Journaling Basics: Top 6 Most Frequently Asked Questions

Journaling Basics, Most Frequently Asked Questions

 In Coaching, Goals, Gratitude, Happiness, Journaling, Mindset, Motivation, Organization, Podcast, Thoughts

6 Most Frequently Asked Questions About Journaling

Now, Journaling is my ‘Jam’…it’s what I credit with completely turning my life around when I was in my own little pit of negativity behaving like Eeyore on a bad day.

It helped me find my positive pants, pull em up and start actually living my life again!

In fact, it got me LIVING life more than I had EVER lived life before.

I was braver, I was happier, I was more positive.

I essentially built a new foundation with my mindset and thought processes that I could move forwards from with confidence, motivation and drive instead of staying stuck exactly where I was.

I’m very honest about my previous ‘mindset pickle’ and how Journaling was one of the key tools that got me out of it so I get a lot of questions on the topic.

I thought I would answer a few of the most common ones right here for your reading pleasure!

What is Journaling?

There are SO many different ways to Journal but essentially what Journaling actually is at it’s core is a written (or recorded- audio/video!) record of your thoughts, feelings and daily experiences.

It can help you make sense of your world and what’s going on in it and hugely increase your self awareness, which is one of the major keys to changing any behaviour.

It’s also a great way of getting what’s inside of you…outside of you! Which can make huge shifts in your mindset.

It also allows you to shift your focus and reflect.

It’s a personal development tool that anyone can use…whether you like writing or not!

It’s using whichever method is right for you (most people use a journal, either a blank notebook or pre-made journal with prompts) and it helps with ALL sorts of things like productivity, organisation, confidence, positivity, anything really!

How long am I supposed to Journal for?

You’re either going to love or HATE this answer. The reality is….as long as you want!

You want it to be a habit that you stick to. I personally Journal for 5 minutes per day….that’s it…5 minutes! I’ve had life changing results from that!

Some people Journal for hours. It’s all about your style, what you will actually enjoy and stick to and what you want to get out of it.

I mainly Journal for positivity and to enable reflection which is something I find really important for me and my continuing mindset jiggery pokery!

BUT it really can be done in 5 minutes per day, and then I spend a little longer on reflection at the end of every month and reflect over and re live all the amazing things that happened that month. 🙂

It really is completely up to you…no right or wrong!

Why can’t I stick to it?

This is one that comes up time and time again. The bottom line is people don’t appreciate that they need to form a new habit to be able to stick to Journaling, just like you do for going to the gym.

Forming a new habit takes TIME and EFFORT and it’s being aware of the process, and aware that it will feel like effort until it becomes just what you do!

You need to make it as easy on yourself as you can until that habit is formed and locked in (expect it to take a bout a month to become second nature).

Think about some of these to make it easier on you:

Will you do it first thing in the morning? Last thing at night? Both?

Where would be the best place to keep your journal so it’s always there at those times?

To get the most out of Journaling you need to make sure you’re invested in it. If you’re not, you simply won’t do it.

Ask yourself WHY are you doing it?

WHAT do you want to get out of it?

Connect to that and it will make it a whole lot easier.

You need to ENJOY it.

It needs to be something that is a GOOD thing in your day rather than a chore that is just an added item on your to do list.

I had a bad experience when I was younger …What do I do if i’m scared of someone finding it and reading it?

I have spoken to so many people who had experiences with their soul being bared when they were younger…usually by pesky siblings or the ‘mean girl’ at school and they’re terrified of people finding their journal if they were to start keeping one again.

The bottom line is kids can be cruel and we cling onto those stories where we’ve been hurt, do you have people in your life NOW that could gain access to your Journal and would be immature enough to read it…and tell other people what’s in it???

Before that happened did you love doing it?

The way I Journal if anyone ever read it they would just feel really REALLY bad because I only focus on the positives and say very nice things about people…so they definitely wouldn’t be sharing that they read it…because they would feel like an absolute *insert preferred expletive here*.

If you’re STILL terrified about it then make sure you have a journal with a lock and key, or you could use a Digital Journal online (like Day one) and make sure there’s a password on it…problem solved!

What should I write?

Whatever you want! Here is where you connect to what you want to get out of it.

The printable Journals that I create are all based around ‘prompts’.

So essentially it’s a series of questions that you answer. If this sounds like your jam then go find a journal that has prompts already in there.

I LOVE lists for mindset Journaling. This is similar to prompts but you essentially keep adding to lists such as a gratitude list, or a list of your accomplishments, or a bucket list. I have SO many and once a year I go through and reflect, tick things off, add them in, I love it and it does wonders for my positivity and self esteem.

You can use letter writing as a form of journaling.

You can write gratitude letters to people past or present, or even future. You can write angry letters to people who have wronged you. The best bit is you don’t have to send them but the very nature of writing a letter means that we feel we are telling those people things we feel we need to tell them and often you can find that any anger fades the more you write.

The traditional form of Journaling was the ‘Dear Diary’ form that Bridget and Anne became famous for. This is more about writing down what happened throughout your day, how you felt and helps you organise your thoughts.

Why should I Journal?

The benefits of Journaling are immense,  it can help with any of these and WAY more:

Make you more positive
Increase Self-Esteem and confidence
Goal Setting…and achieving
Habit changing
Can help with overwhelm
Can make you more grateful
Can make you kinder
Helps you work out what you want in life
Can make you be more mindful
Allows reflection…It will also mean you have/keep more memories!!
Increase your EI (emotional intelligence)
Process your thoughts, experiences and emotions
Increase problem solving skills
Can make you healthier
Increase self awareness
Reduce stress

Do you need some more?

Here is a video of me answering questions on journaling basics:

If you want to explore further or have any questions come join me in my private community below…we’re a supportive bunch and love to help!


Fran Excell, Mindset & Productivity Coach – Helping Business Owners Overcome Self Sabotage & Get More Done In Less Time at


Check out The Positive Pants Podcast here

Download your FREE Stressed To Success Meditation here

Shop Printables & Meditations here

Grab your 365 day ‘Attitude Of Gratitude’ Journal here

Grab Your ‘Positive Pants Firmly On’ Notebook here

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