Journalling or keeping a diary to document your thoughts, feelings, progress and goals can lead to a number of benefits, and there are a couple of different types of journaling to try.

Whether you are already an avid journaler, or you are interested in some of the widely discussed benefits of journaling, we have got some interesting insights into the positive influences keeping a journal can have when it comes to reaching your goals. And depending on what kind of writer you are, or what life goals you wish to map out, there are a few different approaches to keeping a journal that you can try out and see what suits you. 

Types of journaling:

  • Bullet journaling 
  • Dream journaling
  • Stream of consciousness journaling
  • Gratitude journaling 
  • Self reflection journaling

The benefits of journaling

An open diaryJournaling is by no means a new concept, in fact, there is evidence that humans have been journaling in one form or another for hundreds of years and for good reason. Writing down our thoughts of feelings on paper gives us an opportunity to emotionally download, reflect, plan and set goals for ourselves that ultimately drive us forwards. 

Journaling can provide a level of mental clarity that we might not be able to achieve by just allowing our thoughts to swirl around in our minds. By giving us the time, space and structure in order to self reflect on the events in our day, how each made us feel, what we would do the next time to improve and what new ambitions we would like to set our sights on, we can formulate a plan that would otherwise have been potentially vague or overlooked. Not to mention journaling’s stress relieving properties – seeing an action plan, or even just allowing a stream of thoughts on a page can do a lot for relieving feelings of anxiety or pent up emotions. 

It also, of course, allows us to document what we learn as we learn it, or record ideas for ourselves to refer back to at a later date in order to accelerate our personal development. At OYNB, we often encourage our members to keep a journal to track progress on an alcohol-free journey as changes can be small and incremental – being able to visualise change over long periods in a journal can offer a tangible representation for the headway you have made and keep you motivated towards the next milestone. 

Types of journaling

All sounds pretty promising, right? If you like what you hear and want in on a cut of the action, here are some of the types of journaling you can try out and begin manifesting the life you want… watch this space!

Bullet journaling 

Bullet journaling is a brilliant kind of journaling for beginners getting into the habit of writing in a diary, or for those who don’t have a huge amount of time to dedicate to writing pages and pages about their hopes and dreams. This way of journaling is designed to be a quick fire round to get ideas on paper, and as the name suggests, allows you to simply bullet point thoughts, action points or observations. 

While you can purchase specific journals designed for bullet journaling, any kind of notebook can be made into a bullet journal and you can organise it to suit you. First consider what you want to get out of your journaling experience, and then frame the themes of bullet points you wish to cover around these. 

Dream journaling

Your subconscious is a complicated network of thoughts and most of these thoughts don’t come to the surface unprompted. This is where dreams can help us to understand ourselves and what our subconscious mind might be mulling over. Keeping a dream journal could offer some valuable insight into what is worrying you, holding you back or what your ultimate life aspirations are. 

Dream journaling is the practise of recording whatever fragments of your dreams you can still remember when you wake up while they are still fresh in your mind. Not all dreams will make sense at the time, but by recording them, you can reflect back to see what they might be telling you, or at least give you some laughs. 

Stream of consciousness journaling

As the name suggests, this type of journaling has little to no structure when it comes to writing your thoughts down, you just let them flow as they come to you. No need to worry about grammar, spelling or punctuation, just allow your thoughts to come and go as you record them on paper. 

The idea is that by not overthinking what you are writing down, and just giving yourself the opportunity to record what you’re thinking as you’re thinking it, you are more likely to get an authentic explanation of what is going on inside your head. 

This type of journaling can be very cathartic as it means you can clear your mind of thoughts without overworking it. You can even doodle your thoughts if that is easier for you to get pen on paper. 

Gratitude journaling 

We have mentioned keeping a gratitude journal a lot in the past, and that is because this kind of journaling is arguably one of the most important. It is all about writing down what you are grateful for each day, including the tiniest, seemingly insignificant things that you might forget to appreciate. 

It is easy to focus on the negative things in life that are getting you down, so by flipping the script and instead taking the time to focus on all of the positive things going on in your life, you can begin to reframe your perspective in a positive way. 

Start by writing down 5 things you are grateful for, maybe twice a week or so. You will likely start to notice that you begin to acknowledge things you are grateful for as they happen, thinking ‘I will remember that for my gratitude journal’. Over time you develop a habit of recognising the positive things to be thankful for over the negative things, all of which helps to build towards a happier mindset. 

Self reflection journaling

Self reflection journaling is the kind of journaling that arguably offers the most opportunity for learning. It focuses on looking back at your experiences, actions and reactions, how these behaviours impacted the world around you. It gives you the chance to think about how you could do things differently the next time for a more desirable or effective result or equally, you could discuss things that went well for you, and you can reflect on which actions lead to these results so you can reinforce these positive behaviours. 

Being reflective can be difficult as it requires you to take a step back and consider how your actions may have influenced an experience one way or another, and take into account the reactions and perspectives of others, but it can offer a lot in the way of self awareness and development. 

Move in the right direction 

Journaling has been coveted as one of the best ways to begin manifesting the life you want. No, diaries are not a wishing well designed to solve all your problems, but by aligning yourself with your hopes and dreams, you are more likely to spot these opportunities as they come along. You may have heard about the Law of Attraction that discusses how you can influence what happens in your life by what you put out into the world. The idea being you can attract what you want in life by focusing on it – and that is exactly what journaling gives you the opportunity to do. Start small, and be patient. Find out what kind of journaling suits you and your thought processes and give it a go.


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