8 Journal Ideas That Will Inspire You to Grab a Notebook & Start Journaling Today

Journaling is incredible for sorting your thoughts, and regaining clarity when you've become a bit lost in the world. The thing is, it can be hard to start a journal and actually keep it going.

I find it a bit daunting when I have a book waiting for me with blank pages, begging to be filled. What if I mess it up? Or I jumble everything together that it makes my thoughts more confusing than clear? For this, I've come up with a few journal ideas that will make those pages a bit easier to fill. 

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journal ideas
João Silas | Unsplash

Mood Journal

A few months ago, I had the idea to keep a mood journal. To be honest, I don’t always remember to keep up with it which totally defeats the purpose but when I want to be on top of my mental health game, I jot down a few notes about how I’m feeling in the book.

Even with my unreliable journaling, I still think my mood journal’s really useful. It’s great if you want to understand your emotional cycle and identify your triggers, which of course also helps you regulate your emotional health.

For instance, instead of feeding the same habits that fuel your anxiety, you can begin to acknowledge and actively fight these signs of stress. I can’t say this alone solves everything, because improving mental health isn’t just a battle of knowing what triggers your symptoms, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.

Brain Stews

This is my version of an “everything” journal. Brain stews include any and everything that cooks up in your mind. Have a song lyric stuck in your head? Write it down! How about a random idea you don’t want to lose? Save that too.

This journal is the ultimate free for all. The best part is there’s no expectation beyond this! Yes, you can customize any, and every, journal you decide to keep. Still, I find it’s so much easier to journal when there are no expectations about what you’re supposed to write.

Memory Book

Memories are the ultimate tragedy. They’re beautiful, almost unreal, in that you get to save fragments of your favorite moments in your mind, but they’re incredibly flawed. Did you know that whenever you try to remember an event from the past, you reference your most recent recollection of the time? So each time you “remember” a moment from the past, the actual memory of it drifts farther away.

How do you fight this? My best advice is to save the memories you want to keep forever. Ticket stubs, photos, mementos, and more. Anything can be crammed between the pages of your memory book.

Bullet Journal

If you have been on Pinterest in the past few years, then chances are you’ve run into at least ten bullet journal tutorials. And if you haven’t, then I’ll tell you now that bullet journals are a blessing and a curse.

A bullet journal is a book, usually filled with dotted or grid paper, that people use to organize their lives. If you have a thing for organization, or you want to be inspired to sort your life, then a bullet journal may be for you. Everything is completely customizable, so you can commit to an elaborate design, but then you have to be determined enough to follow through with it.

Warning: once you’re sucked down the wormhole it’s hard to get out. I have spent hours and hours looking at bullet journal layouts and plans. Yet, I’ve never even had a bullet journal! So be careful with this one. And don’t worry about being creative - you can make your journal as simple as you need it to be.

Creative Outlet

Who says journals have to have words in them? If you’re not much of a writer, there’s no rule saying you can’t keep a journal for art. Doodle, draw, paint. Journals are an awesome place to practice and become inspired by your own work. The best part is they’re super portable, so you can express yourself on the go.

If you don’t think you’re creative, then get a journal and hang on to it until you find your “thing”. I have a Pinterest board filled with inspirational journals, so if you’re looking for ideas that aren’t just word on white, then visit my board to see over 70 unique journal ideas.

Inspiration Journal

Speaking of inspiration, when it comes to you don’t let it go until you must. Inspiration is fleeting and one of the worst things for a creative, is to lose a bout of inspiration without using it to create anything good. Whenever you’re feeling inspired, whether you see something fascinating, you hear a nostalgic tune, or you stumble upon a really good quote, make a note in your journal, and save it for your future self.

Adventure Journal

You’ve heard of the bucket list, but have you heard of an adventure journal? It’s like the godfather of bucket lists. Even if you don't have the opportunity to travel often now, start with a list of places you’d like to go and take it from there. Save your dreams, create a plan, and once you hit the road, use the journal to save your greatest adventures.

The Ultimate To-Do List

I’m the kind of person who’s always making lists. Post it notes, Google Keep, Texts to myself, you name it. But after a while it can get overwhelming, and what’s the point of making a list if you’re going to lose it?

Keeping your to-do’s in one convenient place is likely the best idea I’ve had all day. Granted, it’s only 10 a.m. but still, all day. Studies also show that writing your goals down makes you more likely to accomplish them, and I’m all about achieving your goals. I challenge you all to give this one a try, and let me know how it goes.

I hope some of these ideas help you sort your thoughts and create something great to look back on. If you need a little more motivation, see my advice as to why it's important you start journaling today.

Marketing Student - Comfort-obsessed, plant-loving mess. Always trying. Continually coming to be.


  1. Klaudia
    March 19, 2018

    Wow! I would love to start a journal but I have a lot of trouble maintaining them! How do you find the motivation to keep writing in yours everyday?

    1. Ashleigh
      March 19, 2018

      I don’t! Haha that’s the joy of it. I don’t write in a journal everyday, though I wish I could keep it up. It’s a great habit to have.

  2. Farrah
    March 4, 2018

    These are some great ideas. I personally keep a to-do list and memory journal to date, I like the idea of a mood journal though. I actually bought some new notebooks yesterday so I’m going to start that today, as you mentioned I feel that could really help with working out exactly what habits and factors trigger a depressive or anxious episode for me. Thank you for writing this, it’s brilliant and I’m sure will provide inspiration to many.

    1. Ashleigh
      March 5, 2018

      Thank you! Yes, I started it to regulate me emotinos as I have a hard time keeping track of them. I am glad it’s inspired you to start one of your own. I hope that it helps. xx Ash


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