 10 years. To be honest, I couldn’t imagine NOT writing a diary now.
The brilliant thing about journaling is that it doesn’t have to be as regimented as writing your life story every single day. It can be completely unique to you and what would align with your purpose, values and goals! There are so many ways that you can start journaling and I’ve tried and tested every one in this post over the years. They’re all wonderful in their own way and all help to give you clarity on some level. After all, that’s one of the most wonderful things about getting pen to paper and letting it all out. So, whether you have 5 or 10 minutes a day, week, month or year, there will be one way of keeping a journal that resonates with you. If you want more clarity, a new self-care practice or another way of connecting deeper to your truth then keep reading!
I am obsessed with practicing gratitude.
If you practice gratitude, then the universe will shower you with more things to be grateful for. This is such a powerful practice that it’s not only in my Positivity Project but I’ve also created a FREE Gratitude Diary for you to download and use.
Establishing a gratitude practice really opens you up to being grateful even for the smallest of things in your life, from the pillow you sleep on every night to the cereal you eat in the morning. It is a sure-fire way to get you out of any bad mood or funk and it gives you a greater sense of fulfilment.
Keeping a gratitude diary is so simple and really time efficient. All you have to do is write down a few key bullet points of things that you are grateful for that day. Maybe start off with 3 and when you get the hang of it, increase that list to 5 or 10! Write down your list either on the notes app on your phone, in a notebook or download my gratitude diary and write it down there! Personally, I love to write my gratitude diary in the morning as it really helps to set the tone for the day but it’s also a lovely addition to a bedtime routine!
Morning pages (created by Julia Cameron) is a journaling practice used to cultivate creativity and create personal transformation. The idea is that you have a notebook and pen next to your bed and when you wake up in the morning, before you do ANYTHING else, immediately write a few words or pages about anything! It’s simply about getting your thoughts, whatever they may be, onto paper. What you write down might be completely profound, or you might write down a whole load of words that makes no sense whatsoever.
Writing them down first thing in the morning allows you to capture your thoughts onto paper before the events of the day take over. When life gets in the way, to-do lists, anxieties and daily activities might pop into your head and prevent that creative flow. You are also your most vulnerable as soon as you wake up, so getting your thoughts onto paper at that time allows for your inner truth to come out before your ego has time to waken truly and show up. In this state, your mind is open and free and it allows our inner workings to present themselves. It opens us up to deeper transformation.
This might seem a bit pointless at the beginning and most of the time I end up doodling – but sometimes it is incredible what thoughts we wake up with and how life-changing they sometimes are – so it’s important to get them down before we forget. Again, this doesn’t have to be a long, drawn out practice – start off with 5 minutes and see where you go from there.
Ben and I do this every New Years Eve and it’s so much fun. We both take it in turns to write down our memories of the year that has just passed and acknowledge both the highs and lows. We also note down what we would love to manifest and attract into our lives the following year.
You do not have to do this with your partner or someone else in your life, you can totally do this solo, but I love comparing our notes and chatting about what we have written down as a couple. Plus, there are always unique things on each list that the other may have forgotten about and that allows for more gratitude, acknowledgment and appreciation.
Whether you’re doing it solo or with a partner, you can write down a list of categories and then bullet point and jot down anything that springs to mind that might have happened throughout the year. Remember, this isn’t a highlight reel – it’s important to appreciate and acknowledge even the lows that happened throughout the year – they are what add to you and your story just as much as the highs. Here are some categories to get you started:
You know how much I love goal setting and taking inspired action towards making dreams and visions come true.
Invest in a journal for your goals, dreams, desires and anything that you wish to manifest in your life. I love getting really elaborate and special journals so that it stands out from the rest. At the beginning of the journal write down all of your goals, dreams and visions your have for your life. Then, at the start of the month choose to focus on just 3 of those goals. Create a separate page for each in your journal and write down the following:
This last question is so important! It’s time to get specific, realistic and to hold yourself accountable. Write down what days, hours and timings you can dedicate towards this goal. Are there any appointments you need to make? How many times a week will you work on it?
Once you have done that for each of your 3 goals, put any appointments or schedules you came up with into your calendar and leave the journal to one side. At the end of the month, pick it up and look through it. Notice how much you have achieved! It’s amazing how setting intentions for the month can really spark inspired action in your life. You can either choose to stick with the same goals for the next month (in which case write them on fresh new pages) or choose 3 others.
If you love the idea of writing a daily dairy but not sure if you have the time or can make that commitment, then start off just bullet pointing key events that happened throughout your day. It doesn’t have to be a whole page of ‘dear diary…’ – it could be as simple as 3 bullet points a day ie:
Writing down 3 bullet points to begin with takes less than 5 minutes and can be done while you’re sitting in bed getting ready to sleep. After a few months, amp it up and write down a few more. That way you’re documenting your life without the pressure of writing a novel!
This is one journaling practice that I suggest to most of my clients – because it is life-changing!
Get a small notebook (something that could fit discretely in your handbag) and carry it everywhere with you. Throughout the day, anytime you feel worried or anxious about something, write it down in your book and then forget about it. Try not to let it overwhelm you or take over and instead, acknowledge that it’s there and that you’ll show it love and attention later. Set yourself a dedicated time every day to ‘worry’. Assign a length of time and you can even set a reminder on your phone. For example, when I first started this practice I was at university and my time was at 6pm for 20 minutes. At 6pm, I would take my worry journal and look at all the worries I had jotted down that day – I would allow myself to feel anything I needed to, make plans if I felt they were appropriate and challenge myself to look at the bigger picture. At the end of my 20 minutes, I’d close my journal, place it back in my handbag and continue with my evening knowing I’d given my anxieties the attention and love they needed without letting them completely control my day.
Your worry time could be at any time of day, for any length of time. I chose 6pm as I knew I’d either be home from university or my peers would have left for the day if I was still in the studio and I chose 20 minutes as I knew that having the time to make an action plan would help me for the following day. Your worry time could be as short as 5 minutes or as long as 20.
This is a great way of journaling if you don’t want to dedicate time daily to journaling or are wanting to focus on all the amazing, positive and inspiring things that happen in your life.
This is about recording all of your highlights in a notebook. They can be bullet points or full page spreads of stories and pictures. Anytime something happens that you consider a highlight of your life, write down what it was, the date and maybe even the time. Then put that journal to one side and wait for the next big (or small) highlight. Your highlight journal could be a detailed story of all the big highlights in your life, or bullet points of the smaller events. It’s completely up to you and how you choose to remember and cherish all those wonderful events in your life.
I’ve saved this one for last as not only have I spoken about it already, but it’s also the one that I have stuck with daily for over 10 years! If you have never written a daily diary before then don’t get too caught up in how long you want to keep it for or how lengthy it should be. Instead focus on jotting down your memories, emotions, events and feelings about that day.
If you have tried to write a diary before but can’t seem to stick with it then again, don’t put pressure on yourself.
So, find out a way of journaling every day that won’t fill your life with extra overwhelm. Maybe that means getting a smaller diary so you can’t write down as much, setting a designated time of day or even setting a timer on your phone to tell you when to stop.
If you miss a day it doesn’t matter – you can either leave that day OR do what I do, and write it up the next day. Sometimes I forget to write my diary for 3 or 4 days and set aside time to write up those days all in one go. The only downside about that is you might forget some of the key feelings you were experiencing but at least the main events are recorded!