Last Tuesday was a special day for me – it marked 100 straight days of daily journaling! I’ve been a journaler since I was a little girl, but I’ve always struggled with consistency. It was easier to journal daily once I switched to writing in the morning, but I still found it difficult to haul myself out of bed every day. But on April 6th of this year, I set about to begin again. And for some reason, my determination to establish this habit has stuck around! Today I want to share three tips to make journaling a part of your morning routine.
A big thanks to Carole and her Three on Thursday linkup! Be sure to visit her blog and the others participating!
1. Prepare the night before
What would help draw you out of bed each morning? Sometimes it’s just knowing that you’re going to enjoy what’s waiting for you. I tried to wake up to exercise every morning for years, but that was hopeless because I don’t like to exercise; so try to make sure you’re especially tempted by what’s waiting for you. Before going to bed, you could try tidying your writing area and preparing it for the next morning. Maybe set out a candle or a bouquet of flowers. Prepare a tray with your teapot and pretty cups so that you only need to add hot water and will be able smell the tea leaves steeping as you begin to write.
I prepare my coffeepot each evening and think about why. While measuring out the grounds and pouring in the water, I’m making a promise to myself. I remind myself that I’m taking the time to prepare today to ensure my happiness for tomorrow. And I think that’s what all of these little habits are for – taking care of ourselves in little ways now to ensure that it all adds up to something far greater in the long run.
2. Make it as special as possible
I think this is especially important when you’re establishing the habit, but becomes less important over time. So, in the beginning, spoil yourself: buy that super fancy notebook that seems too expensive for every day use. Go for the fountain pens or pricey gel pens that make writing a total joy. Look at these purchases as investments for your future self. Savor them. Make the whole routine as luxurious as possible!
Another way to make it special is to dedicate your first half hour awake to your notebook. No computer, no phone, no other distractions. You, your favorite legal caffeinated substance, and your notebook. This is why you woke up half an hour earlier. You were looking for extra time to establish this habit and this time is dedicated to your notebook. You still have all day for the other things tugging at your attention.
And you can use your writing time to examine those other things. A lot of people say that they have no idea what to write about – but if you’re itching to scroll through your phone or iPad, then write about that. Write about everything else you’d rather be doing. And then write about why you’re choosing to sit with your notebook instead and why this is special to you.
3. Look for gentle accountability
Is there a kindred spirit in your life? Someone who sees the value of 30 minutes a day, alone at a table, scribbling away? Anyone else who gets especially excited about the topic of notebooks and fancy pens? Perhaps it’s someone you share an office with (hello Jordy, my old office mate!) or an old friend from your hometown. In my first job out of college, I had a colleague who would always let me know when the new office supply catalog arrived. She and I would proceed to make cups of tea and pore over the catalog for the rest of the afternoon. These are kindred spirits, my friends, and they want to see you succeed.
Share your successes with the people who will cheer you on! Don’t get stuck on the days that you miss, but encourage each other each time you meet your daily goal. Maybe pick a day once a week or once a month to write about your progress on your blog. Follow hashtags to find other kindred spirits to help you on your journey. Although Instagram can be a double edged sword, sometimes it can be truly awe inspiring. You might see the perfect set up that you can easily replicate to help you along your way.
You’ll feel silly. I know that I do each Monday morning when I write my Hobonichi blog post. And sometimes I think I should just keep my notebooks to myself because no one cares. But guess what? I care. And that means someone else in the big, wide world will find some sort of inspiration from my posts because I’m not that weird. And I get all sorts of encouragement by writing those posts. On the most basic level, I know that I need to follow through with my goals so that I have something to write about each Monday morning. And sometimes that’s enough accountability to ensure consistency!
I’m thinking of hosting a link up each Monday for other people who are seeking journaling inspiration and gentle accountability, but I’m not sure if there’s much interest. I’d love a weekly dose of inspiration from as many different mediums as possible – planner spreads, journaling updates, art journal layouts – anything! I love the name “Share Your Spread” but it looks like someone briefly used that as a linkup name a few years ago. Let me know if it’s something you might like to participate in!
What journaling tips would you like to share with other journal lovers? Why do you keep showing up to your notebooks? What are some of your favorite supplies? I’d like to hear from you in the comments!
Here are a few of the supplies I’ve been using lately, in case you’re having a hard time deciding how to to start!