This article was originally posted by Liz Huber on Quora.

1. Create a journaling routine:

Pick a time each day (or every few days) where you will dedicate 10–20min to journaling. I find it works best first thing in the morning or before going to bed every day. Put it in your calendar, set a reminder on your phone and stick to it for 3 weeks. After that, your habit will have manifested and it should feel like brushing your teeth — you can’t go a day without it.

2. Get a physical notebook:

Pick a really nice one, one that makes you WANT to fill it with words. Pick a nice pen too. This will make it feel more like a ritual.

3. Pick your journaling format:

Depending on the time of day you are journaling, your journaling goal and preference, there are different formats that might be helpful. Here are a few examples:

Question led journaling:


  • What are my 3 most important things today that I need to get done?
  • What am I excited about today?
  • What is my intention for the day?


  • List 3 things you are grateful for today
  • List 5 things that went well today
  • What could I have done better today?

Open journaling:

  • Do a Brain Dump
  • Write down ideas
  • Write down your feelings
  • Reflect on your day
  • Meditate on a problem

4. Stick to the same journaling structure every day:

For example: always use two pages for each day, always have the same questions at the same order every time. Why? This will make it easier for you to discover patterns in your thoughts and behaviours. See point 5.

5. Regularly review your journal to discover patterns in your thoughts and behaviours:

And ultimately, define actions to take based on your findings.

Here are some examples:

  • I have been complaining about severe back pain every evening in my journal. However, I haven’t done something against it yet. It is time to take action
  • I have not been writing down ANYTHING that I am excited about for the following day in weeks. I should change something in my life.

Thanks to Liz for writing this article, it's a great step-by-step guide for journal beginners.

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