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What to Journal About in the Beginning of the Year

There are a few times of the year when people tend to start journaling for the first time, or get back into it during a break – when they are dealing with something difficult, near the beginning of the next quarter, and the beginning of the year. If you are journaling as part as your new start this January, here are some things you can write about.

Your New Years’ Resolutions and Annual Goals

Naturally, the first step to journaling in the beginning of the year is to write about your goals for the year, and your resolutions if you have them. I like to think of resolutions more as 1-3 things you have been wanting to do, but haven’t really gotten the right kind of motivation. Think of those things you keep saying you will do someday, but never do. It could be ending a bad habit like drinking too much caffeine or biting your fingernails, or maybe it has to do with wanting to finally start the manuscript you keep talking about. Write it all down in your journal and really set your sights on what you want to accomplish this year.

Areas of Your Life to Improve

You can also write about different areas of your life that you want to improve, such as your health, your finances or work, spending time with loved ones, being more active in your community, or starting a new project. This is more general improvements you want to make, as opposed to super specific goals that turn into resolutions for the year.

New Habits and Routines You Want to Implement

Are there habits you feel like you are slacking on, or do you want to start a new routine that serves you better? Your journal is a great place to get started. It might be a good idea to first write about your routines now, then kind of pinpoint either what you want to add, or areas of your daily routines that don’t really serve a purpose and no longer fit in with your current lifestyle or your future goals.

Focusing on Growth and Self-Improvement

Journaling is an amazing resource when it comes to personal growth. It really allows you to become a better, healthier, more productive person. Use this time in the beginning of the year to write about how you want to grow and improve this year. Do you want to read more self help books? Are you interested in learning something new by taking courses? Do you want to develop a more positive mindset? Really focus on this and write it all down in your journal.

Journaling Prompt # 3

How are you making sure you start the year off right?

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First Quarter Journaling Tips and Ideas

With the start of the year, comes that feeling of new beginnings and starting over in whatever area of your life you feel needs improving. This also means focusing on the first quarter if you run your own business, which includes the first three months of the year. Here are some ideas for what to journal about in the first quarter of the year.

What Do You Want to Get Done During the First Quarter?

To make it simple, start with figuring out what you want to get done before the first quarter ends. So, think about what you want or need to accomplish before April of this year. If you have already been working on your big goals for the year, you probably have a good idea of what needs to be done the first few months of the year. If you fail to do this type of planning, the quarter will be over, and suddenly you realize you haven’t gotten any closer to whatever your personal or professional goals are.

And remember they don’t have to be big business goals either. Maybe there is a small vacation you want to plan, you want to visit a friend you haven’t seen in a while, or you are trying to save money. These can all be included in your first quarter planning as well.

Working on Your Goals and Small Accomplishments

Once you know what you want to accomplish in the first quarter, you can start creating goals, tasks, and figuring out what small things to focus on. Are you trying to save a certain amount of money before second quarter? If so, figure out what you will do to save that money. Are you getting a second job or will you be cutting your expenses and changing your budget? How much do you need to save weekly or monthly in order to reach your goal?

What Did You Not Get Done Last Year?

The first quarter is also a good time to catch up with what you didn’t complete last year. This can give you an idea of what you need to work and what areas of your life you are neglecting a little bit. For some people, it is their personal life that gets left behind, for others, it is menial tasks like organizing or filing taxes on time. When you know what you didn’t get done, you know where you focus should be in the first quarter. Your journaling works so well for keeping track of this.

Journaling Prompt #2

Do you have plans for the 1st quarter?

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How to Use Your Journal for Your New Years’ Resolutions

New Years’ Resolutions might seem a little silly, but they really are a great way to narrow down your focus to one or two main goals. They are not meant to be something miraculous and life changing (though they can be), but to take advantage of the new year with a fresh start. Maybe you want to lose weight this year, give up soda, start doing yoga, or stop a bad habit like biting your nails. The options are endless.

When it comes to creating your New Years’ Resolutions, using a journal is one of the best tools at your disposal. It not only helps you decide on the resolutions, but track your progress along the way.

What You Want to Accomplish This Year

Start by writing down everything you would like to accomplish this year. This might end up being a long list, which is totally fine. You are just starting with any idea you have in your head before you make your final decisions. Think of big things and small things, even if you don’t know that they will end up being a resolution. Consider your bad habits, something you want to implement, a goal you want to achieve, healthier lifestyle habits, a change in your routine, a place you want to visit, or a problem you want to solve.

What You Feel Like You Lacked in the Previous Year

To add to your list of possibilities, write down anything you feel like you lacked or fell behind in the previous year. This can help you figure out where you want your focus to be, such as if you struggled with your finances this past year, you might want to look for a new job opportunity or work on your business more.

Flesh Out Your Ideas

Go through and highlight or make a check next to anything that really speaks to you or you believe would make a positive impact in your life. Consider something you can do for the entire year, and doing that will help to make you happy or healthier, or just change your life in a positive way.

Choose 1-2 Resolutions From this list, choose just 1-2 resolutions for the year. That doesn’t mean you won’t accomplish anything else, but you want just one or two main things to focus on. You might have some things that are good to do, but can be done in a shorter period of time, like starting to journal. Instead of that as a resolution, maybe you want to read 20 books.


Journaling Prompt #1

What are your New Year’s Resolutions?

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Start Your Journal with a Positive Headspace

Before you open up your journal and start writing, you might first want to spend a few minutes getting into a mindful state and reflecting on your mood and what is going through your mind at this moment. This doesn’t have to be a practice you do when you intend to journal in the form of a brain dump or stream of consciousness, but it can be really useful for other forms of journaling.

Why should you be in a positive headspace for journaling?

While this isn’t necessary every single time, there are definitely some benefits to being in more of a positive mindset as you write in your journal. Try to be mindful of how you feel right now, and turn your negatives into a positive. Are you feeling a bit stressed about your job? You can think positively that you have a job you love, or a job that pays your bills. Get into a place of acceptance, gratitude, and mindfulness, and that is enough positivity for your journaling.

Find Positivity By Expressing Gratitude

When you are grateful and appreciative of the blessings in your life, it boosts your mood, helps you become happier, and you carry that with you through every facet of your life. Write down a few things you are grateful for every time you start a journal entry. Even if the rest of what you journal about isn’t all positive, you can still get into the right frame of mind from the very beginning with the simple act of writing what you are grateful for.

There are a few ways to express gratitude in your journal, but here are some simple options:

Write 3 people you are grateful for that day.

Write about 5-10 things or possessions you are grateful for.

Write a list of things or people in your life in general that you are grateful for.

Tips for Becoming More Positive When You Write

Many people use their journal to write about their feelings and thoughts, which sometimes can be on the negative side. You can definitely use your journal for venting, but there are still ways to add some positivity to those journal entries.

For example, if you had a bad day because your car broke down, then you were late to work, and your boss yelled at you for it, see how you can spin it. Maybe when you took your car in for one issue, they found something even more serious that could have caused a major accident. You just saved yourself from a potentially dangerous situation. Or when you saw how irrational your supervisor was for something you couldn’t control, you got the idea that you want a better job or to start your own business.

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50 ‘Healthy at Home’ Journaling Prompts

  1. What does it mean to you to be healthy?
  2. What has been your biggest health struggles while being at home?
  3. How has your mental health been?
  4. What has been giving you anxiety?
  5. What are your biggest fears during quarantine?
  6. How has your physical health changed?
  7. What weight trends have you noticed recently?
  8. How has your diet changed since spending more time at home?
  9. What is causing you the most worries?
  10. How has your exercise routine changed?
  11. Are there any home workouts you have tried?
  12. Pick at least 3 new at-home workouts you can try in the next week.
  13. Pick an exercise you can do with others you live with.
  14. What do you think is the most important aspect of nutrition?
  15. What are some healthier food items you can add while at home?
  16. To improve your nutrition, try adding some structure to your day, then journal about
    your experience.
  17. How have your cravings changed since you have been home?
  18. Do you feel you are a boredom eater?
  19. Have you noticed any emotional eating tendencies?
  20. Go outside to walk and get fresh air, then journal how you feel afterwards.
  21. What is a way you can embrace and take advantage of being at home?
  22. What are the main sources of your stress lately?
  23. What are some stress relieving activities you have tried?
  24. What hobbies have been keeping you busy?
  25. How are you dealing with your kids’ health and wellness while being at home more
    often?
  26. In what ways are your kids getting exercise?
  27. How are you focusing on proper nutrition for your kids?
  28. Try creating a new daily routine that encourages healthy habits.
  29. What are 5 things you miss from before you were quarantined?
  30. What are 5 things you look forward to when things get back to normal?
  31. Name 5 people you can’t wait to spend more time with.
  32. What are 5 things you can be grateful for right now?
  33. Make a list of healthy snacks you can add to your diet.
  34. How have you been socializing lately?
  35. List some ways you can reach out to people more.
  36. What is something you have always wanted to try?
  37. If your productivity is suffering, what are some reasons you think that is?
  38. Give yourself a break – what are some things you believe you have done right?
  39. List self-care activities you have participated it while being at home.
  40. List some NEW self-care activities for your shelter-in-place time?
  41. What is a creative activity you can try while being at home.
  42. List the main things that have been on your mind lately.
  43. When you think of how you spend your time when you are bored, what comes to
    mind first?
  44. When the shelter in place orders are lifted, what is a way you can get out more?
  45. How has quarantine changed your mindset?
  46. What do you think you took for granted before quarantine?
  47. Have you read any books while in isolation?
  48. How do you think life will be different moving forward.
  49. What are some changes you have made that have improved your health so far?
  50. List 10 ways you can be physically and mentally healthier while at home.
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Journaling your Way to Massive Action Success

Journaling is not just for 12 year old girls! Journaling can be a powerful weapon in your get-it-done arsenal, and it’s easy to do. You can and should put all kinds of things in a goal journal, not just your thoughts and feelings on a given day.

Journaling is just one way of tracking your actions and successes, and yes, even your setbacks and failures. It also keeps your goal right in front of your face so you keep on top of taking action steps each and every day. It keeps all your ideas and revelations in one place so you can go back and review whenever you want. For example, if you are having trouble getting motivated one day because you feel like you’ve been working hard, but making little progress, going back into your goal journal is a wonderful way to help you see that all of those little actions really are paying off in a big way. So what should you keep in your goal journal? Start with these ideas and add to them as you see fit.

  1. Detailed goal--Write down your exact goal in as much detail as possible. Describe it in a way that makes you feel excited about what your life will be like when you achieve your objective.
  2. Your Why--Your Why is the big reason why you want to reach the goal you have defined for yourself. It’s the reason you are willing to take the massive action steps needed to change your life for the better.
  3. Massive action plans and schedule–When you make the plan for how you will go about reaching your goal, write it here. Writing it down is important so that you can track your efforts so you can see what actions are creating the most results.
  4. Braindumps--A brain dump is just a list of actions that you need to take in no particular order. Sometimes all the tasks you need to take build up in your head, making you confused about where you should start and what you should do next.
  5. Prioritize--After you do a brain dump, organize the tasks into a priority list and add them to your daily and weekly to-do lists.
  6. Daily to-do list–Write out your to-do lists here so they are always handy.
  7. Aha’s–As you make massive action, you will have inspiration or aha moments when something becomes clear. Capture those ideas here so that you can refer to them later when you are ready to put them into action.
  8. Journal entries–Yes, you should actually journal. Sometimes there’s nothing better than stream of consciousness writing to help you solve a problem or get your worries off your chest. It’s a therapeutic and inspirational way to work.
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Laying the Groundwork for Self – Expression

Being able to adequately express yourself isn’t something that comes naturally to some, or even most of us. But it’s important for you to be able to express yourself and express your wants, needs, and desires, as well as express things you don’t like. Being able to express yourself is necessary to live an authentic, fulfilling, and healthy life, and to help you create the life of your dreams!

There are three main steps involved in learning to express yourself. These steps may not feel natural at first because they are new, but stick with it! You’ll soon find yourself better able to express yourself to those around you with confidence.

  1. Learn to listen to yourself, your emotions, and your intuition. Too often, early in life, we are taught (directly or indirectly) to hide our emotions, and put on a smiling face even when we don’t feel like it. It’s time to unlearn all of that. So, the first step is to begin to really feel the emotions that are inside you. Your first instinct may be to mentally run away from those feelings but try not to do that. Feel each emotion, no matter what it is, without any self-judgment. Your emotions are simply what they are, and there aren’t any wrong emotions, only wrong ways that we’ve learned to react to them. So, quiet yourself and allow yourself to feel because you can’t express yourself if you don’t know what you’re feeling.
  2. Acknowledge whatever you are feeling. Honor those feelings, again with no judgment. By self-validating your feelings, you learn to seek answers from within yourself, rather than always looking outside yourself for solutions. In reality, all we need we already have inside of us. Acknowledging your feelings might seem very frightening at first because you feel vulnerable. That’s okay. That feeling of vulnerability will go away once your mind realizes there isn’t really any need for fear.
  3. Tune in to how your body reacts to the emotions you are now experiencing. Body awareness is very important in learning to express yourself, as it is one of the best ways to gauge your comfort level. If you tense up in response to an emotion, show your body and brain that everything is going to be okay by doing some deep breathing. Close your eyes, acknowledge the feeling, and then let it go. If a part of your body tenses up, consciously relax it. Use your new awareness to find what works for you in terms of expressing yourself, both emotionally and physically.
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Ground Beef Noodle Bake

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups uncooked egg noodles
  • 1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
  • 1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
  • 1/4 t. garlic salt
  • 1 1/4 t. pepper
  • 2 t. butter
  • 1 cup cottage cheese

Directions:

  • 1 c. sour cream
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 c. minced fresh parsley
  • 1 c. (4 oz.) shredded Swiss cheese

Cook noodles according to package directions. Meanwhile in a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink, drain. Stir in the tomato sauce, garlic salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Drain the noodles; toss with butter. Set aside. Mix cottage cheese and sour cream. Transfer to a large bowl, stir in onions and parsley. Add noodles; toss to coat. In a greased 11 X 7 X 2 inch baking dish, layer a third of the noodle mixture and half of the meat sauce. Repeat layers. Top with remaining noodle mixture; sprinkle with Swiss cheese. Bake uncovered, at 350 for 25 – 30 minutes or until bubbly and lightly browned.

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How Journaling Can Change your Life for the Better

You may not have journaled since you were a kid. Or maybe you’ve never tried it and don’t see the point. But, the action of putting pen to paper is an extraordinarily beneficial way to improve your life. Journaling is an effortless way to change your life when nothing is going right.

Discover what’s important

When you free write, you end up writing about the things that are most important to you. They may be things that you don’t even think of as that important but looking back over your writings later will give you a strong inclination of what you find the most rewarding in your life. For example, if you find yourself coming back to the idea of starting your own business over and over again, it’s obvious that it’s a dream that’s important to you. When your life is in chaos, you have less to lose, and you might decide to go for it and see what happens.

Track successes

We get used to living in a routine and frequently overlook the small actions we make that add up to beneficial changes in our lives over time. Journaling helps us see all the successes we’ve had, even when life isn’t going the way we want it to. Using a journal as a form of tracking our successes can bring us a great deal of comfort when times are tough.

Let go of old emotional blocks

We can share our deepest fears and worries in a journal. When we feel down, we often need a sounding board more than we need advice, and journaling gives us that. We can let out and then let go of past hurts and failures, our needs and wants, without having to tell anyone about them but ourselves. Writing is cathartic and can help us release old emotions and beliefs that are no longer serving us.

Find the answers

People who journal often report that they find the answers to problems within themselves by using journaling to tap into their unconscious. Each of us has the answers to every problem already inside of us and journaling is a way to access those answers in a positive way. It’s amazing how allowing ourselves to be honest and open to our struggles ends up making the answer we’ve been seeking so obvious – it’s all there in black and white.

Encourages creativity

Many people who journal find themselves writing poetry or drawing to express themselves. A journal is a safe place to be creative. There’s no judgment from others, just an open invitation to express ourselves in whatever way comes up. Allowing this creativity to spring forth is another way that our problems get solved because we allow our minds to be in a different, creative space that is open to all possibilities.