How to start journaling

Posted on Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Author: Jordan Vanwyngaarden, Communications Assistant at Student Life and 2nd year political science student

yellow marker, black writing and drawing on paper

Journaling can just be for fun, or they can be tools to reflect on your experiences and future goals. Many studies show that personal writing can help people better deal with stressful circumstances, alleviate anxiety, and improve immune cell activity. It is a great way to express yourself, organize your thoughts, and learn more about yourself.

There are many ways to journal. You can write short stories, reflect on your day, or set goals for yourself. One journaling method that has really blown up in the past few years is bullet journaling. Bullet journaling was created by Ryder Carol, a person who suffered with ADHD, who used this system for organization. Though you can buy journals specifically for bullet journaling, all you really need is a pen and a notebook.

Bullet journaling has five main components: an index, dailies, monthlies, a future log, and collections.

  • Index: The index is the main organizational function of the journal. This is used to keep track of the pages and their uses. So, for example you can write page 4 = monthlies. This is super helpful as instead of flipping through the journal looking for a note you wrote down once, you can just go to the index and see where it is located.
  • Future log: These are pages where you write in future dates and events to keep track of. You can split the pages into future months, and then transfer them to your monthlies as each month arrives.
  • Monthlies: These are pages where you add everything you’d like to do that specific month. They can be set up in calendar form or list form.
  • Dailies: Essentially, these pages are amplified to-do lists that you write daily. You write tasks, events, and notes each day. It’s customizable so many people include their water intake, their steps taken, etc.
  • Collections: These are pages that are customizable and fit your own desires. They can be sketches, memory logs, dream diaries, etc. But don’t forget to mark the pages down in your index so you can easily flip to them when needed!

One of the most important elements of bullet journals is migration, where you can move tasks to other days if they weren’t accomplished, or move monthly tasks to weekly etc.

Bullet journals are great for organization and clearing your mind. Need more information on this specific process? You can consult this video.

Bullet journaling and journaling in general are great ways to organize, but they can also be places for creativity and exploring new hobbies. A great way to spice up your journal is with calligraphy. AmandaRachLee, and The Happy Ever Crafter are calligraphy channels on YouTube for beginners.

If you want to communicate or share your passions with others, a great way to do this is with blogging. You might also possibly be able to make some money as well! Free blog platforms include WordPress, Blogger, or Tumblr (half blog, half social media).

Whatever medium you choose, personal writing is a fantastic way to explore your emotions, thoughts, creativity, and to plan and organize your day or goals. Try making it a routine, even just for ten minutes a day for thirty days!

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