“Journal writing, when it becomes a ritual for transformation, is not only life-changing but life-expanding.” – Jen Williamson
Have you ever wanted to journal? I have kept my dearest thoughts, wishes, and hopes in the blank pages of a journal since I received my first one on my eighth birthday. If I crack open the journals of my past, I also see pain, heartache, hardship, and disappointments. While those times are hard to revisit, they also remind me that I got through them in the end. A journal informs me where I’ve been and where I am going next.
I have many friends that do not keep a journal, but they want to. The main questions I get asked are, “How?” and “What would I say?” One friend told me she desires to start journaling, but the blank pages are too much. The blank page intimidates her, and she stops before she even begins.
There are many guided journals out now, and they take the worry away from finding what to say.
With prompts and help from the author, you can open up a guided journal and not wonder how to fill in a blank page while directed in your responses. Even though I still prefer a blank page, I also like how these variations challenge me to go deeper into my life and spark growth. There are even creative options like Art Journaling that can take you down different roads to discovering the layers of your heart.
As you read the list below, which journal calls out to you? The New Year is coming, and perhaps a fresh journaling practice is just what your 2022 needs!
I love everything Shauna Niequist does. As a long-time reader of her work, I am always in awe of her intentionality and grace. The Present Over Perfect Guided Journal sounds amazing, and it would be fun to grab a friend to read the book that inspired it and add the companion journal to the experience!
In the description of the journal, Shauna says, “My prayer is that this book will be a thousand invitations, springing up from every page, calling you to leave behind the heavy weight of comparison, competition, and exhaustion, and to recraft a life marked by meaning, connection, and unconditional love.”
Image Source + Credit: Shauna Niequist on Twitter
Have you listened to The Next Right Thing Podcast yet? Emily P. Freeman brings it home to the heart each and every episode. Her podcast tagline is, “What matters more than the decisions you make is the person you’re becoming.” What better way to celebrate the person you are becoming than to jump into The Next Right Thing Guided Journal?
What I love about this one is that you can pull it off your shelf whenever you want. You could make the reflection weekly, monthly, seasonally, or whenever it would serve you to pause and work through the reflection questions within. It is a great journal to have on hand during big life changes, too; you might not have the energy to face a blank journal page but need to write through some challenges (PCS, deployment, motherhood, marriage– I’m looking at YOU!).
Image Source + Credit: Emily P. Freeman
Kristin Vanderlip is a former military spouse. She gets what it is like to go through the upheaval and exhaustion of military life. Her Life Worth Living Growth Journal offers a daily check-in for 90 days that helps you keep track of your health: physically, spiritually, and emotionally.
I used this during a difficult season when we were PCSing back to the United States after ten years overseas, and I appreciated that each journal page only took me ten to fifteen minutes to fill out. That ten to fifteen minutes was a precious reset in my day.
Kristin shares on her website that the “Life Worth Living: A Daily Growth Journal offers you a tangible tool to help you process the struggles you’re facing and come alive to your life. This 90 day journal is like a workbook for your soul.”
Image Source + Credit: Kristin Vanderlip
I have heard great things about the simplicity of the One Line a Day 5 Year Memory Book. While it is stocked with blank pages instead of prompts, it also only has enough space for you to write one line each day for 5 years. There is something exciting about that!
You can dive into a gratitude practice with this journal, leaving it on your nightstand and jotting down one good thing about your day each evening. I imagine flipping through it after a year or five would feel life-giving.
Image Source + Credit: Pinterest
My husband and I have enjoyed the Our Q & A a Day: 3-Year Journal for 2 People. We have not filled it out every day and it might take us 10- 20 years to complete it! But that is what I like about it.
When we are in busy seasons and we finally get a chance to sit and talk, a lot of that conversation focuses on the kids and our adulting to-dos. We pull out the journal to guide us through different conversations. It always sparks good new things to talk about, and it is fun to look back at it together and see what we have shared over time.
Image Source + Credit: Goodreads