It’s safe to say both Isabella and I have caught the journaling bug. Journals of all shapes and sizes line our shelves, and we can’t seem to write fast enough to fill them up. Recently we’ve had some days where writing was an uphill climb, and that got us to thinking about the obstacles that might be stopping others from establishing their own journals. We wanted to talk about the two things that need to be done for a successful journaling habit.
Establish the Why
Everyone has their own why. Their raison d’etre. That’s got to be what resonates with you so you’ll have something to write about. If you’re doing it for someone else or you don’t know why you’re picking up the pen in the first place, it’s not going to last for any length of time. Great journaling reasons include:
To leave a legacy for my children
To have a conversation with my younger self
To remember the great times / sad times / trying times
To get a handle on a specific event
To talk about the exotic places I’m visiting
Because I can’t NOT write
Those are just some of the whys that we’ve heard for picking up the journaling habit. I started writing in my leather journal because there was a time that I thought I was a great reporter, bringing in news from different parts of the world. After you do it for a while, your why might also change to, ‘because I did it yesterday’ or ‘I just like doing it.’ You’re now flying on the wings of a healthy journaling habit.
Commit the Time
If you’re going to establish a journaling habit and you’ve already figured out why you’re doing it, commit the time to do it. We tend to do the things that we want to do and don’t do the things that we’d just like to do. If you want to be a journalist, you need to set aside the time to make it happen. There are always fifteen minutes to get your thoughts down.
If it feels like journaling wastes time compared to other activities, consider it a form of mental break. Journaling can help us become calm and centered. That little 15-minute break can help you be more productive afterward. You’ve cleared your mind out and put it on paper. This is the basis of the famous “Get Things Done” time management technique. By putting everything down on paper your brain doesn’t have to keep refreshing the information.
Handwriting in cursive also forces your brain to use different regions. A study at the University of Washington demonstrated that printing, cursive writing, and keyboarding all produced distinct brain patterns. The children in the study were able to express more ideas and produce words more quickly writing by hand. Plus, children with better handwriting also had better memory. You can read more about this study in this New York Times piece.
Establish the Habit Today
Set aside time at the beginning of the day to take our your journal notebook write about the day before. Tell yourself that before you get started on a new day that you want to completely close out the old one. It’s hard to journal about things that are minutes old; your brain needs a chance to process. And after a hard day, you may just not have the energy to write things down. That’s why we think the morning is the best time to write.
Once you’ve decided your reason for writing and you’ve committed to the act of writing, it’s time to actually start writing in your leather journal or leather notebook. Make the promise to yourself to try it at least three full weeks without stopping. By that point, you’ll either find you love journaling and won’t want to stop, or you can at least say you tried it and have a full souvenir of the experience. The best journals in the world started out with a single word. We’re cheering you on!
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Jake & Bella are both young professionals who reside in sunny Queensland, Australia. Jake is an executive within the medical tourism industry and Bella is a young PR & Journalism graduate. Both use journals and notebooks as part of their daily life, whether it's taking notes, creating concepts, planning projects or showing some gratitude. Both have a keen eye for what makes a high quality journal that's a pleasure to own and use. Visit the Our Team page for more info on this bother and sister duo.