The best way to start a journaling habit is to add it to an already existing habit.
Can it be that simple? Yes! Here's how.
If you typically spend 20 minutes in the morning drinking coffee or tea, that is an ideal time to start journaling.
If you watch the news on TV or scroll through news sites in the morning, substitute journaling (this has the added benefit of reducing your TV / news time) or do it during commercials.
It's not as if you are doing something new, which can require practice or rearranging, you're simply modifying something that you habitually already do. That is much easier than creating a completely new habit.
This not only makes it easy to build the habit, but there is an extra benefit to starting your day with journaling. It sets you up for a more positive day because you are, for example, reflecting on what you want in your life or on being grateful – much happier thoughts – instead of the unrelenting doom and gloom of the morning news.
What Kind of Journal Helps Establish the Habit?
Your journal is important! It is the gateway to using your imagination and thoughts to shape your life. Very important indeed.
I recommend using a hardbound journal. A spiral-bound binder suggests you can tear out the pages. It makes your thoughts and words seem impermanent.
A high quality, hard-back journal signifies that your thoughts are important to you, even if it is subconsciously.
The cover of the journal needs to be something that speaks to you – either with the words, colors, or the picture. You are more likely to use the journal if the cover itself sparks some interest within you.
You want to make it fun, not like an assignment for school or work.
How to Have Accountability for Your Journaling Habit
To hold yourself accountable, you could find a buddy who also wants to start a journaling habit. If you are doing it solo, then ask yourself (just like you would another person): Why am I journaling? What benefits am I seeking that spurred me to start this habit? Am I willing to do the (often very small amount of) work to make this a habit?
Often when we emphasize why we want something, it gives us that added incentive to actually do it.
Having trouble establishing the habit of journaling, exercising or anything else that's important to you? Learn how to solidify any habit you want with my "C.H.E.A.T. Your Way to Better Habits" course.