How to Actually Kick-start Journal Writing & Build the Habit

Journaling can be a difficult habit to build. However, this article discusses 5 ways to kickstart your journal writing and build the habit simply!

Journaling can be a difficult habit to build. However, this article discusses 5 ways to kick-start your journal writing and build the habit simply!

It’s human nature to want to be happy. We believe that we should pursue happiness. Who wants to be negative, depressed, gloomy, or grouchy? Who wants tragedy, sorrow, or disaster to happen to them?

Many people go after drafting morning pages to indicate their sentiment level in the mood of high consciousness to relieve stress and anxiety. It’s a great way to record ideas anytime and anywhere. Isn’t it? After all, a journal is an excellent place to write down your career goals, ambitions, aspirations, and resolutions. Also, it helps you to train your writing.

Wouldn’t it be fabulous to remember all the enduring details of our lives? It can be hard to remember details after a year or two have gone by – when we had that huge snowstorm, what month it was when we went on that amazing vacation, or when the cousins last came to visit. Sometimes it’s even hard to recall what we did last week.

Write in a journal only a few minutes a day, and you can create a record of your life…

Keeping a five-year journal is a simple solution. It’s the ideal life record for people who don’t have the time or motivation to write long entries in a diary or don’t want to go back and wade through volumes and volumes of journals to find out when something happened. Keeping a five-year diary is fun, and sometimes quite enlightening, as you see on the same page what you did last year or three years ago on this date.

As much as I am a fan of journaling, I can’t say I was ever very successful at it in the past. I am inspired by beautiful blank books. I buy them, but I don’t want to start writing to them. Beginning a journal and then neglecting it would spoil it. I am reluctant to write in it because if I don’t fill it up, the beautiful, pristine book would be wasted. You have to admit that six pages of writing in a 120-page book are not a success story.

One thing is sure – journaling doesn’t have to be boring!!

There are no edicts that suppose you have to write in a notebook, day after day, and seek for something to say. Journals are a portal to your creativity, awareness, and joy. You can have just one, full of chaos and creativity, pictures, lyrics, quotes, daily entries, passions, and sorrows. You can have two, ten, twenty, and separate each subject into its own cozy little paper home. I hope that this page inspires you to create some of your journals and gives you some ideas to get you started on your adventure of self-discovery. Any subject you have a passion for is worthy of a Journal. Allow its scope to thrive well.

Get Started! 

Find yourself a base

There is one thing every journal has in common; a single need that connects all manifestations of your creativity.

A book

This book can take any form you want it to – store-bought, homemade, lined, unlined, colored, white, made of leaves, made of fabric, bound, or created one page at a time. There are endless possibilities for the base of your journal writing. Choose one that speaks to you, one you have lying around, or something fits the theme of what you are doing.

I’m particularly fond of journals that have art on the cover, three-ring binders, or journals made of unique materials.

Pick a Subject or Don’t

Decide what you want your journal to be. Does a rich mess of gratitude, art, reflection, and nature call to you? How about a neat, organized place to not only store recipes, but annotate them? Or perhaps a place to write a list upon glorious list? Whatever you feel like creating, it’s yours to treasure and builds.

There are no rules. Get messy, Get inspired, Get into it.

Here’s a list (by no means exhaustive) of possible subjects to get you started.

  • Nature – Birdwatching – Herb Diary – Cloud Patterns
  • Dreams – Meditations – Positivity – Quotes
  • Love – Reflection – Body Image – Self Esteem
  • Exercise – Yoga – Tai Chi – Weight Loss
  • Pregnancy – Motherhood – Fatherhood – Family
  • Success – Goals – Achievement – School
  • Hobbies – Hunting – Shooting – Gaming
  • Cooking – Knitting -Sewing – Crochet
  • Paper Crafts – Brewing – Art – Music
  • Lists – Daily Entry – Faith – Spirituality
  • Letters – Cards – Travel – Relationships


Add things to your journal. All at once, once a day, whenever you happen to remember. Write down ideas, thoughts, victories, failures. Make it completely yours. Keep it neat, or don’t. Decorate it – the pages, the cover, the binding.

Make it beautiful. Give it texture when you hold it. Use glue, marker, crayon, glitter, leaves, bark, flowers, whatever comes to mind. Get oil and spices on the pages. Use tears and perfume if you want to.

Give it the essence of your subject.

Create an ever-changing work of art that makes it a joy to add to it, rather than a chore.


In my personal opinion, quotes are one of the most important building blocks to any journal. Reflect on them, store them for safekeeping, read them when you need inspiration, embellish on them, create your own, collect them, and treasure them. Although many wonderful quotes have unknown origins, here is a shortlist of names to search if you’re looking for some good material.

  • Rumi – Einstein – Mark Twain
  • C.S. Lewis – Steve Jobs – Carl Sagan
  • Stephen Hawking – Eckhart Tolle – Dr. Seuss
  • Proverb – (Either cultural or associated with religious text)
  • Betty White – Thomas Jefferson – Eleanor Roosevelt
  • The Dali Lama – Nelson Mandela – Mother Theresa
  • Da Vinci – Ghandi – Buddha – Confucious
  • Tolkein – WIlliam Blake – Abraham Lincoln

Start your Journey

Journaling is truly an uncomplicated and organic art. I hope these pointers have helped fuel a desire in you to create something of your own. Please feel free to leave questions and suggestions in the comments. I would love to have your help and feedback in building this post into something even more helpful and inspiring!

Grace’s Grief Journal Plan-with-Me

For Grace's grief journal, I used many different colors. Further, the layouts involved include quote pages, Bible verse pages, quarterly habit trackers...

Katie ordered a custom bullet-journal-inspired planner for Grace to be a grief journal. Grace’s planner is a Leuchtturm1917 A5 Dotted Hardcover in Emerald. I used many different colors when making this notebook. Further, the layouts involved include quote pages, Bible verse pages, quarterly habit trackers, prayer pages, and grief and gratitude pages. Here you can read more about Grace’s planner and learn some about grief. 

What Is Grief?

This is a grief journal, but what exactly is grief? Well, according to Wikipedia, grief is ” multifaceted response to loss, particularly to the loss of someone or something that has died, to which a bond or affection was formed.” Generally, this refers to a loss by death, but can actually refer to any loss. This particular notebook was created for a death-loss but could be modified to any kind of loss. Let’s jump into the notebook!

Layouts Included

Here you can learn more about the layouts for Grace’s custom planner.

Watercolor Title Page

Grace’s title layout is a red, pink, orange, and yellow watercolor title page. For the header, “Grace” is in a calligraphy font. Then, below the header is a little decorative swirl.

Quarterly Habit Tracking

The habit tracker for this notebook includes ten habits for four months at a time. There are four in the notebook spread out throughout evenly. The habits being tracked are in teal print lettering and the main header is brush lettered.

Quote & Scripture Pages

Quotes and Scripture pages appear throughout the notebook and are generally paired with a journaling prompt or journaling prompt page. The quotes and scriptures vary as well as the tools used to decorate the page. Some examples include washi tape, watercolor paint, photos, etc. Below are the pages that feature only a quote or scripture. The remainder of these pages can be viewed in the Journaling Prompts section below. Regardless of the style and set up of these pages, the focus and theme throughout is grief and healing.

  • I believe in you.
  • My flesh and my heart may fail but GOD is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26
  • The world is too big to stay in one place and life is too short to do just one thing.
  • Do what they think you can’t do.
  • I am in alignment with my purpose.
  • You won’t ever be your old self again…
  • You are growing into a ‘new self’ a new self that is born out of that grief.
  • Create the highest, grandest vision possible for your life because you become what you believe.
  • Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted. Matthew 5:4
  • Every Moment by Joy William. We laughed out loud till we cried | and the tears were sweet | midnight melted to morning | a moment faded to memory | all these days just slip away through our fingers | so, don’t let go | hold on to every moment | always know | hold on to every moment that you can | we move on with no regrets to our destiny | held by the hands of the father | we share his love and he leads us through | all these days | ’cause they slip away through our fingers | so | so don’t let go | hold on to every moment | always know | hold on to every moment that you can.
  • You saw me take my first breath and saw you take your last.
  • When you can’t find the sunshine be the sunshine.
  • I am okay.
  • Sometimes we just need some time in a beautiful place to clean our head.
  • Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. take my yoke upon you, and learn from me for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11: 28-30
  • You’ll find this as you grieve: some days you’ll have the strength to dive deep and Jesus will meet you there. other days you’ll barely manage a nudge in his direction – and he’ll meet you there too. His grace is being enough for both.
  • Your mistakes don’t define you.
  • Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to god. And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Jesus Christ. Philippians 4: 6-7
  • Find joy in the journey.
  • Don’t think about what might go wrong, think about what might go right.
  • it’s okay to stop and just be.
  • Her absence is like the sky, spread over everything.
  • Find your tribe, love them hard.
  • Relax, Refresh, Reconnect.
  • Sometimes it’s okay if the only thing you did today was breathe.
  • One day at a time.

Journaling Prompts

Journal Prompts include grief and general self-care related prompts to help Grace journal about various topics. I have included nearly all the different prompts. Further, these prompt pages are generally paired with quotes or scripture pages as well which are also focused on grief and healing.

  • I find comfort in…
  • Two moments I will never forget are…
  • Today I enjoyed…
  • If my body could talk, it would say…
  • I feel energized when…
  • I am happiest when…
  • Today was good because…
  • I feel safe when…
  • Today I…
  • A memory that makes me smile…
  • My best qualities are…
  • Today I smiled because…
  • I wish I had told you…
  • I can depend on…
  • Today I feel…
  • The hardest part is…
  • My goal for this week is…
  • I am okay because…
  • I want to remember…
  • I smile because…
  • You taught me to…
  • When I think about you, I feel…
  • When I wake up I…
  • If I could change one thing…
  • Today I will be…

Prayer and Grief and Gratitude Pages

These prayers and grief and gratitude pages include two specific journaling pages. The first (generally the left page) is for prayers. Then, the second (generally the right page) is for grief and gratitude journaling. These pages make up a majority of this notebook.

Faber Castell PITT Artist Brush Pen Orange Glaze 113***; 40 Rolls Washi Tape Set; Sunshine Washi Tape
Texture Washi Tape; Faber Castell PITT Artist Pens, Gold 250**, 1,5
Grace's Grief Journal | Bullet Journal Inspired
Faber Castell PITT Artist Pens; Savena Black Pattern Washi Tape Set; 40 Rolls Washi Tape Set
Karin BrushMaker Pro, Black 030; Watercolor Paint
Sharpie Extra Fine Gold; 40 Rolls Washi Tape Set; Dalus Gold Foil Washi Tape
Sharpie Extra Fine Gold; Metallic Foil Washi Tape; Dalus Gold Foil Washi Tape
Faber Castell PITT Artist Pens; 40 Rolls Washi Tape Set; Similar: Purple Floral Washi Tape
Karin BrushMaker Pro, Black 030; 40 Rolls Washi Tape Set; Antner Floral Washi Tape
Faber Castell PITT Artist Pens, Gold 250**, 1,5; Dalus Gold Foil Washi Tape
Karin BrushMaker Pro, Black 030; Watercolor Paint; Knaid Floral Washi Tape Set
Karin BrushMaker Pro, Black 030; Watercolor Paint
Faber Castell PITT Artist Pens; Savena Black Pattern Washi Tape Set
Faber Castell PITT Artist Pens; Dalus Gold Foil Washi Tape
Tombow Dual Brush Pen #N15, black; Savena Black Pattern Washi Tape Set
Karin BrushMaker Pro, Black 030; Watercolor Paint
Karin BrushMaker Pro, Black 030; Savena Black Pattern Washi Tape Set
Grace's Grief Journal | Bullet Journal Inspired
Faber Castell PITT Artist Pens; Savena Black Pattern Washi Tape Set

Tools Used

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Why You Should Keep A Journal In Your Office

An individual who holds a journal is one with an ordered lifestyle. Learn how to keep a journal and why it's important to have a journal in your office.

Writing, keeping records, detailing proposed or intended activities of the day, keeping a physical note of achievable goals and objectives; they say is a speedy way of getting ahead in life. An individual who holds a journal is one with an ordered lifestyle; nothing jumps at him out of his schedule, he or she lives a life close to perfection, as the day is perfectly lined up in such an attractive way. He keeps a mental note and strives to hit the targets for the day. Such is the unrivaled importance of keeping a journal. 

Personal Reasons for Keeping A Journal

There are always many reasons why people keep journals; either as a means of getting life issues off their mind, a method of offloading their thoughts elsewhere, or the many other common reasons which necessitate the many types of journals such as dream journals, travel journals, gratitude journals, daily activity journal amongst others are part of the many reasons individuals keep journals. It has been reiterated that sometimes a journal does not need a specific topic such as daily random thoughts or special life milestones. Many have kept journals for a long time, and some others wanted to, but have just not been helpful too. 

Professional Reasons for Keeping A Journal

In your career, keeping journals is a very essential and highly needed habit. It is a friendly culture that you need to cultivate. One of the many advantages of maintaining journals specifically in your workplace is it helps to keep a daily note of goals and objectives to achieve, and it also allows for your ideas to be recorded as they come. You are hence boosting your capacity in the workplace.  It will enable you to be able to keep a record of the ideas that come to your mind in the course of other responsibilities so you can revisit these ideas later.

The Importance of a Journal in the Workspace

The need for keeping a journal in your office or the working environment is critical.  Most people scribble random notes. These notes can get lost in transit or amidst the hustle and bustle of the workplace. They can also render your workspace cluttered; if you do this regularly, you may be missing out on the actual activity that can improve your job success and keep your workstation organized and efficient. In a recent paper from Harvard business school.

Studies on Keeping A Journal

It was asserted that setting aside 15 minutes to reflect at the end of the workday is part of being a productive employee. Assessing plans and future goals is one of the best ways to do this is to keep a journal. 

Studies carried out on employees of a business outsourcing company about the very essence of spending some extra time journaling; writing and reflecting on the lessons they learned during the day. They did it for about ten days; another group participant only kept working to the end of the day without reflection, writing or sharing whatsoever. At the end of the experiment, it was concluded that the journaling employees performed way better than those who kept working until their shifts ended. This exemplifies the singular act that human beings need to reflect before taking future actions. 

Write It Down

Merely thinking about the ideas that jump at you in your workplace is not enough. Writing these down is the very best of the options. Journaling in the contemporary world may have been termed as trendy only among teenagers keeping stories of their escapades, the emotional ups and downs and what have you. Keeping a diary is, in its real sense an activity that has been and still being used by successful figures on the global stage. Worthy of mention are Oprah Winfrey, artist Andy Warhol, amongst others. Journaling helps in the self-revealing quest in the area of one’s life in need of improvement or amplification as demand may be. 

Individuals have from time to time highlighted how journaling has helped to improve their inner experience. There are stories that tell of how journaling started as a class activity for them and later promoted to bring about improvement in their careers. It has enabled them to notice and recognize hidden, harmful behavioral patterns and brainstorm the needed solutions. 

Why You Need A Journal in Your Office

Keeping journals would sure help in giving a new perspective and a better understanding of individual roles within the work environment. It can also help in givin a new perspective and better understanding of the points of improvement in their communication techniques with others in the workplace. At this point, you have to personally do a self-appraisal to see if keeping a journal in your workplace would be right for you. Journaling is a great and effective way to help you work through issues and ultimately grow in your career. So it’s high time you start keeping a journal and progressively log in your ideas. 

In highlighting the overall importance of keeping a journal, it helps you in the following ways;

Learning your lessons

There lies in every experience either good or bad; the little value of you being able to learn from them. Never forget to pick up the lessons imbued in every encounter within the workplace. By writing down these experiences; noting what worked and what did not, you can improve your efficiency within your workplace. 

The advantage of venting in the right place

For all your experiences in handling your numerous clients, your ever-annoying boss, your annoying colleagues, you can vent in a safe place. Negative feelings, rants, your frustrations can be written in your journal. Bottling your emotions can be very harmful. 

Envisioning the future 

The human ability to rationalize and plan towards the future is a treasured human ability. Journaling further helps to develop this trait. Aptly considering the most importantly held goals and objectives while picturing the scenarios where they can be achieved is a fundamental reason for journaling in your workplace. 

Listing good advice from your mentors

There are incredible people everywhere in life. There are experts in every sphere of human endeavor. Hence, you can list these individuals who are your mentors in your journal. Some of your mentors can be close with you; assisting where necessary. When you get great tips or ideas from your mentors, your journal serves as a perfect medium to write it down. You can then refer to it any time in the future. 

Meet the Author

Tess Cain loves being organized. If she is not working at, then she’s dedicated her time to staying clean, clutter-free and organized. She also likes the outdoors, working out and volunteering.


How to Keep a Journal for Your Pregnancy Goals

When we grow up, at least to the point where our parents don’t do our doctor’s appointments anymore, we find ourselves in a situation where we have to bring our own health decisions. Being in touch with your body and recognizing its needs is very important. Alongside, leading a healthy lifestyle is something that should become a routine, not an emergency exit. There are certain periods in women’s life when she is supposed to take extra care of her health. For any woman who plans to get pregnant at one point in her life, it is of crucial importance to take care of her health long before the actual preparations start. 

The whole process together with your daily jobs and obligations can become quite hectic. That is when keeping a pregnancy journal can come in handy. 

Do One Step At A Time

There is no right or wrong answer on how to prepare for pregnancy, although keeping a journal that will track your progress is a good place to start. When planning to get pregnant, everything hits you at once, and it can be hard to stay focused and stress-free. Many changes happening at the same time, even if they are positive can have a totally different effect and leave us exhausted and unhappy. That is why a good idea is to do it one thing at a time. In your pregnancy journal, you can set smaller goals for each month of your journey.

The First Month

So, in the first month, you can decide to leave smoking and drinking if that is something you do. Of course, one glass of wine, for example, is not going to hurt the baby, but setting some boundaries is definitely a good thing. 

The Following Months

For other months, you can give up some of the bad foods that you like to eat. This will make you feel more energized because as we know pregnancy can make you feel quite tired, and also make you and your baby healthy. Even though these changes don’t seem that serious, give yourself time because getting rid of some daily habits is challenging.

After you have done that, the next step is to dedicate some of your free time to a certain fitness routine. Mind you, it doesn’t need to be real fitness. Riding a bike, light jogging, yoga or even walking is proved to have positive effects on your health during pregnancy. It will relax you and prepare you for the best part of the pregnancy. Of course, remember to consult your doctor about what is safe. One of the key goals that your doctor will also recommend is taking enough vitamins and minerals. They will give your baby what it needs, and also keep your health and appearance in check. And if you’re planning to raise with a partner, don’t omit to research some pregnancy tips for men that can help him help you along the journey. 

As The Due Date Approaches

As you start getting closer to your due date, incorporating meditation in your daily routine would be a good idea. This is especially important if you ever feel nervous about having to give birth. Relaxing through meditation and creating a calm, peaceful environment you can spend time in, is going to help you with fear and anxiety you maybe are experiencing. 

Track Your Progress And Be Prepared

When doing any long-term project or activity, a journal helps you track your progress. Pregnancy is a time where many changes take place. Mood swings, hot flashes, soreness, changes in the food you like to eat are just some of them. If you want to keep an eye on all of that and want to minimize the side effects, writing it all down in your journal will help both you and your doctor. By avoiding foods and drinks that make you nauseous, finding the right sleeping position, or finding the right ways for you to relax you will make your whole pregnancy a lot easier. 

Another advantage is that like any other journal you can write down your feelings and that way automatically feel better. If you ever feel like you will forget to bring something or prepare for when the baby comes, a journal is a perfect way to keep all of that in one place and make sure you have everything set.

Remember The Most Emotional Moments

There is little chance you will forget about the first time you started noticing your belly, a song you sang to your baby while you were pregnant, or the first time your baby kicked. However, a journal provides a safe place where you can save all those memories together with some photos. Something else you can write there are baby names you have thought of and why. A journal like this you can continue writing even after the baby is born. The first words, steps, and bruises, all of that. A beautiful idea is to give this part of your journal to your child for their 18th birthday. And just think how nice it will be 20 years from now when you open it and read everything. 

Keeping a pregnancy journal is good for practical reasons as well as emotional. While you are pregnant, it will serve as a reminder of everything you have to do, and once you give birth, it will become a beautiful memory of the most amazing time of your life. 

Meet the Author

Lauren Laporte is a health and wellness writer at, and a huge nature enthusiast. She loves luxury and pampering herself, but she’s equally well off in a pod of mud somewhere with nothing but trees around. She is a firm believer in our body’s self-healing potential, and while there’s nothing at all wrong with conventional medicine, sometimes our bodies can do it ourselves if we take care to listen to the cues. This is mostly what she writes about. Find her on facebook, twitter.

This post was written as a guest post. guest posts are written by another party who may or may not wish to be anonymous. All posts are edited and formatted by Elizabeth Ghekiere. Want to guest post for Jihi Elephant? Learn more here.

Pim’s Empowering Words Watercolor Notebook

Pim's Empowering Words Watercolor Notebook

Pim ordered a custom bullet journal inspired planner. Pim’s planner was a homemade leatherbound notebook which she sent me. Unlike other client notebooks I’ve designed, this one is more of a journal. Instead of various layouts, there are merely random watercolor spots with empowering words on them throughout the notebook. So, here is a breakdown of the notebook created for Pim.

Layout Description

This notebook is very different then other ones I have done. Instead of creating a planner, I added artwork to a journal. Further, I added a title page, watercolor artwork, and empowering words.

Title Page

Pim’s title layout is a pink watercolor title page. For the header, “P.T.” is in a calligraphy font. Then, unlike what I usually do, there is no second line


Throughout the notebook, there are spots of watercolor in various colors. Then, these watercolor spots are generally on the edges of the pages. Further, each spot is at different places on the pages. Finally, on top of the watercolored spots are empowering words. You can check out the different words I used below.

Empowering Words

  • Strength
  • Strong
  • Brave
  • Believe
  • Capable
  • Creative
  • Courage
  • Courageous

  • Life
  • Live
  • Laugh
  • Love
  • Happy
  • Respect
  • Worthy
  • Grateful

  • Sweet
  • Compassion
  • Compassionate
  • Beautiful
  • Humility
  • Grounded
  • Curious
  • Positive

Tools Used

More on Empowerment

We’ve all been caught in a spiral before, stuck in a rut with seemingly no way out, and it’s a nasty feeling. These emotions only strengthen over time. But, pitying oneself isn’t the answer. The key is to take control of your life and better your lifestyle, and only you can make the changes. The truth is, it’s quite easy to feel empowered. KEEP READING

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The Ultimate Bullet Journal List Ideas + Examples

If you are into bullet journaling, chances are you are a list maker or want to be. I love lists so much that I created an entire notebook for my lists and collections. The vast amount of bullet journal lists and collections you can keep in your journal is amazing and sometimes overwhelming. This post is meant to inspire your list making and provide some examples of these lists to help you get started! This post may contain affiliate links

Lifestyle & General Bullet Journal Lists

  • Grocery shopping
  • General shopping
  • Wishlist
  • Birthdays
  • Dates to remember
  • List of lists
  • Braindump
  • Collections
  • Favorite quotes
  • Favorites
  • Events
  • gift ideas/planning