5 Steps To Starting A Killer Journal And Actually Sticking With It

5 Steps To Starting A Killer Journal And Actually Sticking With It

Coming from a self-proclaimed journal expert and featuring rare photos from the pages of my own journal.
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For the longest time, I wanted to start a journal but was so intimidated by the prospect of actually sticking with one. I'd occasionally kept journals as a kid, but they were the most boring things ever to read back through.

(I actually introduced myself and each member of my family, and I'm still not sure why because I never let anyone else read it??? So confused.)

Finally, a couple years ago, I just bought a notebook and started. That was it. I had no idea how much I would grow through it. It was definitely a learning process, though- so, here's what you need to know.

1. Start small.

Don't try to do too much too early. Different things work for different people, obviously. I actually started mine initially as a gratitude journal. I just tried to be relatively (emphasis on the word relatively, here) consistent writing down one or, if I was feeling wild, two things a day that made me happy. This was a great way to begin.

I don't know about you, but for me the things I write down have a huge impact on the way in which I think. This helped me grow so much in my contentment. I had no expectation that starting this would literally transform my whole perspective on life. I started seeing and noticing things that I hadn't before, and my discontent just kind of wavered and faded pretty significantly.

So, if that's not enough reason for you to start joural-ing, just after point one, then wow.

2. Consistency is not that key.

While I said that I tried for consistency, I didn't beat myself up when I missed a day, or week, or month. You may be a little disappointed but you'll be fine, and so will your journal. Don't be so hard on yourself! You can always go back and fill in the details you missed.

3. Paste bits of your life.

Keep the random scraps of paper. Keep the movie ticket, the polaroid, the note from your little sister or the kids you babysit. Go pick a wildflower and press it between the pages. Keep the plane ticket, that random sketch, the stray petal from a dozen roses. Scrapbook that random magazine laying around the house. Write down that quote that means so much to you.

This lets you remember the little things that matter to you, and gets your journal looking super aesthetic. Bonus points.

4. Don't limit yourself.

When I first started, I found myself forcing myself into the gratitude journal format or holding back from writing what was on my heart in case someone else ended up reading it. Here's my advice about that: don't do that.

For one thing, your emotions and your thoughts are not supposed to be limited to joyful happiness and gratitude. This is not the way you are made, so don't try to pretend that that's how you are.

Write about what makes you cry at 1 a.m., what makes your heart clench and ache in the middle of a crowded room. Write about that longing you don't want to admit in the light. Write out the words you wish you could take back. Maybe you'll scribble them out or blur them with tears, but put it down on the paper. Let it out.

For me, this is where honesty starts. If I can't be honest with myself, then I'll never be honest with anyone else.

5. Read back over them.

This has been such an unforeseen blessing and encouragement to me. Looking back over scraps of prayers and seeing how the Lord has worked in my heart is one of my favorite things about journal-ing.

Because you forget. You really do forget what it was like to be in that place of hurting or lost-ness. You forget how sweet it was to be healed or found, and you read over old journals and it all comes back. It's such a beautiful testimony to God's grace in growing me in ways I couldn't have imagined.

So, yeah, just go start. It really is that easy.

Cover Image Credit: Photo by Galymzhan Abdugalimov on Unsplash

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11 Things You Understand If You Hate Physical Contact

Please keep your hands and feet away from me at all times.
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We currently live in a world where EVERYONE LIKES TO TOUCH EACH OTHER. People enjoy hugs, high fives, tapping others on the shoulder, pokes, ect. For someone like you and me (I'm assuming you too since you clicked on this article), this is the WORST thing in the world. Whenever I think of someone touching me (even just a poke) without my permission my reaction is like Sofia Vergara in Modern Family.

I mean, when I take that love languages quiz, physical touch is always on the bottom of my preferences. So I thought to my self, you know I can't be the only person in the world that hates physical touching. So here are 11 things every person who hates physical touch will understand:


1. When people tickle you

I don't care that it's just for fun and jokes; I'm not laughing because I want to, you are literally forcing me to laugh. I hate you, get your greasy hands off of me before I make you get them off of me.


2. When people think they need to tap your shoulder to get your attention

As if simply saying "Hey" followed by my name wasn't enough. I don't need your grubby little fingers touching me. Now I'm annoyed with you before this conversation even started, what do you want?


3. When someone you barely know reaches in for a hug

I don't know who the heck you're thinking you're about to hug because it sure isn't going to be me. Hugs are reserved for people I know well and like, not you. Okay release me now, I am not enjoying this. LET ME GO.


4. When people tell you that you aren't an affectionate person

Are you aware there are ways to show my affection without constantly being all over you like a koala bear? Yes, I'm affectionate, hop off.


5. When someone is in your personal space

We could be best friends, we could be complete strangers. We could be lovers, I could hate your guts. We could be in private, we could be in public. I don't care what the situation is, if you're in my personal space uninvited GET OUT. There is no reason to be so close to me unwarranted.


6. You don't know how to comfort people

When you see an upset loved one, most people think they you should comfort then by pulling them into a long lasting hug. But, that's the kind of things that your nightmares are literally made out of. So, you stand there confused how you should comfort your friend/relative while also not sacrificing your touch moral code.


7. When people say you "look like you could use a hug"

Um no. I never could use one, get off of me. I will let you know when I want one.


8. When you're hugging someone wondering how soon you can release

Please end my suffering.


9. When you arrive at a social gathering and people rush to greet you with hugs

Let's not.

10. When you try to leave a social gathering by just waving to get out of goodbye hugs

Please no one make me hug you.


11. That one person who is allowed to hug you/touch you

This person, typically a significant other or best friend, gets to break all the "no touch" rules and we gladly accept their hugs and cuddles and public displays of affection. But only them, no one can copy them.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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12 Classics That All College Students Should Read

Reading is important — yet many people forget about books.

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These are the classics that I think all college students should read.

1. "Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger

This classic by J.D. Salinger is a staple for many high school kids. Yet, I believe college students should revisit this novel, as it's a great portrayal of adolescence.

2. "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald 

Love him or hate him, Jay Gatsby is one of literature's most recognizable characters. "The Great Gatsby" is a tragic story of a man stuck in the past, and a grim warning of the empty happiness money buys.

3. "The Time Machine" by H.G. Wells

H.G. Wells was far beyond his time. His novel, "The Time Machine," explores what would happen if time-travelling could happen. It's both an evocative and frightening tale, full of important philosophical questions.

4. "The Picture of Dorian Gray" by Oscar Wilde 

This novel is about the degradation of Dorian Gray, and his descent into depravity. It showcases one of the greatest character declines in literature. By the end, Dorian Gray finds his life to be empty, his hedonistic lifestyle pointless.

5. "Norwegian Wood" by Haruki Murakami 

Haruki Murakami is famous for his surreal novels. "Norwegian Wood" follows a college student in Japan, as he navigates life after a tragedy. It's both beautiful yet melancholy. If nothing else, it'll get you listening to the Beatles' Norwegian Wood.

6. "Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Bronte 

I consider "Jane Eyre" to be one of the first feminist novels. It's a fantastic Gothic novel about an independent and strong woman — Jane Eyre — who meets the mysterious Mr. Rochester. It's more than a romance — it's a commentary on Victorian societal expectations of women, with Jane representing objection to it.

7. "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak

This novel is a beautiful story about a girl in Nazi Germany. Liesel Meminger knows the importance of books, and uses her knowledge and kindness to save a Jewish refugee. It's a poignant novel that expresses the importance of literature and books.

8. Any Sherlock Holmes mystery by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

If you've watched the Sherlock series with Benedict Cumberbatch, then you should definitely give the novels a go. The mysteries are exciting and intriguing, despite their old age.

9. "Great Expectations" by Charles Dickens

This is one of my absolute favorites novels. It follows a young boy named Pip, who befriends a beggar, meets the depraved Miss Havisham, and falls in love with unattainable Estella. This novel is at once a bildungsroman and a tragedy.

10.  "Lolita" by Vladimir Nabokov 

This controversial novel by Vladimir Nobokov follows the perspective of Humbert Humbert, a depraved man who falls in love with 12-year-old Lolita. Nobokov showcases his mastery of the English language, while writing a depraved and tragic story following two terrible people.

11.  "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen

Perhaps one of the most famous novels of all time, "Pride and Prejudice" stands the test of time by showing how two outwardly opposite and contrary people can come together and form an amazing love. It's about accepting one's flaws and getting to know people beyond surface level.

12.  "All Quiet on the Western Front" by Erich Maria Remarque

This is a fantastic novel that depicts the absolute horrors of war, particularly World War I. If this doesn't enlighten you about the realities and horrors of war, then no book will.

Reading is important as it broadens one's horizon. Literature is one of the greatest inventions of mankind.

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