I’ve had a lot of people ask me about my journaling process in the last few weeks, so I thought I’d write a post on it. In 2004, my mentor, Larry Bettencourt, encouraged me to start journaling. At the time I was 18 and I thought journaling was for sissies! However, when he showed me his journal and the process he used for journaling, I got fired up about it. I went out and bought a notepad and started journaling immediately.

I’ve been journaling for 10 years now and it’s been one of the most rewarding things I’ve done. I can’t encourage you enough to start journaling today if you haven’t already. Here’s my process:

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What Kind of Journal You Should Use – The one that works best for you. I’ve probably tried 5-6 different journals before I found the one I am current using. Here is a link to the journals I use now. I absolutely love them. However, I started with a notepad! Some people journal online using Evernote. The best journal is the one you’ll use!

How Long Should I use My Journal – Until it’s full or until a new year begins. I usually fill up 2 journals per year. Every year I start with a new journal. Some people just keep writing, but I like to categorize my journals by year. Do whatever works for you.

What to Journal: Honestly, it’s up to you what your journal about. Your journal is YOUR journal. The best journal entries are the ones you’ll actually write! While I’m about to share how I journal, don’t think that it’s the only way to journal. How I journal now is completely different than how I journaled in 2004. Let your journaling style develop over time. Here is what I journal:

  • What I do Everyday –  I have 2 pages back to back always devoted to a summary of what I did everyday. I write: Tuesday, January 7th: Devo’s, Blogged, Worked out, Work, Met with X, Dinner with Laura, Out with _. Then I skip a line and write the next day. I’m basically trying to hit the highlights.
  • Memories:  I also devote 2 pages at a time to memories so they are all in one place. I literally write down every memory that I want to remember. Anything I did that was noteworthy, anything funny that happened, etc. Then at the end of the year, I type a report up of all my memories for that year. It’s a blast to go back through each years memories. This is well worth the investment of time it takes!
  • Devotions/Growth –  When I’m reading my Bible and other books in the morning, I’ll write down any key verses or truths I’ve pulled from them in my journal. I may or may not write about how the verse or statements are relevant to me. I also bring my journal with me to church, conferences, interviews, etc. in order to write down any key statements. I don’t use my journal for note taking, but if someone says something I believe has the power to be life changing, I’ll write it in my journal.
  • God – When I write a “God” heading in my journal, it’s for God moments. Maybe God spoke something to my heart, taught me something very specific, allowed me to have a cool experience, is helping me through a situation, etc. It’s where I journal about what God is doing in my life.
  • General Journaling –  This is what you typically think of when you think of journaling. I write out whatever is on my heart. It may be about what is going on at work, in my marriage, with my friends, etc. or it may be things that I am struggling with, growing through, etc.
  • Prayer – Throughout the year, I’ll journal what I’m praying for. It’s fun to go back and see what prayers God answered.
  • Notes from my Reviews – I try to do quarterly reviews throughout the years. At the end of each quarter I try to take a half day and reflect on the last quarter. I’ll write my thoughts from the reviews in my journal.

What to do with Your Journals: 

  • Year-End Report – During my Year-end review, I essentially try to make a summary report of everything that happened in my year. I go back through my calendar and my journal to make this report. You can learn how I do this report by listening and reading my year-end review process.
  • Go Back and Read Through Old Journals – Keep all your old journals somewhere safe. Every once in a while, take some time to read through them. You’ll be surprised how much you’ve grown over the years. It’s so interesting to look back and see what you were worried about, what you were praying about, and what you were growing through in years past.

How do your journal? Is there anything you would add to this post? I am always looking for better ways to do things! Leave a comment below!

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