Start a journal this New Year!

Starting a journal is a common New Years’ resolution, and for good reason. Regular journaling comes with a host of benefits: it can improve your mental health, calm anxiety, keep you organised, even boost your I.Q. However, it can feel overwhelming to step into a world of Ryder Carroll methods, washi tape, daily spreads, and ink types (who knew paper was measured in grams per square metre?), so here are five easy steps to starting a journal.

Step One – Research

YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, TikTok – there’s not a social media platform out there that won’t have some form of journaling content. Watching how other people lay out their journals is very useful when it comes to planning your own, and you can get so many great ideas from watching other people.

Step Two – Stop Researching

You heard me. Haul yourself out of the #bujo rabbit hole you’ve fallen into. Step Two is even more than Step One, because while it’s great to watch other people create their journals, it’s even more important to know what you want your journal to look like. Some people like to keep it minimalist while others like to go all out with watercolours, inks, and paints. You can be either or both – do whatever feels right.

Step Three – Keep It Real

So you’ve done your research, you’ve made a list of all the pens that one YouTuber said you needed, you’ve got your washi tape, stickers, and mulberry paper, you bought the cloth-bound, gilt-edged, 100% vegan, 160gsm, gold foiled journal, and now you’re scared to look at your bank balance because you didn’t realise you’d have to take out a second mortgage for a hobby that’s supposed to be relaxing. Here’s some homespun wisdom for you: you don’t actually need washi tape to keep a journal. Some people enjoy the creative aspect to journaling, and they treat their journal as they would an art book, but if that’s not right for you, then don’t do it.

Step Four – Be Honest

For some people, their journal is their planner, organiser, diary, and scrapbook. For some people, their journal is a calendar and a place to record their thoughts. Don’t feel you have to plan daily spreads and weekly habit trackers if those aren’t your thing. Be honest with yourself about how much time and energy you can put into your journal. Form your journaling intentions around yourself, not the other way around.

Step Five – Have Fun

A journal is a wonderful expressive tool. You can fill the pages with doodles, stickers, your 3am wisdoms, photos, calendars, that idea you had for a screenplay – whatever you want. It’s easy to get bogged down in supplies and spreads, but at the core of journaling is getting to know yourself. If stationary makes your heart sing, then go buy that washi tape. If the idea of drawing spreads makes your heart sink, then don’t draw them. It’s that simple, and that fun.


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