What is Journaling?
Journaling is something relatively new for me. I started journaling several months ago to help me really stay focused with my professional goals in my business and to help me stay on task. Self-discipline is my word for 2023, and I know that journaling is going to help me reach my personal and professional goals this year. There isn’t just one right way to journal. There are so many different types of journaling styles out there. You may have to try a few different styles until you find the one that works best for you.
I thought this article would benefit dietitians by showcasing different types of journaling methods, highlighting the benefits of journaling, all the different ways you can go about journaling, and how you can get started journaling today.
What are the Benefits of Journaling?
There are so many benefits when it comes to journaling – both personally and professionally.
- Personal Growth
- Professional Growth
- More Goal-Oriented
- Be More Mindful
- Lowers Anxiety and Stress
- Improves Sleep
- Improves Your Memory
- Become a Visionary
- Become Self-Aware / Reflection
- Clarity and Focus
- Organization and Planning
- Ignites Creativity
- Enhances Your Writing Skills
How Much Time Should I Spend Journaling?
It’s totally up to you. Journaling can take as much or as little time each day as you wish. I would just recommend trying to be consistent with your pattern so that you help to establish a routine, and ultimately, it becomes a habit. The goal is that it just becomes so ingrained in your daily routine that you don’t even have to think twice about journaling, it just comes naturally to you.
With that said, I would recommend starting out small. Begin by spending 10 minutes journaling in the morning when you first wake up [maybe while you are drinking your coffee and snuggled up on the couch with a nice cozy blanket; and phone is off or in the other room). Limit the distractions around you and really try to focus and tune in to your journal prompt or perhaps you are just free writing about whatever is on your mind.
From there, you can continue to lengthen how many minutes or how many times a day you journal. Do this, until you find that sweet spot where the timing and frequency or journaling are enjoyable and a part of your daily routine.
What are Some Different Types of Journaling Methods?
Depending on your goals and even your personality, there are a variety of journaling styles you can dabble in until you find the perfect one for you. Read on to learn more and find your perfect match.
Free Writing / Journaling
Free writing means setting a timer and letting your thoughts flow, unedited and unscripted, onto the page. Or you can set a goal to write continuously for a specified amount of pages.
Structured journaling is exactly what it sounds like. It’s basically the opposite of free writing. With this style, you have a specific goal or topic in mind; or there are certain journal prompts that are guiding you through the writing session to help inspire you.
This type of journaling allows you to be very vulnerable. It’s a safe place where you can look back on complicated situations like in your personal relationships, work situations, and more. You can look back on your day and unleash any emotion or feelings on paper. How did you handle a certain situation? Would you have done it differently if you had the opportunity to go back in time? These are some questions you can ask yourself with this type of journaling. It’s help to really reflect and analyze a particular situation. This may help to release some anxiety and stress, improve your emotional health, and may even help to improve sleep for some.
One Line a Day Journaling
This method is a great way for beginners to get started. You just need to write one line a day. You totally got this! Writing just a single line a day may help boost your memory and make you a better writer because you have to be succinct in what get’s included in that one line a day. Capture special moments from the day or where you are exactly in the moment that you are writing in your journal. This will help to get you into the habit of writing because it’s not so overwhelming to scribble down one sentence. You can do this.
Set the timer. Ready, set, and go! This type of journaling is meant to be short and snappy. You can set your timer on your phone for one minute, ten minutes, or 15 minutes – whatever your heart desires. And then you can either free write for that entire time or follow a guided journal prompt to fill up the allotted time.
Lists are great to write when you find free writing too daunting. They’re also an incredible journaling technique to organize, track and record anything related to your career, personal life, relationships, hobbies and more. You can record lists of your favorite breakfast recipes, smoothie recipes, or other recipes; favorite books, favorite songs, favorite podcasts, etc.
If you are more of a visual person, then try an art journal or sketchbook, where you can freely draw or write out your thoughts. Even if you don’t consider yourself an artist, art journaling can be a great way for you to tap into your creative side; and perhaps spark some ideas for writing topics as well.
Bullet Journaling (or Dot Journaling)
This type of journaling is great for brainstorming ideas, keeping running to-do lists, writing down reminders for yourself, and so much more. It’s a great way to keep your notes neat and organized, even if you don’t have the best handwriting. (Any fellow lefties out there, like myself?…)
It’s a great way to be productive while also allowing your creative side to shine through. It also allows you to reduce your unhealthy addiction to sticky notes (that’s totally me!) Now all those notes are in one place (and not sticky…).
This is one of the most powerful journaling techniques with life-changing possibilities that’s proven in studies to make you a happier and more productive person. It also lowers your stress and calms you at night.
I think this is one of the most popular types of journaling and for good reason. It’s a very powerful journaling technique because by showing gratitude for what you already have, enjoying the present, and just being grateful for who you are in this very moment, can be enough to make you happier, more productive, and help to reduce stress and anxiety. A gratitude journal helps us to stop going, going, and going… (Energizer Bunny, anyone?), and instead just appreciate the slow and steady and the here and now.
Keeping a dream journal may sound a little out there, but there’s a lot to uncover in the meaning of our dreams. This is a topic that I’ve always been fascinated by….Dream Interpretation and Analysis. What do our dreams really mean, anyway?!
Make sure that you write about your dream as soon as you wake up because dreams become more difficult to remember as the day goes on. Keep your dream journal at your bedside table with a pen, so you can quickly jot it down when you wake up.
Start by writing down whatever you remember from your dream. The more your journal, the better your memory will get.
This is something I’m going to start doing. I read a lot of books – professional development books and books for just pure enjoyment. I’m always highlighting, underlining, and folding pages in my books because I love a quote, a story, or how things were explained and I want to be able to find it easily again later on. Instead of my doing that (or in addition to doing that.. because let’s be honest, I’ll probably continue to do that lol), using a reading journal or book journal can really help you get more from the books, articles or blog posts you read – and it keeps them all in one place. Just some food for thought.
Health & Wellness Journaling
Fitness Journaling – This can help you keep track of your workouts and exercise routine. It’s a great place for goal-setting and creating an action plan to meet those fitness goals.
Food Journaling – The purpose of this type of journaling can vary greatly. Most people may think that food journaling is only for those who are trying to lose weight however, it can also be used for those with food intolerances or allergies, digestive disorders, picky eaters, those on fluid restrictions, or someone simply trying to gain better control of their blood sugars. The list goes on and on as to why someone may utilize a food journal.
There are a slew of other types of journaling methods out there. This is by no means an all-inclusive list, but I did try to hit on some of the more popular styles.
How Do I Start Journaling?
Well, the good news is that journaling is a very inexpensive thing to do. All you need to start journaling is a pen and piece of paper. Pretty simple, right?
But let’s up the ante here. I don’t know about you, but I love a beautiful notebook or journal. Something with a inspirational cover and some quotes or guided prompts to really keep me motivated to journal everyday.
My advice is to pick a journal and just get started. Try a few different journaling methods until you find one that you really enjoy. Or maybe you use different journaling styles for different days of the week. You are the only one who is meant to read your journal. Do what works for you.
Recap on Different Types of Journaling
Journaling is for everyone. There are so many different types of journaling styles out there for your to explore. With a little trial and error, you’ll find your perfect match. By starting this new habit, you’ll find that it may improve your mental and emotional health, as well as improve your vision and provide clarity in your goals (both personally and professionally). And as a writer, I find that journaling, especially just free writing, helps to really get my creative juices flowing and gets me to see things in a new perspective when I’m ready to tackle my next writing project.
Do you have an idea for a journal that you know would greatly benefit your clients or patients?
Do you want to create a journal of your own but don’t know where to start?