There is something about a new year that leaves you feeling hopeful and ready for a fresh start-an opportunity to start over, be better and do better. Ask most individuals what their hopes (goals or resolutions) are for the new year and you’ll often hear one of these popular resolutions:
- getting healthier
- becoming more organized
- improving personal development
- growing closer to God
If you feel like you have been looking for a good outlet to get your life together, more organized, and be the healthiest version of yourself, you should consider starting a journal for the new year.
As you probably know, journaling is the simple practice of writing down your thoughts and feelings in a book, similar to a diary. Journaling can be done in a myriad of ways from keeping a gratitude journal to something more complex like bullet journaling.
Why You Should Start Journaling in the New Year
Lots of people start journaling at the beginning of the year and there are several benefits for doing so. Here are a few reasons to consider journaling:
Life comes with many challenges. Although it is often possible to decrease the stressors in your life, it’s impossible to completely eliminate stress. Which is why it’s important to develop healthy ways of managing stress. Journaling is not the only option, but it’s one of the best.
It gives you a chance to sort through all the things that happened during your day and work through your feelings about them. Writing down your thoughts and feelings can help you gain a better understanding and provides an outlet for anger and frustration.
“When you have a problem and you’re stressed, keeping a journal can help you identify what’s causing that stress or anxiety. Then, once you’ve identified your stressors, you can work on a plan to resolve the problems and, in turn, reduce stress.” Rochester Medical Center Health Encyclopedia
Most people forget things far more often than they realize. Journaling gives you an opportunity to keep notes of daily events, sparks of inspiration, and record of God’s promises fulfilled. Without keeping daily notes, it’s easy to look back at the end of the year and feel as if little has happened in your life. But taking the time to write it down, review and reflect you’re more apt to see the threads of spiritual growth and provides a ray of hope when you’re walking through hard seasons of life.
Cheap paper is less perishable than gray matter. And lead pencil markings endure longer than memory.” —Jack London, “Getting Into Print,”
We humans don’t remember all events equally. There is the tendency to remember bad events more clearly than the good in our lives. And our emotional responses can change how we recall them over time. Writing things down as they happen and reviewing then later can help avoid the problem of faulty recall. It will help you paint a picture of events as they really happened. Which can give you a valuable perspective on the balance of good and bad things in your life.
“As there are a thousand thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he takes up the pen to write.” —William Makepeace Thackeray, The History of Henry Esmond
As the year progress, it’s easy to get bogged down into daily rituals and lose track of your intentions for the year, which can lead to discouragement. However, writing down your victories (no matter how small) as they happen will give you a clear record of your successes. Which provides great fuel for zapping discouragement and the motivation to continue pressing toward your goals throughout the year.
Type of Journaling to Choose
Now that you’ve decided you want to begin the habit of journaling this new year, one thing to note is that are many types of journals to choose from. Which type is right for you will depend on a number of factors such as: do you enjoy writing, how do you plan to use the journal, and how often do you plan to use your journal. Your specific goals and reasons for journaling will you pick the right type for you but don’t be afraid to give multiple options a try to find your right fit. Here are a few ideas:
Simple Daily Journal
Similar to a diary, the first type of journal is basic and provides a place to write anything and everything in it. You could choose to focus on specific goals like Bible reading, weight loss, triggers or just right down your daily thoughts. You can use a simple notebook or find a specially designed one.
Daily in His Presence: 365-Day Devotional JournalThe Mindfulness Journal: Daily Practices, Writing Prompts, and Reflections for Living in the Present MomentHandmade Leather Lined Journal – Genuine Leather Notebook & Daily Notepad for Men & Women with 240 Pages of Lined Rustic Paper – Gift Box Included
If you don’t enjoy writing, you might consider bullet journaling. It’s one of the top types of journals to use in the new year. Bullet journals can be used to organize birthdays and holidays, appointments and events, to-do lists, dreams, meal planning, fitness goals. Unlike planners, bullet journals lack rigid structure and provide many opportunities for personalization. You can be as simple or creative as you like.
Bullet It! Lists for Living: A Notebook for Charting Your Tasks, Hopes, and DreamsShe Believed She Could So She Did: Bullet Grid JournalBullet Journal Kit Starter SetDot Journaling—A Practical Guide: How to Start and Keep the Planner
If you’re looking to embrace more positivity this year, a gratitude journal is a great choice. It provides a space to list the things you are grateful for, which can include anything from family, friends, jobs, Bible passages to watching your favorite show. In today’s digital age, many people wake up and immediately check emails or scroll mindlessly through social media. Why not embrace the habit of writing your gratitude list first thing in the morning instead?
Starting a practice of gratitude journaling can be as simple as writing in your favorite notebook or purchasing a gratitude journal that uses daily prompts.
Good Days Start With Gratitude: A 52 Week Guide To Cultivate An Attitude Of Gratitude: Gratitude JournalThe Gratitude Journal for Women: Find Happiness and Peace in 5 Minutes a DayErin Condren Petite Planner 80 Page Gratitude Paperback Journal with Stickers.Present, Not Perfect: A Journal for Slowing Down, Letting Go, and Loving Who You AreGratitude: A Prayer and Praise Coloring JournalGratitude Journal 52 Week Daily Positive Thinking for Women & Girls 165 Stickers
To get the most of your gratitude journal set aside 5 or 10 minutes each day to record what you’re grateful. And consider taking your journal with you so that you easily write down things in the moment.
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Looking to bring freshness into your Bible study time? You might consider Bible journaling. This form of journaling has become quite popular. Bible journaling offers a creative new way to interact with Scripture. To get started, all you need is a Bible, pen or colored pencils, and paper. If you choose not to color directly in your Bible; however, there are specialty journaling Bibles.
With a quick Google search, you can find a ton of resources and tools on Bible journaling. So much so that it can be quite overwhelming to know just where to start. Our friend, Sarah at The Holy Mess, has developed a resource that can help guide you through how to grow your faith with Bible journaling the easy way. Click here to read more about the Trust in the Lord Bible Journaling Kit.
As you can see, your journal options are endless. Making a list of what you would like in a journal and why you’re choosing to journal can help narrow down your selection.
How has journaling impacted your life? Not currently a journaler, which type of journaling most appeals to you?