How to Journal Your Way to a Better You

July 19, 2023

By Christa Protano

Have you ever felt like your inner circle is tired of hearing you complain about the same things over and over again? Personally, when my husband and friends become tight-lipped with me, I know it’s time to take my dark cloud elsewhere. That’s when I try to reset with some meditation, but I often think that writing down my feelings would help a lot too. Full disclosure: I’ve yet to put pen to paper. However, I recently received a journal as a gift, so I’ve decided to try this popular form of self-care.

Why Journaling?

  • Set goals.
  • Keep track of to-dos.
  • Record memories.
  • Release troubling life situations.
  • Learn more about yourself.
  • Reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Improve your mood.
  • Dump out your brain.
  • Keep track of life’s milestones (i.e. pregnancy, baby’s first year).
  • Change your life.

Tips to Get Started … and Keep Going:

  • Set aside 5-10 minutes a day. Set a reminder if it helps. 
  • Free write—don’t worry about grammar or punctuation, just go with the writing flow.
  • Use a journal prompt.
  • Keep your journal handy at all times. You can also use Notes on your smart phone to jot down thoughts.
  • Write whatever feels right to you.
  • Keep it short to start.
  • Have fun with it. 
  • Consider a 30-day journal challenge.

When starting something new, I’m the type of person that likes to have some guidelines to follow. So I turned to the experts for some tips on how to get started. The International Association for Journal Writing (IAJW) is an organization who’s goal is to inspire creative and healthy living through journaling and storytelling. They offer online classes, free journaling resources, an engaging community and more. On their blog, I found some basic tips to start a journaling journey. What’s more, Thunder Bay Press offers a variety of guided journals, planners, and devotionals that are a lot less daunting than a book full of blank paper. Here are few we think you’ll like:


While gratitude journals are definitely popular, that’s not what we are talking about here. At first, the title may sound like being thankful is the goal, but this journal actually encourages you to let off some steam and not feel the least bit guilty. Jot down all your thoughts about those annoying family members and flaky friends in this safe space.

Find Your Inner Sloth

When you want to find some calm in the chaos, channeling an ever-smiley, slow-moving sloth may be just what you need. Take journaling at your own pace with this chill journal.

12-Month Undated Planner

Why wait for the new year to start resolutions and set some goals. With this 12-month planner, including plenty of blank pages for journaling, you can begin working on the new and improved you any time of year.

The Coloring Devotional

Inner peace is just a coloring page away with this title that features beautifully illustrated Bible verses to color, along with more than 50 guided journaling pages.

Find Your Inner Unicorn

When you’re having trouble expressing the real you, this journal offers ways to help your true self shine. Thanks to its whimsical approach, you’ll look forward to journaling and may even make your own ornamental horn or two.

Cute Hand Lettering

Now that you’ve started your journal, it’s time to add some more personality to the page. With this instructional booklet, inspirational teacher and sticker designer Cindy Guentert-Baldo shows you how to decorate letters, pair different lettering styles, and more.

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