Journal Challenge: 3 Steps To Get You Started

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Have you ever thought about journaling after seeing various health and wellness influencers promote it? Perhaps, you’re intrigued but don’t know where to start.

Besides being on trend, journaling actually has many benefits. It’s a great personal check-in tool. You literally clear out your brain by writing out the things you’re worried about, stressed over, grateful for, etc.

It not only helps you understand yourself more deeply, but it also decreases stress, anxiety and feelings of overwhelm.

It’s a mindfulness tool. And it’s best results will come from having a consistent journaling practice. So, how does one start a journaling routine?

Step 1: Prepare Your Space

Close up of the journal as a lovely lady begins to write

You can’t possibly start a journaling practice without a journal. So, grab yourself one that you love makes you excited to start!

Check out this classic Moleskine journal or get a journal from a small business on Etsy.

In addition to having your journal, it’s best to determine a time and place for this new habit. I have found that first thing in the morning or right before bed is most beneficial, but any time of day works. 

Place your journal wherever you decide to journal each day. You may lay it next to your bed if you prefer to do it in the morning or night. And you may choose to keep it on your office desk so you can journal at lunchtime.

Keeping it out will provide a reminder for you to open it up and write your little heart out.

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Step 2: Declare Your Intention

Blonde-haired woman sitting in chair, working on her journal challenge

Are you feeling called to free write and dump out your ideas and feelings? Are you ready to start your own gratitude practice to shift your mindset? Do you want to have a different journal prompt every day? Or are you inclined to begin your journal entries with “Today I…?”

While you can certainly switch your intention from day to day, you will likely be most impacted by this new habit by choosing one intention for the first month or so and work it into your daily routine. So for this 30-day journal challenge, choose just one style of journaling and stick with it. 

Once you know your intention of what you will write, it’s also important to determine how long you will write every day. A gratitude practice can take as little as a few minutes, while the other options will offer more benefits if given 7-10 minutes at minimum. 

So, what amount of time do you believe you can consistently commit to a daily journal? If daily is too often, you can also develop a weekly routine.

Step 3: Write Your Heart Out

The same lovely journaling lady looking up from her journal as she decides what to write

Free Write

This is the most common way to journal. There are no rules or prompts. You simply open your journal, put your pen to paper and write non-stop. 

Some days you may feel stuck and not sure what to write. Other days the time will fly. But, even on the days you feel stuck, write. It may look like “I don’t know what to write today…” but actually writing is better than sitting there with a blank page. More will flow out of you eventually, and remember, there is no “right” or “perfect” in journaling.


A gratitude journal is a simple and quick way to dive into the journaling world. Every day, write 5 “I am grateful for…” statements. See if you can come up with new things every day.

Example: I am grateful for the sunshine on my skin. I am grateful for my body’s ability to climb stairs. I am grateful for my kids sleeping in today. I am grateful for family dinner and connection time. I am grateful for dark chocolate.

You will be surprised at how being thankful for the little things can really start to change your life. 

Bullet Journal

A bullet journal (bujo for short) is another great way to get into a journal habit. Unlike freewriting or gratitude journaling, bullet journals provide the outline for you, and all you have to do is fill it in with relevant details about your own life. 

For example, this journal includes pages like the best books you’ve read, goal reflection and year at a glance. It’s not going to tap into any childhood memory or help you with any deep self-reflection, but it’s a great way to incorporate writing into your daily life, and your future self will be glad you did. 

Journaling Prompts

If you want to know exactly what to write about each day and prefer variability, journal prompts may suit you best. Here are 10 writing prompts to start your journal entry:

  1. What aspects of your life (routine, relationships, work, environment) bring you joy?
  2. List all the things you’ve accomplished this year.
  3. List the people that make you feel happy and why.
  4. What aspects of your life suck your energy? Can you set boundaries or delegate any?
  5. List the spaces in your life you would like to be more organized. Pick one thing to do today.
  6. List all of the things you love about yourself.
  7. What are you curious to learn more about? How/where can you learn more about these things?
  8. List the people, experiences and feelings you want to say yes to.
  9. List the people, experiences and things you want to say no to.
  10. What are your favorite ways to practice self-love? Pick one thing to do today.


Start Your Challenge

Ready to start? 

Grab your best friend and do the writing challenge together; you’ll have some accountability and someone to talk to about what you’re experiencing as you journal. 

The benefits of journaling can certainly be felt the first time you sit down to write, but the magic really presents itself when you keep a consistent habit. It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3.

  1. Prepare Your Space
  2. Declare Your Intention
  3. Write Your Heart Out

You might also be interested in: How To Start A Journaling Routine [And All The Benefits]


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