How to Keep a Journal- What should your Journal look like?

How to Keep a Journal- What should your Journal look like?


All you need to get started is a pen and paper, or a journal app or you can even record your thoughts into a voice recorder (place in a journal later, if desired).

Here are some factors to consider:

  • You don’t have to write in your journal in sentences. You can use mind maps or drawings or whatever suits you best. Use photographs, postcards, receipts and whatever else is applicable for that particular journal entry.


What to write?

  • A daily record of your life as you experience it
  • A certain topic, such as gardening or current events.
  • Write about your experiences, your thoughts, your memories.
  • Collect information to use in fiction writing and poems.
  • Recording dreams.
  • Write affirmations.
  • Write a letter to a person you are upset with and say all the things that you have been afraid to say. Then burn the letter. Draw a picture of this person, if you like.
  • Write down all the things that you can be grateful for. List the big and small things. Write a paragraph on the top three things that you are grateful for, including expressing your appreciation for the person who had the most influence over it. Turn it into a letter and send it.
  • Create actionable to-do lists from future goals.
  • Keep a collection of quotes and affirmations in your journal.
  • Capture those brilliant ideas as soon as they occur to you.
  • Record information on things you read, hear and watch.
  • Keep a list of books you’d like to read, or other things you would like to do.
  • Make a record of memories or funny things your loved ones say and do.
  • Write a list of things that you want to ‘let go’ of or things that are bothering you. Now make a list of 10 things that you can do to gain control of the situation.
  • Focus your attention on positive growth-based actions and thought processes by reframing negative questions in to positive ones.
  • Review what you have written to identify patterns in your self-talk and behaviour.
  • Make a timeline that represents your life. Fill it in with the most significant events that have shaped you: your early years, your teen years, and each decade that has followed. Draw pictures or icons next to the most important events. Use crayons or markers if you wish. How does this make you feel? How would your life be different if these things didn’t happen?
  • Make a list of five places you’d like to visit. Describe what you imagine them to be like.
  • Write about three things you most regret doing or not doing. Describe what happened and how you feel about it.
  • Write a letter to your children, even if they have not yet been born. Tell them what you want them to know about you.
  • Write a letter to your grandchildren, even if they have not yet been born. Tell them what you want them to know about you.
  • Pick a theme for the day, week or month.
  • Make a list of five miracles you want to happen in the coming year. Write a paragraph or two describing each one and how your life will be better if it happens. For each of the five miracles, make a list of:

Five barriers or forces that block or prevent it from happening

Five positive influences, things that encourage or support its happening

Five things you can do to reduce the barriers and strengthen the positive influences

  • Take a walk and make observations (what you see-weather, nature; sounds, smells, etc.)
  • Make a list of all the things you wish you could do before your life is over.
  • Write about what life was like before you became a parent and /or Write about what you wish you had known before you became a parent. Make a list of the things you still want to learn about being a parent.
  • Write about the five things you most like to do.
  • Write about the five things you most dislike doing.
  • Write a letter to your own parents. Tell them how you feel.
  • Think of someone you never acknowledged for something important. Write that person a letter and acknowledge him or her.
  • Write a letter to your teenage self. Tell yourself:

What your life is like now

What you have learned since you were a teenager

What you want him or her to know

What you want him or her to beware of

What you want him or her to enjoy every moment of

  • Take a general theme, for example, courage. Then spend five minutes breaking that theme into subcategories; for example:
    • Things that give me courage
    • Things I do when I’m courageous
    • Techniques for becoming more courageous.

Each of these categories can then be broken down even further.

  • Use your journal!