Do you love journaling as much as I do? It’s an exercise I ask all of my mindset coaching clients to use because I know how powerful it can be in helping you dig deep and make big changes.
In this post, I want to share some of the best journals to buy to help you achieve your goals. These are all paper journals made for women by women. There are a bunch of options because you need to find what works best for you. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, so look at the pictures and maybe even try a few out to find the one that best suits your needs.
Feminist Agenda ($18) is a 5.5″ by 8.5″ notebook that includes a lined, blank, or grid interior for journaling, note-taking, sketching, and all your creative and organizational needs. Finished with chic rounded corners and a clear protective cover. You can even customize the front and interior cover with your name and/or photos.
Learn more/order: Minted.com (search for “Feminist Agenda”)
Softbound Notebooks from Erin Condren ($14) are so beautiful that you’ll feel inspired to write in them. They lay flat, are durable, and come with either lined or dot grid notes pages. There are eight pretty covers to choose from (the “Oh So Retro” design below is my favorite). You can add hand-pressed personalization in rose gold, gold or platinum for a few extra bucks (to include your name or the year so you can easily find your old notes later).
The SELF Journal from BestSelf ($31.99) is part journal, part planner. It’s a 13-week planning, productivity, and positivity system for inevitable goal success. It includes space for goal setting, undated monthly overview and weekly planning sheets, and an area for daily tracking of your goals. Backed by science and success psychology, this little journal packs a powerful punch in helping you reach your three biggest goals.
The Daily Peace Journal from Shelly Planner ($10) is a 5×8 paper journal that includes 3 months of journaling spaces. Each daily entry space has an area to clear your mind/brain dump, a “Top 3” list to write down your daily focus, an area to record what you are thankful for, and finally, a space to write your favorite memory of the day. This journal is easy-to-use and is designed to reduce the noise in your brain. It’s perfect for people who want a simple set of prompts to use each day rather than having lots of blank space staring at them.
The Hardcover Journal ($19) is perfect for bullet journaling, taking notes, or brainstorming ideas. The paper is thick so pens write smoothly with no bleed through, and the book lies flat. There are four color-coded sections so you can use this to organize ideas for four different subjects or for each quarter of the year. It has full-color grid lines (a different color for each section) to help with bullet journaling. Speaking of, your purchase includes access to free bullet journal downloads to help you customize the journal even more (prayer journal, pregnancy journal, goal setting journal, etc.)..
The Commit 30 Fitness Journal ($29.99) is a compact journal that will help you focus on movement, nutrition, mindfulness, and motivation—one day at a time. Set up in a similar fashion to a planner (but this is undated), it includes monthly calendars, weekly layouts, 30-day challenges, meal planning sections, exercise tracking, and more. With customizable rows to track anything from steps or miles, to carbs or weight, this is the tool you’ve been waiting for to help you reach your fitness and wellness goals.
The Dailygreatness Notebook ($19.95) is a blank, hardcover notebook that includes 130 pages of wood-free paper perfect and a lie-flat design. It provides unlimited space to facilitate personal growth through free writing, journaling, mind mapping or brain dumps. There are three different cover designs. This is a great option for anyone who likes having nothing but blank space so they can fill the pages in whatever way they want (writing, art, mementoes, etc.).
The Ponderlily Travel Journal (£18 GBP) includes a world map so you can record places you’ve been to and want to explore, a Wanderlist to note people to meet and things to try, and space for keepsakes and memories. Use the 80-page journal to plan your next dream vacation, plan your stay more mindfully, experience purposeful living as you explore the world, and celebrate every step of the way. And it has a beautiful vegan leather cover, eco-friendly recycled paper, and vegetable-based inks, so it’s perfect for anyone who is concerned about the environment. This is a UK-based company, so it’s a great option for folks who don’t want to pay hefty shipping for U.S. products.
The Write the Word Journal($24) you right into the Bible without the fluff. You write out the pre-selected scripture and feel your faith grow—no perfection required! This journal for Christians will have you giving thanks, singing with joy, and dancing because you’ll be digging into what the Bible says about worship.It includes 66 unique verses over 143 pages (undated, so you can use this journal on your own schedule!). There’s also a special space to choose a Word for the Day. It’s a small, portable size (5.5×8.5 inches), has a vegan leather cover, and includes a satin bookmark to hold your place.
There you have it! My roundup of the best journals to buy. I hope you find one you love! If you found this post useful, please share it with your friends and on social media. Help me spread the love for these amazing women who are making beautiful products to help all of us get things out of our brains and onto paper.
Productivity experts, business gurus, mindset teachers…it seems like everyone says journaling can change your life. You want to learn how to journal for success, but aren’t sure where to start.
You’ve tried to journal, but usually the blank page stares you into submission. After one or two entries, you quit. Or, it’s like you’ve been transported back to your teenage years and you can’t shake the silly “Dear Diary” feeling.
Don’t worry! This guide will teach you how to journal in a way that works for you.
This guide is packed with journaling methods and resources to help you get started—and stick with it. It’s specifically for small business owners who want to harness the power of journaling to grow personally and professionally.
General Benefits of Journaling
Life can get hectic, and it can be easy to get consumed by all we have going on. Journaling is a way to slow down and take time for reflection.
Journaling is more than a feel-good, sound-good activity. There is plenty of scientific evidence to support that it actually delivers real and important results.
What’s more, writing accesses the left hemisphere of the brain, which is analytical and rational. This frees the right hemisphere to create, intuit and feel. That means writing harnesses all of your brainpower to find better solutions to problems.
Benefits of Journaling for Business Owners
Journaling is clearly useful for self-growth, which is useful for business owners. Additionally, there are other business-specific reasons that journaling can help create success.
Whether you are hoping to launch a new business or wanting to grow an existing one, journaling can help.
1. Journaling sets ideas free. The brain only has room for so many thoughts and feelings at once. Keep too many ideas locked up in your mind, and you’ll lose some as your brain makes room for others. Getting your brilliant business ideas out of your mind and onto paper captures them forever.
2. It increases productivity. By releasing your brain from the responsibility of holding onto #AllTheIdeas, you free up space for others to take root and expand. That’s effectively doubling the number of ideas you can generate at any given time.
3. Journaling fills in the blanks. Seeing all your seemingly disparate ideas on paper can help you (quite literally) draw connections among them. Finding those creative relationships can be difficult or darn near impossible when they’re trapped in your mind.
4. It weeds out bad ideas. Journaling allows you to look at your business musings in black and white. This judgement-free space can help you more accurately evaluate which truly have legs—and those that sounded better in theory. Letting go of bad ideas quickly will keep you from wasting time and money on them. Even better, it can help you learn from them and perhaps reshape them into good ideas.
5. Journaling creates a record. Tracking your ideas from fruition beyond implementation creates a record that can later be quite useful. When an idea comes to life and is successful, you can accurately reflect on how it all happened. This can help you re-create what led to your best ideas, and help lightning strike again.
Small business owners can use journaling to capture and track ideas for new businesses or offers. It can also help with brainstorming content ideas, planning social media, or mapping out sales funnels.
How to Journal for Success
There are as many ways to journal as there are people. Your journal is your own, and you can create it and use it however best suits you.
Not sure where to start? Here are a few ideas to help.
Journaling for success As a business owner, a journal can be incredibly helpful in going from probable hunch to profitable reality (see above). You can use a journal to do biz-y things like hone your elevator pitch, brainstorm solutions to your customer’s problems, keep track of competitors and how you can separate from the herd, reflect on your values or your “why,” brainstorm ideas for scaling, dream about the future, and more.
No subject is off limits Using a journal for business is great, but you don’t have to stop there. You can capture ideas of all sorts. Record your nightly dreams, write out a bucket list, jot down favorite mantras, or just jot down any random thing that pops into your head. If you do this all in one journal, you can later look for connections between seemingly random ideas. Or, you can use separate journals for different concepts.
Put pen to paper Many studies have shown the benefits of handwriting vs. typing. Not only does it help you better retain information, it activates more areas of the brain to better unlock memories and trigger creativity. If you’re physically able, put pen to paper when you journal instead of typing or dictating.
Let it flow Freewriting is a powerful journaling method. You write without stopping for a set length of time or until you fill a certain number of pages. Even if you only write, “I don’t know what to write,” you just keep going until time is up or the pages are full. The purpose is to free your brain from editing (or censoring) in real time. This allows our deepest feelings and ideas to flow.
Too much can be too much For journaling to have the greatest affect on your life and business, it helps to do it consistently over months and years. That said, too much of a good thing can actually be too much. Research suggests that doing it every day can be overwhelming, and that three to four days a week for 15 to 30 minutes at a time is ideal.
Shake things up It can be easy to get stuck in a rut with anything, including journaling. If you’ve been doing it for a while and are feeling creatively stunted, do something unexpected. Write with your nondominant hand, try audio entries rather than handwritten, head outdoors or somewhere new to journal, use crayons, etc. Experiment from time to time to keep the creative juices flowing.
Let go of perfection Nothing is a bigger killer of journaling (or any creative outlet) than perfectionism. Remind yourself that your journal is a private space only for you. Write quickly to help free your brain from worries about spelling, punctuation, and grammar. The more you can learn to accept and embrace bad writing, the freer you’ll be and the more rewarding journaling will become.
Try using prompts There’s nothing worse than staring at a blank page. When you encounter writer’s block (and even the best writers do from time to time), journaling prompts can be a useful tool to help the words flow. More on that next.
The only rule with journaling is there are no rules! Treat your journal like an accepting, loving confidant, or like a free therapist. The more you open up to it, the more it will reveal to you.
Journaling can be messy, and that’s okay. In fact, in journaling and in life, in the mess is often where we find the magic.
Best Journals to Buy
If possible, use old-fashioned pen and paper to journal. Research has shown that people learn better and retain more information when they write things down instead of type. Even so, journaling in any form can be incredibly beneficial, so don’t let this be the thing that keeps you from starting!
Most stationery designers offer blank journals that are beautiful and may help inspire you to start writing! If you’re like some people and don’t want to “ruin” a pretty journal by actually writing in it, then consider using a basic notebook.
You can also maximize productivity (and ensure you don’t forget to do your journaling) by having your planner double as a journal. Most daily, weekly, and even monthly planners have space for taking notes.
Prefer digital journaling? You can use the notes section in your phone or computer, or choose among the many online options for capturing your thoughts. Penzu is a private, totally customizable online journal (also available as an app) and Evernote has a very robust notekeeping desktop and mobile app that can be used for journaling (along with any business/personal notekeeping). Both programs have free versions.
Still unsure how to get started? The easiest journaling practice is to simply take a few minutes and reflect on your day or dream about the future.
Each day, take out a sheet of paper (or your journal or planner) and answer one or several of these questions:
What made yesterday great?
What could have made yesterday better?
For what are you grateful?
What do you want to accomplish in the coming years?
How could you push closer to those dreams today?
Some other journaling exercises include things like writing out a simple pro/con list for a challenge you’re facing, doing a brain dump to get all of the thoughts in your head onto paper, a to-do list or a list of big-picture goals, or just writing uninterrupted for 10-15 minutes about a thematic word of the day (family, community, mindset, change, hope, etc.).
If facing a blank page feels overwhelming, but you want more variety than what I’ve already suggested above, then you may love using journaling prompts. These are questions or other starters to unlock your brain.
Have you run out of ideas for what to write about when you journal? Do you feel like your creative spark has fizzled? Want to have a little fun? These prompts are for you!
Below you’ll find creative creative journaling prompts to fuel your imagination. Let these interesting starters help you nudge open the door to your inner visionary.
Choose one prompt per day (perhaps put them on slips of paper and draw one at random!), and then write non-stop for at least 10 minutes. The longer you write, the deeper you’ll dive and the more surprised you’ll be by what you uncover.
This process is sure to help you grow as a small business owner—and as a person. Have fun!
1. 20 things that make me smile
2. What I wish others knew about me
3. How do I want people to feel when they first encounter my brand?
4. If I could be exactly as I wanted, I’d…
5. You are writing a book. What will it be called? What will it be about?
6. I feel most successful when…
7. A big step I’ve been thinking about for far too long…
8. How I recently stretched beyond my comfort zone & what I learned
9. If I could meet any fictional character, it would be … because…
10. The time I laughed the hardest was…
11. My 15-year-old self would be proud of me today for…
12. Someone whosE life is better because of me (and why)…
13. I secretly wish I…
14. If I were a superhero, my special power would be…
15. When people first meet me, I hope they feel…
16. My favorite quote and why I love it
17. If my best friend or spouse described me, what would they say?
18. What would a stranger say?
19. What does happiness mean to me?
20. What advice would I give to my teenage self?
21. What sets my soul on fire?
22. What would I do if I couldn’t fail?
23. What is my favorite childhood memory?
24. What do I want my legacy to be?
25. If money were no object, what would I do?
26. When people first meet me, how do I want them to feel?
Journaling is one of the most powerful self-development tools we have. That’s why I suggest the activity to every one of my mindset-coaching clients (and those who do it tend to see the most dramatic results).
Here are 31 morning journaling prompts to kick off your days on the right note. Tackle one prompt a day for the next month, and you’ll likely find yourself growing as a small business owner—and as a person.
1. What does my business need from me today?
2. My favorite way to spend the day is…
3. What I want to accomplish by day’s end is…
4. What would make today amazing is…
5. If I loved myself unconditionally, today I would…
6. Today I will say yes to…
7. Today I will say no to…
8. I need help with… and I can ask….
9. The milestones I reached yesterday
10.If today went completely as planned, I’d finish…
11. What I learned yesterday
12. Someone I’d like to connect with today and why
13. How can I love myself today?
14. Today I’m grateful for…
15. What do I want to be known for?
16 If today could be easy, how would it look?
17. How can I best serve my clients/audience today?
18, If I could do anything I wanted today, would would that be and why?
19. Write a letter from my future self. What does she want me to know today?
20. If I were granted an extra hour today, how would I spend it?
21. Today, I want to forgive myself for…
22. Today, I will forgive… for…
23. Today, I want to come to peace with…
24. How is my workspace helping/hurting my productivity and attitude…
25. Today I will commit to no longer taking it personally when…
26. Today I will chose myself by…
27. Today I will walk my talk by…
28. If I had no fear today, I’d…
29. What I really need to hear today is…
30. Today I’m going to quit…
31. What I need to give up, say no to, or let go of today…
It’s easy to get stuck in your own head, with dozens of ideas flitting by every second. When we allow our thoughts to run amok, they can easily spin out of control and cause us anxiety and overwhelm.
Journaling is perhaps the best way to take back control of your thoughts. It provides you a safe space to get everything out of your head, and onto paper where you can actually organize it and turn it into something actionable.
That same practice can also help you better understand yourself—who you are, what you truly want, what’s holding you back from your goals, and so much more. Here are 30 journaling prompts for self-discovery. They will help you grow as a business owner—and as a person.
1. My favorite way to spend the day is…
2. If I could give my younger self advice, I would say…
3. Words I’d like to live by…
4. The people who genuinely support me are…
5. What I’ve learned from my biggest mistakes…
6. I feel most energized when…
7. Things that inspire me
8. How would … act in this situation?
9. How would you most like to be remembered professionally?
10. How can your struggles help your customers/audience?
11. Who is your biggest fan and why?
12. Who are the 5 business owners I most admire and what do I respect about each?
13. What did you love doing as a child?
14. The beliefs/assumptions that are holding me back…
15. My inner voice is trying to tell me…
16. Nobody knows that I…
17. The most important choices that made me who I am today are…
18. Describe a time you were brave.
19. I’m most proud of myself for…
20. To me, feeling safe means…
21. The characteristics I judge most harshly in others…
22. The characteristics I judge most harshly in myself…
23. How would your life be different if you felt comfortable being yourself at all times?
24. What am I doing that I think I should?
25. My greatest strengths…
26. My greatest weaknesses…
27. Describe a time you felt especially valued and loved
Journaling is powerful. It is a great tool for personal growth and self-development, and it can also help you be even more successful in business.
The benefits of journaling can be numerous when you do it consistently and continue over time. But don’t just take my word for it. I asked 14 womxn to share how they’ve used journaling for success in their businesses.
These small business owners may approach journaling in different ways, but they all agree that it’s a powerful tool.
“I have a regular reflective practice I do to wrap up every week, sometimes more. It includes assessing my fulfillment in each area of my life/business that I’ve determined are important to me: white space, soul fuel, marketing, clients, family, money and general. After I assess each area, I reflect through journaling. It’s incredible to look back week after week to see if what I say is important to me is getting the proper attention and what adjustments I need to make to be properly in sync.”
“When I need something structured, I use Rachel Hollis’ Start Today Journal format (5 things of gratitude, 10 dreams I made happen, and the one thing I’m focused on achieving first). I also do a business reflection, the CEO Report, every Friday afternoon as an anchor for what I achieved. And at the end of the year, I have 52 qualitative reports of what I experienced. These reports allow me a space to reflect on my business each week and also give me the insight each week that I need to make decisions at the end of the quarter or year.”
“Journaling has helped me to see the themes in the things I worry about, my goals, and about how much time I’ll let go between thinking about what’s important to me and taking action on it. Being aware of that gap has allowed me to be a lot more self-aware, so I see my decision-making process clearly and take action faster than before. I can even look through my journal and see what I don’t reflect on to see what I’m avoiding. I love that I don’t have to be perfectly consistent with it to see results, I just need to keep circling back to it over time.”
“It’s a really great way for me to get all my swirling thoughts and emotions out of my head and in front of me. Sometimes just writing out a fear or limiting belief is enough to look at it and realize how nonsensical it really is. I also love to do big-picture planning. What do I want my life to look like? What would I love to offer in my business? Is it time to let something go? The physical process of transferring my thoughts to paper allows me to see things from above and make better decisions that truly align with my values and deeper desires.”
“Journaling is a key part of what I do as it helps me gain clarity and focus. While journaling, I write out all the thoughts that are scrambling around in my head. Now on paper, I can finally make sense of them. I can organize them. I can take action on them. Journaling also helps me emotionally. I can work through frustrations in my journal. I can yell, scream, cry and get it all out to clear my head. I can document my successes to remind myself of the wins I’ve made. Journaling is therapy. Journaling is eye opening. It’s simple, powerful and the most often overlooked business tool.”
“I use the 5-Minute Journal almost every day to record my gratitudes, goals, and thoughts. I use the prompts they provide but add my own thoughts in the margins. It’s also filled with crayon scribbles from my littles and tea stains from the coffee shop—it’s the off-the-computer part of me that keeps me grounded and focused and I am so thankful for it! I love looking back on the goals I had for my biz that I was able to surpass and also the ones that I didn’t meet but morphed into something else. It’s like a little record book of my inner world.”
“Journaling has provided me the freedom to have peace of mind. When writing, the stream of consciousness allows me to take the big business ideas into consideration and then write them out into tangible steps. Bullet journaling, in particular, allows me to see where I may need specific assistance in making the dream come true.”
“I like to write in my journal when I’m brainstorming new ideas for my business. Using a steno notebook helps me with business planning and making lists. Journaling has also helped me grow my business by allowing me to worth through any mindset blocks keeping me from moving forward in my business.”
“The physical act of writing something down fires your brain differently. It triggers all sorts of places in your brain and it actually creates more ideas, memories, and limits distractions. Also, a journal is a safe space that cannot judge you. It absorbs your thoughts, dreams, stresses, concerns, happiness and more. Journaling to me is one of the best ways to self-develop and become an incredibly better version of yourself.”
“If there’s one thing that journaling has helped me with the most, is calming down my anxiety. There were days when getting out of bed was a struggle because I was letting my anxiety get the better of me. Journaling in the evenings helped me give my days some structure and really be intentional about the next day so I could get out of bed and face it head on. Journaling in the mornings has given me clarity around my goals, and what I want from life in general . It has given me the power to start my day the right way, no matter how busy I am.”
“Journaling provides me with clarity when things are murky. I start my day with ‘morning pages’ where I free-write for 3 pages. I usually start with little idea of where I’ll end up. Most days, a focus area will emerge after a few sentences. I’ll get excited and, usually, end up with a concrete direction or plan to move forward. I’ll go to the same exercise any time throughout the day if I’m feeling lost. It’s such a comforting, physical tool to use when dealing with all the intangibles of life and business.”
“Journaling has been transformational in my business! Every morning I start with a brain dump (there has to be a better word for dump) of how I’m feeling, ideas, or whatever else I have floating around then jump into more intentional journaling. Using prompts, I’ve worked through limiting beliefs, figured out where I’m holding myself back, and also discovered new business ideas to explore.”
“Journaling helps me access my soul where my core, life-changing message lies. When I speak straight from the heart (sometimes even copying my journal entries straight into Facebook), that’s when I magnetize my clients the most. It feels way more amazing than when I sit down at a blank screen to create content. Journaling also continuously reignites my passion for what I do.”
“When I was adolescent I didn’t have many people in my life to turn to. I started writing which made me feel like I was being heard on some sort of level. As I got older it helped me through my darkest times. Once I started creating my business I knew I wanted to help others through journaling. So created self help journals around mental and currently releasing my kid series.”