How to Start a Morning Journaling Ritual

Before 2020, I tried journaling dozens of times, but the habit never stuck. I’d be super into it for the first week, and my enthusiasm fizzled out shortly thereafter. But I really wanted to be a journaling person, you know what I mean? So if you’re in a similar boat as I was, and you want to officially become a daily journal-er, this blog post is for you! Let’s dive into how to start a morning journaling ritual that you look forward to every day. Before long, you won’t know how you got by without it (seriously! it is an eeeessential in my morning routine now).

how to start a morning journal ritual

Step 1— Decide why you want to journal

My guess is that 99% of people skip this step, and the 1% who don’t skip it, actually journal every day.

Toward the end of 2019, I knew I wanted journaling to become a part of my morning routine in 2020 (you can learn more about my holistic morning routine here!). I had very recently started an Etsy shop and had dreams of eventually starting a blog. I’ve always felt very inspired through writing and knew that sitting down and putting pen to paper every day would help fuel my creativity.

Essentially, I made the decision to journal for a few reasons. One: to do something creative first in thing in the morning every day. Two: to flex my writing muscle daily. And three: to get in touch with what inspires me in a very intentional way.

What I didn’t anticipate happening as I fell in love with this practice more + more each day, is that journaling would become an outlet for my thoughts and emotions. Anything that I was struggling to work through in my daily life, I could get out of my system and onto a page. It sounds a little silly, but my personal awareness and confidence has grown so much through getting in touch with my feelings. Instead of shoving negative feelings down deeper, I face them head on through my journaling practice.

So whatever your reason for journaling may be, identify it. If you don’t, it’ll be much easier to skip a day, which turns into two days, which turns into a week, and before you know it, your journal will be collecting dust.

Step 2— Create a cozy lil space that will be your go-to journaling spot in the morning

Set up the dreamiest, comfiest nook that you will look forward to snuggling up in every morning. A place where you won’t be distracted. Wherever you won’t be worried that someone in your household is looking over your shoulder reading what you’re writing, lol even your spouse.

Set the mood— cozy blankets, pillows, an essential oil diffuser, plants, a place to set your coffee mug. If you’re like me, you’ll choose a spot with all kinds of morning light filtering in through the window. Make it S P E C I A L 🙂

I journal in this tan chair almost every morning—

morning journaling spot, cozy living room

Step 3— Get yourself a journal that fits your style AND is functional

What I mean by functional is — do you like lines or no lines? hard cover or soft cover? do you hate spiral bound or love them? — don’t pick a journal that’s just cute. If you’re going to be writing on a soft surface, you probably want a hard cover. If you couldn’t write in a straight line if your life depended on it like me, you should probbbably get a journal with lines.

Once you have those features figured out, pick a journal that you’re not going to get sick of in two months. There are so many journal options (Amazon, Target, Etsy, Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, bookstores) — find one you’re excited to look at every day and that works for you.

Here are some options that I’m loving:

world map journal
This one comes in lots of colors/patterns — I also love the classic cream one!
geometric black journal
This is the same journal as above but in black with a geometric texture — LOVE
classic journal
This one has a classic look with several color choices!
modern spiral bound notebook
For you spiral bound lovers
spiral bound journal
For you spiral bound lovers who want COLOR

Step 4— Create a journaling template, or use my grounding journaling template below

It doesn’t have to be complicated, it just has to make you want to write!

I’ve created all sorts of prompts for myself. Some stick, some don’t. And some days I’m just in the mood to free form write or brain dump (it’s exactly what it sounds like— I word vomit the contents of my brain onto a piece of paper).

But in my opinion, it’s essential to have a template for days when you’re not in the mood to write about what’s on your mind. I have a grounding morning journaling practice that I absolutely love. I often pair it with free form writing.

This is an incredibly intentional way to start your day— I like to think of it as a mix of gratitude, manifestation, inspiration, and practical ways to create the kind of day you’d like to have.

Some of the categories on this template are ideas from The Skinny Confidential (who has amazing tips that I absolutely looove). It’s been so helpful to try different methods and mix + match to see what resonates. So try it out, and keep what you like and get rid of what doesn’t feel good!

Niki’s Grounding Morning Journaling Template

grounding morning journaling template
  1. 3 gratefuls

    I write down three very specific things I’m grateful for. Gratitude helps put things in perspective for me and is such a positive way to start my day!

  2. 3 words to describe how I’d like to feel today

    Examples: grounded, efficient, happy, stress-free, productive

  3. How I’m going to create these feelings

    I write down each word again and list specific actions I’m going to do to set myself up to truly have a day where I feel stress-free, efficient, and grounded.

    For example, next to “grounded” I may write, step outside for a minute every hour of the work day, go for a walk at 4pm, drink water, take deep breaths, etc.

  4. Quote, mantra, or affirmation of the day

    Something that keeps me centered. I like these to be words that I can come back to throughout the day if I’m feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or anxious.

  5. Top 7 priorities for the day

    Put them in order of highest priority, and whatever you don’t complete today, you move to the next day. I rarely complete all seven. For me, these are the big priorities/tasks/projects related to my blog and Etsy shop. The things that move the needle on your bigger goals.

Okay, that’s a wrap on how to start a morning journaling ritual! Remember to begin with getting really clear on WHY you want to journal every day. It will set the foundation for a practice that you genuinely are excited for in the morning!

I truuuuly am OBSESSED with journaling now. It’s a ritual that has kept me grounded during such uncertain times in 2020— I hope it can do the same for you! Lemme know what you think of my grounding template if you try it (tag me on Instagram!) I want to see your whole set-up: the journal, the cozy lil space, what you’re sipping on while you write… the WHOLE THANG. Can’t wait to see!

how to start a journaling ritual that you genuinely love!


love always, nik

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