In this article, I am going to cover the different types of journals.
I have been journaling for over 20 years. I have learned that just because you are talking to your friend about keeping a journal does not mean that you are talking about the same type of journal.
Plus, the type of journal that you have been told will change your life forever, might not be the right one for you.
I am going clear up the different types of journals, and why they would be good for you. So you don’t waste your time journaling without benefits that are good for you!
Let’s dive right in and learn about all the different types of journals.
Types of Journals:
Goal Achievement Journal
The entire purpose of this journal is to help you achieve your goals. In this journal you will track your goals, plan out tasks to achieve them and take notes on ways to improve. These can be referred to as: Bullet Journal, Day planners and Franklin Covey.
Side note on a Bullet Journal. You can use this for more than just tracking goals. Many people use it for calendars, to do lists and more. I recommend you head to YouTube and search for Bullet journal ideas. There will be more than you can ever watch! The Bullet journal is great if you are artistic.
This one is straight forward. You write down what happened so that you have a record of it later. You can do this as your life. Details of your family adventures. Or even a memory per child. I once had a journal book that was for recording funny things that my son would say. This was great during those toddler years when they are starting to interact and learn our language! (This is it: My Quotable Kid*)
You can even get creative on this style of journal and do a scrap book with the journal. Get as creative as you want to turn your memories into something that you want to look back on!
Emotional Healing Journal
In this journal you are exploring your emotions around life events. You are helping yourself emotionally heal from everything from the fight you have with your partner, to divorce, loss of a loved one and more. It is meant to help you process how you feel about what has happened. There is a lot of research on how beneficial this style is. This is my favorite type of journaling, but can also be a hard one to get used to doing. I wrote and entire article to help you get started on this one. How to Heal Your Emotions Through Journaling
Personal Development Journal
This journal could be lumped with a goals journal or even the emotional healing journal. I break it out separately, because developing the entire self is more than just these two things. You may have things you want to work on not tied to a goal or even an emotional pain. You may be focusing on self-discovery, spiritual exploration or mindset development. This is a great journal to keep if you are striving to better yourself. No matter what area you are working on.
Stream of Conscious/Free Writing/Morning Pages Journal
This style has many different names. The basic idea is that you write with no plan. No filter, no topic, let it all come out! You open your journal and start writing. Many writers use this to practice writing. Some people use it to explore problems or blocks. Some use it to connect to a higher source. But it all starts the same. Unplanned writing.
This is another one of my favorite journal types. I especially like doing it first thing in the morning. My subconscious processing from my sleep is right there on the surface. Ready to come out!
In this journal you record all your dreams. Our dreams can have a great many insights into things we need to address in our lives. Entire traditions have been based around understanding our dreams. Keep this one right by your bed, so that if you wake after a dream you can immediately write it down.
This is a concept that I use from Gabby Bernstein’s book the Judgement Detox*. She has a series of four questions that you can ask yourself when you are making judgements. They guide you through understanding your feelings around a judgement and how came to be in your life. This is beneficial in addition to the emotional healing journal if you find yourself judging a lot of people. Our judgements come from things within ourselves we have not dealt with.
Our gratitude about life has been shown to impact our happiness, and what we bring into our lives. One simple way to shift our attitudes from negative to positive is to keep a gratitude journal. It does not need to be complicated or long. Even just writing down three things a day that you are grateful for will have a big impact.
This is designed to track your adventures around the world. Record what you saw, the foods you ate, how great your hotel was. Whatever it is you want to remember, write it in your journal. There are many great custom travel journals. Some even with pockets to keep your memorabilia, like ticket stubs.
For me there are two forms of meditation journals. The first is the ideas and insights that come from your meditation. Some of my best ideas and aha moments have come during meditation. I have my journal open and ready by me when I meditate.
The second form for me, is that journaling is a meditation. I will turn on some meditation music and write. This is typically paired with stream of consciousness journaling for me.
For the small business owner, a great way to track your ideas, create new ones and explore problems is by having a business journal. I have business journals going back fifteen years. I do mind maps, brain storming and problem solving. Best part is if you get an idea, but it is not time for it, just tag it and go back to it later!
This is a great way to build up your intuition and your trust in your intuition. In this journal, you record your intuitive insights and review them for accuracy.
This journal is based on the book The Four Agreements. Agreements are beliefs and ideas we agree to when we are young. They are the foundation of our limiting beliefs. One great way to start tracking what your agreements are so that you can begin to work on them is to keep a small journal. It does not have to be big enough to work through them but only to track them. I recommend getting the companion book the The Four Agreements* to understand better how to do this.
Bible journaling is a way to process your bible study and pair it with your life. I am not an expert in this area, so I recommend you check out this article from LifeWay to get started. How to Start Bible Journaling
This is by far not a complete list. You could create a journal for just about everything. Others that I have not gone into detail on but that you could consider.
Misc. Journal Types:
- Food journal
- Pregnancy journal
- Workout journal
- 5 Minute Journal
- Junk Journal
How to Pick What Journal is Right for You
Now that you have an idea on all the different types of journals, let’s look at how to pick the right type for you. But first a couple of notes.
First, remember that you can do more than one. At any given time, I usually have about four or five types going. So, don’t feel like you must pick one and stick to it.
Second, just because you are selecting more than one journal type does not mean you need multiple notebooks.
I have in one journal the following: emotional healing, personal development, stream of consciousness, dream and meditation journal. I do keep separate books for my agreements journal and my business journal.
What is Your Goal
Before you can pick the right type of journaling for you, you must know why you are wanting to start a journal. If your goal is to remember your travels, then there is no reason to start a personal development journal. Likewise, if you want to work on a goal you are not going to start a travel journal.
Pick your goal and then often the journal is an easy pick.
I would love to hear – what is your favorite type of journal?
Not sure how to start jouranling? Learn more about journaling here.