How to Start Journaling: Journaling When You Wake Up for a Better Day

How to start a journal and get inspiration to keep going with it. With 20 daily journal prompts, you’ll never wonder what to write about. Use these ideas to boost creativity and productivity, and acts as personal therapy.

Have you always wondered if you should start a journal? The answer is a big, fat yes! There are so many benefits of journaling from clearing your mind, to illuminating gratefulness, improving productivity and eliminating stress.

I’ve started incorporating journaling into my morning routine and it’s helped my days feel so much more creative, productive and fulfilling. In this post I’m breaking down how to start journaling and the importance of journaling when you wake up! 

How journaling can change your life

There is so much power in writing things down on paper. If you consistently write down your goals and dreams, your hopes and desires, your wishes for the future and gratitude for the present, not only will you feel SO thankful every day, you’ll also start making significant steps toward your future.

If your goals and desires stay locked up in your mind, it can only take you so far. Writing your thoughts down can help you completely transform your life into one you’ve always dreamed up.

It’s truly amazing how journaling can change your life. There have been numerous times I have looked back in my notebook to find goals I’ve written down months before only to find that I’ve made them happen. When you get your subconscious thoughts into the conscious world, amazing things can happen.

Journaling: How to get started

Figure out why journaling is important to you

If you’re feeling called to start journaling, figure out why journaling is important to you. Journaling has been found to improve mental health, reduce stress and anxiety, clear your mind, enhance creativity and propel you towards your goals, among many other helpful things.

Of course there may be multiple reasons why journaling is important to you, but hone in on one specific reason to really make the most of your journaling sessions, especially if you’re just starting out.

Choose your journal type

There are so many different types of journals and ways to journal, and no one is better than the rest. It all depends on what type of journaling speaks to you the most. Choosing the right journal is going to make you excited to get up and start writing every day. You can also switch up the types of journals you use depending on how you’re feeling that day.

Here are 4 different types of journals you can keep (there are more of course, but I wanted to share ones I’ve used before!):

  • Gratitude journal: Write down everything you’re grateful for
  • Availability journal: Write down everything you’re available for and everything you’re not available for. For example on your “available for” list you can include things such as relationships that lift you up, an abundance of wealth, and a healthy mind and body; and on your “not available for” list, you an include things such as negative people, judgement and being in debt.
  • Goals journal: Write down a list of your short term and long term goals
  • Bullet journal: Keep track of your past, order the present and design your future

If you’re wondering how to start a bullet journal, check out the beginners guide to bullet journaling by Carrie Crista!

Invest in a journal you love

Once you’ve decided on what type of journal you want to keep, it’s time to buy your journal! You can either choose to buy a blank journal and create your own entries, or invest in something like the Five Minute Journal to help you with journal prompts every day!

If you’re not familiar with the Five Minute Journal, I wrote a post about the Five Minute Journal and how it’s the one tool you need for self care and mindfulness!

20 Daily journaling prompts

If you’re stuck on what to write in your journal, here are 20 daily journaling prompts to help you get started.

  1. I am grateful for:
  2. I am available for:
  3. I am not available for:
  4. My one-month/6-month/ one-year (etc.) goals are:
  5. Things that make me happy:
  6. Where I was this time last year:
  7. My ideal day looks like:
  8. My dream life looks like:
  9. What my life will look like in 5 years:
  10. My biggest accomplishments are:
  11. The world needs more:
  12. These are the habits I need to break:
  13. Things that no longer serve me:
  14. The toughest time in my life was:
  15. The biggest obstacle I’ve overcome is:
  16. The best advice I’ve ever received:
  17. Where I want to travel:
  18. What I wish I knew five years ago:
  19. My biggest dream and how I plan to get there:
  20. The best part of yesterday:

Keeping a Journal: Tips  

Here are my best tips for keeping a journal when you’re just starting out!

1. Make journaling a habit

It takes time to develop good habits. If you want to make journaling a daily habit, keep it beside your bed so you see it right when you wake up in the morning. Journaling when you wake up can transform your day, so do it as soon as you get out of bed every single day! 

2. Make time for journaling

Making it a habit also likely means you need to make extra time for journaling. Integrating it into part of your morning routine may mean you have to wake up earlier, so make it happen! Making time for it is the only way you’re going to stick to journaling.

3. Find a pen you love

A good pen is so key to journaling. I love the feeling of a smooth pen gliding along the paper as you write, and there’s nothing worse than trying to write with a pen that keeps running out or a pen that bleeds. Find a pen you love and write with it every day! 

4. Give yourself a time limit

Life gets busy and sometimes we put self care tasks on the back burner for more pressing things (like posting to Instagram or checking our emails…). If you give yourself a time limit for journaling every day, it will ensure you stay in your seat and writing. Set a timer and don’t stop until your time runs out.

5. Don’t censor or judge yourself

Your journal is yours and yours only. Give yourself permission to be your true you and don’t censor what you’re writing or judge yourself for your thoughts and goals.

Journaling is your chance to be vulnerable and to be your most authentic self. You can write things you may be embarrassed of or not want to tell anyone else. Use it as a way to let go of stress and negativity you’ve been holding on to and give yourself no judgement as you’re doing so.

Journaling when you wake up

Journaling when you wake up is one of the best things you can do to get a head start on your day and live a more fulfilled life. The morning is when your subconscious mind is most active, making it a great time to get your thoughts down on paper.

As soon as I wake up in the morning, I grab my journal and my reading, do a ten minute meditation and then write in my journal. I usually switch between writing down what I’m grateful for, what I am/am not available for, and my goals.

This sets the tone for the rest of my day in such an amazing way. I always feel so clear, thankful and ready to take on my to do list after I’ve journaled. Even a quick five minute journaling session can completely transform your day!

How to journal for self improvement

If you’re wondering how to journal for self improvement, the answer is simple. Journaling in itself will help with personal development. The way it pushes you to dig deep into what you truly want on how you want your life to turn out is amazing in itself. 

Journaling helps improve everything from your productivity and creativity to self-growth and mental health. Here’s how to journal for self improvement:

  1. Write your goals, thoughts and dreams down on paper
  2. Make sure to write down your thoughts as they come, don’t think too much
  3. Be really honest about what you want in your life
  4. Reflect on your goals on a regular basis to see what you can tweak and improve

How can journaling help you succeed?

Journaling can help you succeed in so many ways. It can help you reach your goals, be more focused, foster more positive relationships and best your best self! Here’s how journaling can help you succeed:

1.  Jot down good ideas

Whenever a good idea strikes you, write it down! Have a notebook handy at all times so you can jot down your brilliance as it comes.

I’ll often think of a blog post idea when I’m cooking dinner, or a business idea will come to me as I’m getting ready for bed. Make sure you write these ideas down so you don’t forget about them! Then, put them into action!

2. Take notes while reading personal/career development books

Reading a good book is one thing, but actually taking time to put a book’s advice into action is another. Whenever you’re reading a personal or career development book, have a notebook with you. Make sure to note anything that can help you propel to success!

3. Envision the future

One of the most powerful things you can do to succeed is figuring out exactly where you want to go. Write down all the things you want in your future. This put yours dreams into the Universe and makes it more likely that you’ll do the work to get you where you want to be!

4. Write down your goals

I know I’ve mentioned this a few times throughout this article, but that means that I really, really believe in its power. I’m constantly writing down my goals, re-jigging them and reflecting on them. This has been one of the main things that’s led to my success and one of the best things you can do to reach success too! 

Journaling can change your life in the most amazing ways. If you haven’t started journaling yet, it’s time to start today! Get yourself a journal and pen you love and start writing!

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How to start journaling for anxiety and stress. Journaling ideas to boost your mood and improve your mental health. Take your self care into your own hands and use these prompts to live more fulfilling days.

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1 Comment

  1. Reply


    December 12, 2018

    I have been writing a gratitude journal from the past few years and it has changed my life completely. I am so grateful for everything.

    Thanks for this amazing article.