6 Steps for Starting a Health Journal
Keeping a health journal is a powerful Habit of Health, but we often find that new clients are hesitant or skeptical. Many people have the idea that keeping a journal is a long laborious process along the lines of writing classic literature, which either feels silly or like too much work. In our system, journaling is a tool to increase mindfulness and reinforce positive behavior, and it does not have to be an intense commitment of time or creativity.
Recently, I had this same conversation with a client, and I asked her, “Can you write 10 words a day?”
Up until that point, she was resistant to journaling, but when we put a clearly attainable goal to the action, she lit up.
“10 words?” she asked, “Yes, I can definitely do 10 words a day.”
In 10 words, you can start to make your journal a useful part of your journey toward optimal wellbeing. This micro Habit of Health—something so small it’s almost impossible to fail—is a big step forward. Before we talk about how you can get your start with a health journal, here’s a quick overview of why you should keep a health journal.
A health journal helps you to:
- Reflect on the choices you made that day to identify opportunities for better choices next time.
- Pause the bustle of your day and focus your mind on your health.
- Find a moment to celebrate your victories for the day.
- Zoom out to look at the big picture of your progress and to flip back at thoughts you made in previous entries.
- Plan for the future in a tangible, concrete way.
If you aren’t currently journaling, here’s how you can start:
- Pick a sturdy, dedicated journal, diary, or notebook.
- Set aside 5 minutes a day, every day, to journal. Set a reminder in your phone if you need to, and perhaps consider making your journal part of your bedtime routine.
- Make your initial journaling goal to write 10 words a day for 66 days, to start.
- To get you writing, ask yourself what healthy choices you did well that day and ask yourself what choices you made that could have been healthier.
- For the unhealthy choices, write down what you will do next time.
- Adopt a writing style that fits you. Long, elegant paragraphs aren’t necessary; a quick bulleted list is just fine.
Remember, your journal is just for you. Start small but practice at being consistent so that you can reap the full rewards.
Do you keep a health journal already? Share your tips!