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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9 Reasons Crocs Are The Only Shoes You Need

Crocs have holes so your swag can breathe.
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Do you have fond childhood objects that make you nostalgic just thinking about your favorite Barbie or sequenced purse? Well for me, its my navy Crocs. Those shoes put me through elementary school. I eventually wore them out so much that I had to say goodbye. I tried Airwalks and sandals, but nothing compared. Then on my senior trip in New York City, a four story Crocs store gleamed at me from across the street and I bought another pair of Navy Blue Crocs. The rest is history. I wear them every morning to the lake for practice and then throughout the day to help air out my soaking feet. I love my Crocs so much, that I was in shock when it became apparent to me that people don't feel the same. Here are nine reasons why you should just throw out all of your other shoes and settle on Crocs.

1. They are waterproof.

These bad boys can take on the wettest of water. Nobody is sure what they are made of, though. The debate is still out there on foam vs. rubber. You can wear these bad boys any place water may or may not be: to the lake for practice or to the club where all the thirsty boys are. But honestly who cares because they're buoyant and water proof. Raise the roof.


2. Your most reliable support system

There is a reason nurses and swimming instructors alike swear by Crocs. Comfort. Croc's clogs will make you feel like your are walking on a cloud of Laffy Taffy. They are wide enough that your toes are not squished, and the rubbery material forms perfectly around your foot. Added bonus: The holes let in a nice breeze while riding around on your Razor Scooter.

3. Insane durability

Have you ever been so angry you could throw a Croc 'cause same? Have you ever had a Croc bitten while wrestling a great white shark? Me too. Have you ever had your entire foot rolled like a fruit roll up but had your Crocs still intact? Also me. All I know is that Seal Team 6 may or may not have worn these shoes to find and kill Osama Bin Laden. Just sayin'.


4. Bling, bling, bling

Jibbitz, am I right?! These are basically they're own money in the industry of comfortable footwear. From Spongebob to Christmas to your favorite fossil, Jibbitz has it all. There's nothing more swag-tastic than pimped out crocs. Lady. Killer.

5. So many options

From the classic clog to fashionable sneakers, Crocs offer so many options that are just too good to pass up on. They have fur lined boots, wedges, sandals, loafers, Maryjane's, glow in the dark, Minion themed, and best of all, CAMO! Where did your feet go?!

6. Affordable

Crocs: $30

Feeling like a boss: Priceless

7. Two words: Adventure Straps

Because you know that when you move the strap from casual mode chillin' in the front to behind the heal, it's like using a shell on Mario Cart.

8. Crocs cares

Okay, but for real, Crocs is a great company because they have donated over 3 million pairs of crocs to people in need around the world. Move over Toms, the Croc is in the house.

9. Stylish AF

The boys will be coming for you like Steve Irwin.

Who cares what the haters say, right? Wear with pride, and go forth in style.

Cover Image Credit: Chicago Tribune

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From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.

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Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.


I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.


I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.


As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

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