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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The 10 Stages Of A 2:30 P.M. Kickoff, As Told By Alabama Students

But we still say Roll MF Tide!

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We all have a love-hate relationship with a 2:30 p.m. kickoff at Bryant Denny Stadium, especially when it's 94 degrees.

1. Immediate sadness

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What do you mean I have to wake up at 9 a.m. to get ready?

2. Bracing yourself for the worst

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It's a marathon not a sprint ladies and gentleman.

3. Accepting the game is going to happen

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Rain or shine we are all in that student section screaming our heads off.

4. Trying to wear the least amount clothes possible without being naked on the Quad

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Is it me or does it get 10 times more hot the minute you walk on to the quad?

5. Shedding a tear when you walk out your front door once you feel the heat and humidity on your skin

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Is it fall yet?

6. Drowning your sorrows inside a Red Solo cup at 11:30 a.m. at a fraternity tailgate

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Maybe I'll forget about the humidity if I start frat hopping now.

7. Getting in line to go through security realizing it'll take an hour to actually get inside Bryant Denny

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More security is great and all but remember the heat index in Alabama? Yeah, it's not easy being smushed like sardines before even getting into Bryant Denny.

8. Feeling the sweat roll down every part of your body

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Oh yeah I am working on my tan and all but what is the point of showering before kick off?

9. Attempting to cheer on the Tide, but being whacked in the head with a shaker by the girl behind you. 

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Shakers are tradition, but do we have to spin it around in a full 360 every two seconds? I have a migraine from just thinking about it.

10. Leaving a quarter into the game because Alabama is kicking ass and you're about to have a heat stroke.

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I'll watch the rest in air conditioning thank you very much!

We may not love the 2:30 kickoffs but Roll Tide!

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I Made Emma Chamberlain's Mediocre Vegan Cookies, And They're Pretty Incredible

Emma and her vegan cookies have made their way into my heart, and are here to stay.

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One day, I went down the black hole that is 'YouTube at 3 am' and discovered my favorite social media influencer of all time: Emma Chamberlain. I started binge watching her videos every night for about a week, where I came across her "Cooking With Emma" series. I decided that I wanted to give her vegan antics a go for myself.

I've never cooked or baked anything with the intention of it being vegan, so not only is that new territory for me, but I've never even eaten a vegan cookie. The only reason I'm doing this is because Emma did, and she is aesthetic goals.

To start the journey of vegan baking, I took to Pinterest, just like Emma, and found this recipe to use. Although the video that inspired all of this used a gluten free recipe, I opted for only vegan, because I'm allergic to most of the ingredients that make things gluten-free.


In true Emma style, I used a whisk to combine the wet ingredients together, making sure to use her special technique.


Then, I did the same thing with the dry ingredients.


After that, I dumped everything together and combined all of the ingredients.


Once they were combined, I chopped up a vegan chocolate bar, because Emma and I like chocolate chunk cookies, not chocolate chip, there's a difference.


Now that everything is combined, I made balls of dough and stuck it on a pan, and baked them while I binged more Emma, because what else would I be doing in my spare time?



The recipe said to make the balls a lot smaller, but we aren't perfect, so I made them gigantic. In my head, I thought the worst thing that could happen was it turn into one big cookie, but that's a whole other video you need to watch.

I took them out of the oven, and they were brown on the top, but still a little doughy. At this point I was tired of waiting and eager to eat them, so I disappointingly set them aside to cool, which only lasted a minute or so before I snagged one up to try.



The taste was definitely one I've never associated with cookies, and came to the conclusion that if I decided to go vegan, it would be doable with these cookies and Emma Chamberlain by my side.



Emma inspired me to get out of my comfort zone, which is a reoccurring theme throughout her channel, and I'm happy to be apart of it. She taught me that even if mediocre cookies is all you have, eat them with pride because you made them yourself.

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