Originally posted on BlackGirlBliss.com

Remember when Moesha would sit at her desk or lay across her bed and write in her journal, recording her thoughts as she navigated young womanhood and all that it entailed? I bet you can hear that theme music in your head right now. Keeping a diary used to feel like the ultimate teen-girl thing to do. But for some of us, writing out the happenings of our days never seemed appealing.

Journaling is a subject that comes up often in the realms of self-care and intentional living. It’s perceived as a habit that very spiritual, in-tune-with-the-universe people do, usually in the morning or before bed. While this may be true, journaling is not always the most appealing practice to adopt. For those who don’t like to write or feel it’s too time-consuming and extra exhausting to try to focus your messy thoughts into coherent lines on paper. 

The thing about journaling is that yes, it is something that tuned-in people do and it is good practice to adopt into your morning or nightly routine. Regular reflection should be a part of everyone’s spiritual and self-care practice, as it helps us to see what’s working and what’s not, and develop a plan to change. However, the standard “Dear Diary” we saw depicted so often in the media is not the only way to intentionally reflect on the happenings of your life. Here are five ways you can use a journal that don’t require long, dramatic entries and won’t cost you hours of your time (or feeling in your fingers). So head to your nearest stationery supplier, find the cutest journal they have, and get to it!

Track your goals.

Use your journal to track the goals you have set for yourself. Many people use versions of bullet journaling, which allows you to come up with creative and visual ways to track your habits, keep a calendar, and see how well you’ve done throughout the week or month. You could also create a list of goals and due dates to measure what you are able to accomplish. 

Plan your future.

Another way to use your journal is to write out the things you want to see manifested in your life. You can make it as visual or word heavy as you want. You may suddenly get an idea of something you want to try or create. Write it down in your journal. Write the story of your life, or any vision you hold for yourself, in grand detail. There it will stay in your journal for you to revisit, reread, and revise as desired.

Notes to self.

If you meditate or participate in other methods of reflection, you may download ideas messages that you want to remember. Keep these in a section of your journal. Perhaps you experience something and realize the lesson that you learned from it. Write that down as well. Soon enough, you will have a healthy collection of tips and advice from you to you and you don’t have to worry about trying to remember what your grandma said to you in a dream. It’s all in the journal!

Show your gratitude.

Your journal is the perfect place to keep a list of things you are grateful for. This can be a daily list, a weekly download, or a monthly reflection, however you wish to reflect on the good things that have come to you and the things you have learned. Then on those days where nothing seems to be going your way, you can look back on all the good and remind yourself just how much magic is in your daily life. 

Draw pictures.

If you’re not much of the writing type, or you’re a person who responds better to visuals than words, drawing pictures can be the most beneficial way to use a journal. Anything from doodles to full art pieces can be created in your journal, with any medium you so choose, to depict the happenings of your life and your inner self. You could decide to name or caption your piece with a thought, a mood, a date, or description of significance.

Don’t forget, the point of using your journal is to reflect. That means you should set aside time not only to write and create in your journal but to go back and read the things you’ve written as a sort of self-to-self check-in. Challenge yourself to use a journal at least a few times a week. You can use the ideas above or freestyle on your own, whatever feels best to you. 

Happy journaling!

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