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Journaling Ideas: 10 Things To Write About in Your Journal

You’ve probably heard by now that journaling is good for your mental health. Externalizing your thoughts with pen and paper—not an app on your phone—is a powerful technique for unscrambling your brain and reorganizing your ideas.

However, if you’re not already an avid journal keeper, a book of blank pages may seem intimidating. How can you fill up those pages in a way that works for you?

Sugarboo has put together a list of 10 things to write about in a journal. Some of these ideas may resonate with you more than others; at the end of the day, it’s your journal. Mix and match these journaling ideas to fill those pages in a way that works for you.

Daily Planning

Some people use a journal or notebook to write down their to-do lists for the day. Do you need to go grocery shopping? Have you got back-to-back work meetings? Jot them down in your journal.

Writing reminders to yourself with a pen and paper helps cement them in your mind. You would be less likely to miss a meeting or forget an important errand if you wrote it down that morning.

Commonplace Book

The concept of a commonplace book has existed for centuries, and it’s a simple one: write down quotes, poems, aphorisms, and any other tidbits you’d like to remember.

Are you an avid reader? Do you often take inspiration from literature? Use your journal to write down your favorite snippets of poetry and prose.

Do you feel a little silly copying out sentences from books? Write down song lyrics, resonant quotes from podcasts, or even that hilarious thing your friend said the last time you talked to them on the phone. A commonplace book is a great place to keep track of any quote or saying you want to remember.

Mood Tracking

Many people who keep diaries or journals write about how they felt during their day. If you struggle with your mental health at times, it may be helpful to track your mood in a more precise manner.

Keep your journal with you throughout the day. When you experience an uptick or a downswing in your mood, write down the time of day, your mood state, and what may have triggered the emotional change. If you’re an artistic type, you can even track your mood with colored pencils or pens so you can see how it progresses throughout the day.

Goal Setting

You don’t have to wait for a new year, a new month, or a new moon to set actionable goals for yourself. Use your journal to write down any goals you have going forward. Maybe you want to publish a short story, run a half-marathon, or deep-clean your kitchen.

Whatever your goal, follow the SMART method to make it easier. It’s a handy acronym that helps individuals set doable, manageable goals:

  • Specific: write down exactly what you want to achieve.
  • Measurable: determine how you will measure the success of your goal.
  • Attainable: make sure it’s something you can feasibly do!
  • Relevant: reflect on how achieving your goal will improve your life overall.
  • Time-bound: give yourself a deadline for each element of your goal.

Compile Memories

You don’t have to limit your journal to the written word. Get out your scissors and glue stick to turn it into a scrapbook of positive memories!

Use your journal or notebook to keep ticket stubs, photographs, receipts, and any other paper memorabilia that remind you of happy times. Write little notes or memories in the margins and doodle with colored pencils—make your journal a messy yet personalized piece of art.

Letters to Your Future Self

Many people who try journaling often abandon it because they feel silly. They feel like they’re following a formula for no reason. The formula many people feel stuck in is this: “June 18th: Dear Diary, today I went to the museum and did X, Y, and Z. I felt A, B, and C about it…”

Instead, try framing your journal entries as letters to a future version of yourself. Use the pages to start a conversation! It could look like this: “Dear [Your Name], do you remember when you went to the museum? You thought about your time in art school…”

Essentially, simply changing your approach to journaling can encourage you to write more often.

Gratitude Lists

Incorporate your journal into your morning routine! Before you tackle your day head-on, grab your journal and jot down a short list of things you’re grateful for. These can be as life changing as your prestigious new job or as small as your morning cup of coffee.

Starting your day with gratitude and positivity encourages a healthy mindset as you go about your day.

Pride Lists

Like starting your day with a gratitude list, consider ending each day by listing out reasons to be proud of yourself. Whether you tackled a difficult project at work or cooked a smashing meal for your family, you deserve a pat on the back!

Remind yourself regularly that you’ve got plenty to be proud of. These reminders will do wonders for your self-esteem over time, and putting them on paper adds permanency to those lists. You can go back and refer to them on days when you’re feeling down.

Project Planning

A blank journal is a great space to plan out any projects you want to do. Did you set a goal to reorganize your office? Break it down into manageable steps and write out your grand plans for your new office setup, sketching and annotating as you go.

You can even plan out artistic projects in your journal. Knitting your first sweater? Sketch out a design, play around with color combinations, and write a list of all the supplies you need to get started.

Habit Tracking

Many people use journals to encourage themselves to set and maintain healthy habits. If you want to start working out every day, create a daily plan for yourself with spaces to fill in or check off when you complete the workout.

Want to encourage yourself to drink enough water? Create a daily tracker with eight spaces under each day and fill in a space every time you finish a glass.

If you want to start keeping a journal but don’t know how to start, mix and match these journaling ideas from Sugarboo. There are plenty of things you can write about in your journal, from daily plans to future goals. Use artisan journals and notebooks from Sugarboo to externalize the ideas in your head, and you’ll find that your mind becomes clearer.

Journaling Ideas: 10 Things To Write About in Your Journal

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