Start journaling: how to keep a journal for greater success
Start journaling: how to keep a journal for greater success

Start journaling and keep a journal for greater success

What if you started a daily journal? Can journaling really help you to be more successful? Why is journaling so popular? How can journaling make you more successful?

You’ve probably heard of gratitude journals, bullet journals or travel diaries. If you can think of it, everyone who keeps a journal swears it’s the best thing ever.

There’s a reason you hear so much about journaling. Journaling is a key success habit. Of course, journaling is not a panacea for every problem, but the habit offers many benefits.

This article explains how different types of diaries can help you succeed. You will also find some ideas and examples of how to get started with journaling, as well as some tips on how to create an established habit in your daily life and maximise the power of journaling.

What is journaling?

Journaling is the process of getting your thoughts out of your head and onto paper on a regular basis.

All you have to do is sit down and start writing? Write a little every day?

You might be surprised at the simplicity behind the concept of journaling. It may seem like a new fad, but journaling is not a new habit. People have been documenting their lives for centuries, and for good reason. Whether it’s a reminder or a way to release your emotions, journaling can help.

It is a mental, emotional and spiritual exercise that helps build strong emotional muscles. It is a powerful way to understand your thoughts, emotions and desires.

Journaling can vary from person to person, and there is no right or wrong way. There are no rules, you can find your way. You can (and should) find a method that works for you.

What are the benefits of journaling?

Whether you are questioning your life or your future, or need to organise your thoughts for clarity, journaling can support you.

benefits of journaling

Don’t underestimate the benefits of journaling, it has been shown to help reduce stress, improve cognitive function and reduce symptoms of depression.

This practice allows you to focus your thoughts on many aspects of your life:

  • Caring for your well-being
  • Clarifying your goals
  • Dealing with your emotions
  • Developing faith
  • Recognising your progress
  • Practising gratitude
  • Finding new ideas

We all have too many ideas, opinions and thoughts running through our heads. It can be difficult to identify some of these ideas and what they mean to us.

Writing down your thoughts helps you to disconnect and understand that your thoughts do not control you. It also helps you to more clearly identify your anxiety triggers and understand how to deal with them effectively.

Keeping a journal about yourself helps you to know yourself better. You can always look at your old journals (which I highly recommend!) and see how much you’ve changed and grown over time.

It’s a great way to remember what you’ve been through, both the good times and the bad. There are many things we forget, but by writing about them, we immortalise them in our diary pages.

What types of journaling are there?

One of the best things about journaling is its flexibility. The method you choose is not as important as the habit of journaling on a regular basis. It can take many formats and you can adapt this variety to your mood. You can adapt this practice to your day or feeling. Let’s look at some ideas to get you started.

What do you need to start keeping a diary?

What types of journaling are there?

One of the best things about journaling is its flexibility. The method you choose is not as important as the habit of journaling on a regular basis. It can take many formats and you can adapt this variety to your mood.

You can adapt this practice to your day or feeling. Let’s look at some ideas to get you started.

Gratitude journal

Gratitude journaling is a very popular choice for beginners. Being aware of what you are grateful for is a great way to look at life and can really improve your mood. Don’t make it too complicated.

A simple list will do. If you are looking to develop positive habits, this is the way to go. The best known is The 5 Minutes Journal which I used for a very long time.

Prompt journaling or diary

Prompt journaling is a journaling idea that helps you focus on what to write. This type of journal gives you a clear direction before you start writing.

Sometimes I really don’t know what to write about, and that’s okay. Life is overwhelming enough as it is. So, this is a journal that has questions or suggestions of things to write about that day.

Brain dump journal or brain dump

Unlike the diary, the brain dump diary is a free text. The aim of this journal is not to plan anything, just to write the first thing that comes to mind.

What do you need to express yourself about? It’s a journal for you to express yourself. You don’t give it much shape, just let your thoughts wander and write them down.

This is very useful when you feel overwhelmed with too many thoughts or you don’t really know what you want to write about.

Bubble journal or bullet journal

Also known as BuJo, this format is very popular on the internet. The aim here is to be minimalist. In this journal template, you’ll break things down into bullet points: tasks, events, notes and habits.

This type of journal helps you keep track of all the important elements of your routine, habits, challenges, goals.

The entries tend to be short and very visual, with icons and colours used for easy organisation. Some people like to add colours and stickers to make it more colourful and fun.

Travel diary

Writing about the places you’ve visited and the people you’ve met while exploring new places is a fun way to keep a journal. It is a nice way to start for those who are not ready to start writing about their feelings.

Creative journaling

There are no limits in journaling, so journaling doesn’t have to be written down. You can explore your creativity in other ways: draw a picture, make a collage, compose a song or a poem. You can also try voice memos if you don’t want to write. Personalise and share your emotions with yourself.

What do you need to start keeping a diary?

All you really need to start a journal is something to write about, and something to write with.

The medium is up to you: a paper journal and a good pen, or your iPad/stylus and a note app with a digital journal.

It’s important to choose a journal that is dedicated exclusively to your journaling practice though, it will put you in the right mindset every time you open it and plus you can easily find your entries.

I’ve adopted the digital versions, as it allows me to easily make a habit of it and also to be more free and creative.

If you have arrived at this article and have never tried a digital diary or notebook before, I recommend you read the article: What you need to know about switching to a digital diary.

Why do you want to start journaling?

Knowing why you keep a diary is interesting in order to make it a long-term habit. Do you know what your motivation is behind the intention to keep a diary?

Journaling can help improve many areas of our lives: your career, your well-being, your mental, physical or financial health. If you think that writing down your feelings is the only way, you are mistaken.

I suggest you answer the following questions to help you focus your intentions with journaling. Once you have done this, keep your answers visible so you can always come back.

  • How can you take better care of yourself?
  • What do you want more of in your life?
  • What areas in your life do you feel you need to improve?
  • What is holding you back and preventing you from moving forward?
  • How do you start journaling and make it a habit?

The key to journaling is consistency. Here are 5 tips to help you journal on a daily basis:


The best way to stick with it is to choose the method that works for you. Choose from the types of journaling described above or make a mix of your favorite types of journaling.

You can also try out different ways of doing things to find what you like. Keep it simple, at least for now. Once journaling has become a normal part of your routine, you can challenge yourself with different writing challenges.


One of the easiest strategies for keeping a new habit is to make sure you set aside time.

With a pre-set schedule for journaling each day, about 20 minutes, you are more likely to succeed. It can be in the morning, afternoon, evening, whatever suits you. Find a simple method that works for you and stick to it.


Buy nice (digital) journals, choose notebooks or ready-made journals that motivate and inspire you.

Create an environment where journaling is a positive part of your day: have a cup of coffee or tea, light a candle and find a quiet, comfortable place.

Above all, don’t forget your judgement! Don’t worry about what you write in your journal. “Does the sentence make sense? Is it grammatically correct? Am I writing enough?” Don’t get stuck on small details.

Let your thoughts and feelings flow naturally onto the page. After all, you are keeping a journal for your eyes only.


It takes days or weeks to develop new habits. Number the pages to understand and encourage your progress. Or choose a 90-day journal that is already paginated to encourage you to establish new habits.


Journaling is a life-changing habit, but it doesn’t solve every problem. You can’t expect magic. But it can help you learn more about yourself, improve your mood and feel happier.

Don’t think of it as a single solution. Think of it as part of a larger movement to improve your life.

The digital diary

Digital planning is a new way of combining handwriting with the advantages of digital technology. With a digital diary you can do any kind of journaling.

Digital diaries and agendas are PDF files that you import into a note application on an iPad or tablet. A digital diary partially imitates the look of a paper diary or notebook. This allows us to use them in the same way as a paper diary or planner, but with all the notes kept digitally.

In addition, digital versions are much less cumbersome. A digital diary allows you to have infinite pages, you can duplicate any page of your diary to suit your needs.

The 90 Day Journal Method

As an avid journaler and self-developer for many years, I felt the need to create a daily journal that includes all the essential elements for an enjoyable and successful journaling practice.

Each part of the 90 Day Journal is designed to help you establish new habits and gain perspective on your life, your happiness, your purpose and your goals in life. This journal is a mix of gratitude journal, prompt journal, bullet journal and brain dump journal types.

Setting goals at the beginning of the year can be uplifting and exciting, but the excitement quickly wears off once the routine begins. The 90 Day Journal is a unique tool that helps you stay motivated for 90 days.

Daily Motivation Journal. By writing down your daily goals, habits and life purpose, you can feel empowered to take small (big) steps towards your dreams! It helps make journaling an easy and enjoyable habit while keeping track of your thoughts, daily gratitude and ideas.


  • Define your life mission
  • Have moments of gratitude.
  • Define your goals.
  • Have life habits consistent with the first 3 points.
  • Write reflections.
  • Track your daily habits


  • Calendar and important dates
  • Life mission
  • 10 Goals
  • One page to detail each goal
  • 2 Daily pages D1 to D90 (page 1 prompt journal style, page 2 brain dump)
  • 7 day reflection pages
  • Daily habit tracker
  • 30, 60, 90 day reflection page


The 90 Day Journal is very easy to use. Plus, because it’s a digital file, you can create a copy and start over every 90 days. You just need to keep an original file in your folders.

I have prepared a short list to help you get started:

  • 1 – Set a start date!
  • 2️ – Write down your life mission in detail.
  • 3️ – Create a visualization board with images of the life you want to accomplish.
  • 4️ – Define (in detail) your annual and quarterly goals.
  • 5️ – Define your daily habits.
  • 6️ – Day 1 to Day 90: Write down EVERY DAY your gratitudes, mission (summary), goals, habit tracking, fears, and solutions.
  • 7 – Day 1 to day 90: Write your thoughts freely in the “Journal/Brain dump” page
  • 8 – Track your daily habits day by day.
  • 9 – Every 7 days, ask yourself the right questions.
  • 10 – Every 30 days, answer questions about your results and progress. Write down some notes.
  • 11 – Want to write more? Duplicate any page as needed.
  • 12 – Repeat every 90 days. Keep a copy of this undated journal in your files and duplicate the document when you want to spread it out for another 90 days.


It is important to note that habits and goals are not the same thing. Habits are activities or attitudes that you want to implement day by day that will have a positive impact on your life, here are some examples:

  • Reading 10 minutes
  • Yoga or meditation 15 minutes
  • Go to the gym
  • Study a new language 30 minutes
  • Spend evenings with your family

You should define your daily routine according to your life mission and goals. For example, you have a goal to publish your first book, so your daily routine might be “write 10 pages a day” and “read research content”.

Your goals are broader and include your habits. For this, I have created a page that helps you define your goals in detail.

The 90 Day Journal has 10 goal pages and 10 habit pages to give you the freedom to choose your goals and habits. However, you don’t have to fill in everything. You can decide what you want to focus on in the next 90 days. Setting achievable goals is important.


The 90-day journaling was a turning point for me. Moreover, this process works for both personal and professional goals.

Prioritise: in 90 days you have a realistic vision and you put fewer barriers to your success. Every day counts, no day should be taken for granted.

Accomplish: in 90 days you can clearly see results. You have time to make important changes in your life.

Motivate: in 90 days it is easier to stay motivated. And every 90 days you can start again. It’s even easier when you have a digital diary.

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