Raise your hand if you’ve ever bought a motivational journal in time for your yearly attempt at a “new year, new me”, in the hopes that this time, you’ll actually stick to it for more than a few weeks into January.

Starting out with the best of intentions only to find that your motivation dwindles over time is something that happens to the best of us.

What began as a daily routine can easily find itself being pushed aside or forgotten over time, especially if you’re not in the habit of it.

Many people find it difficult to motivate themselves when it comes to journaling, as it can be hard to find the time to dedicate to it in our increasingly busy lives.

But with behavioral and scientific-based research now infiltrating the journaling industry and influencing their core aims, more and more journals are incorporating ways to stay motivated into their material.

Whether it’s simply encouragement and a clear structure to help you stick to your journaling routine, motivational prompts to practice a hobby or a craft such as writing, or increasing your productivity in general, some journals are specifically designed to motivate you.

The Best Motivational Journals Ever

With hundreds of different options to choose from, it can be hard finding the right style of journal to best motivate you.

Sometimes the only way of knowing is to give it a go, but to save you buying 10 different types of motivational journals to test them out, we thought we’d review them first to give you a good idea of what you’re looking for.

We chose a habit tracker journal for our top pick, and we explain a little more about the different types of journaling and the benefits they can have in our buyer’s guide section.

1. The Morning Sidekick Habit Tracker Journal

The Morning Sidekick Journal is guaranteed to help you increase your productivity by motivating you to stick to your journaling as well as your every day goals and targets.

Based on behavioral research, the 66 days of content follow an introduction that gives you all the key tools and information you’ll need.

It helps you ‘Understand Your Why’ right at the beginning to remind you of what you’re working towards which motivates you as you work through the journal.

Each page contains engaging new content to inspire you and daily challenges help keep you on target, as well as leaving space for you to set your own personal goals.

If you do find yourself struggling to stay motivated, there are tips and tools to help you along the way. It also includes positive affirmations and success stories to remind you that your dreams are achievable.

The other great benefit to using this habit tracker and wellness journal is that it only takes 5 minutes out of your day, ideal for anyone who loves to journal first thing in the morning or last thing at night.

Pros

  • Based on behavioral research

  • Fully guided and curated content

  • Attractive design

  • Helps you to make positive change

Cons

  • No alternative color options

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2. Becoming Guided Journal

If you haven’t read Michelle Obama’s autobiography yet, you’re seriously missing out. Her writing is motivational and inspiring, and this companion journal is no different.

The focus on empowerment and self-truth is apparent in both the moving introduction and in the prompts featured throughout the journal.

Even the least motivated journalers will be drawn in by the thought-provoking questions that help you to discover your voice.

There are no dates or rigid routines to stick through with this journal, and anyone looking for a way to track their habits might find it slightly lacking as the purpose is self-reflection.

Included as a bonus selection in Oprah’s Favorite Things in 2019, the Becoming guided journal is a great choice for anyone who would benefit from a little encouragement or who struggle to think of what to write about.

Pros

  • Aspirational quotes

  • Guided prompts and questions

  • Attractive design

  • Lots of writing space

Cons

  • Less interactive than others

  • No dates or structure to follow

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3. Good Days Start with Gratitude

Sometimes, the best motivation is when you can look forward to something knowing you’ll feel better afterward. That’s why we’ve included the Good Days Start With Gratitude journal.

It’s the best choice if you’re looking to work towards a more positive mindset as it encourages you to find joy in the simple things in life as well as recognizing the big things too.

Inside the journal features a simple yet attractive design, and the weekly spread begins with a quote to inspire you. There is writing space for you to list 3 things you’re grateful for every day, although not a lot of room for much else.

Weekly checkpoints keep you motivated on your journaling journey, but it’s the pleasure that comes from pausing to enjoy everyday moments that really keeps you coming back for more: whether it’s the first sip of coffee in the morning, watching the sunrise, or catching up with a friend you haven’t seen in a while.

Pros

  • Simple yet effective

  • Improves mood and happiness

  • Weekly checkpoints to keep you motivated

  • Affordable

Cons

  • Not enough space for longer entries

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4. Clever Fox Planner

Next on our list is the Clever Fox planner, a great journal to help you organize your life and prioritize your goals. Split them into short-term and long-term targets and with the help of this journal you can incorporate them into your daily life.

The weekly and monthly journal planner is designed to improve your productivity with a system that boosts focus, and a detailed illustrated guide shows you how to get the most out of this journal.

Its unique and interestingly designed layout can be personalized using the 150 stickers that are included with your journal, with an inner pocket to safely store these and any other accessories you want to customize it with.

A pen and loop elastic closure keeps it all together and 3 vibrantly colored ribbons allow you to mark dates in order to flip from weekly to monthly sections of your journal. One of the best things about it is that the pages are undated, so you can start on the day you get it!

Pros

  • Illustrated user’s manual included

  • 150 colorful stickers included

  • Multiple color options

  • Money-back satisfaction guarantee

Cons

  • Requires a bigger commitment than other journals

  • Slightly more expensive option

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5. Leuchtturm 1917 A5 Dotted Notebook Journal

If you find yourself motivated by the level of creativity that comes with designing the layout of a bullet journal then the Leuchtturm 1917 journal is the right choice for you.

The well-made journal features 249 dotted pages with 5mm spacing in-between the dots, as well as 8 perforated detachable sheets and a blank table of contents to keep your journal organized.

Detail-orientated people will love the ability to include whatever lists and schedules they find most useful, and the thread-bound journal opens flat to avoid damaging the spine while you write with a hardback cover to lean on for journaling in cramped spaces.

This is a high-quality journal that will easily withstand repeatedly being thrown into your bag as you leave the house so you can travel with your journal on the go.

Pros

  • Multiple color options available

  • High-quality ink proof paper

  • Flat opening spine

  • Total free creative expression

Cons

  • No prompts or guidance

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6. The Gardener’s Journal

Our next choice is one for both experienced and budding gardeners alike as it’s sure to have you reaching for your gardening gloves, no matter what your experience level is.

The helpful prompts point you in the right direction of capturing the most important moments in your garden, and by monitoring your progress you’ll be more motivated to keep up with your plant care and maintenance.

Plus, any green-fingered fans of mother nature will love that this journal uses soy-based ink printed on acid-free, recycled paper, and it has an attractive green front-cover design depicting some gardening tools.

It also helps you to organize your garden by allowing you to keep track of which bulbs you’ve planted where, and the journal’s layout will have you itching to ‘Write it Down!’, although, that could always be the poison ivy you brushed up against…

Pros

  • Writing prompts

  • Acid-free, recycled paper

  • 200 pages with wire binging

Cons

  • Hobby specific

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7. The Five Minute Journal

Another journal that doesn’t require too much of your time is the Five Minute Journal, designed to do exactly what it says on the front cover and take just 5 minutes to complete your daily entry.

This can be a hugely motivating way to journal for anyone with a busy schedule, and the guided format helps you focus on the positive to become more mindful. Take it on the go or use it to set your goals for the day, the Five Minute Journal can be completed anywhere.

It features a sturdy, durable spine that protects the high-quality paper pages inside, and the hardback cover doubles as a flat surface for you to write on, so you can choose to jot down your thoughts wherever you are.

Some people do feel that it’s a less value-for-money option as the pages following the introduction follow the same format with the same prompts, so it can become slightly monotonous.

However, daily quotes are there to inspire you at the top of each day’s page and the clear division between the morning and evening sections is easy to use.

Pros

  • A great journal to travel with

  • Increases gratitude and optimism

  • Not a time-consuming task

Cons

  • Can become quite monotonous

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8. The Mastery Journal

For anyone who needs a ‘takes no prisoners’ approach to productivity, The Mastery Journal provides an in-depth, next-level organization planner for you to improve your focus and discipline levels.

There are 4 different focus sessions to complete where you review your progress to see how you can improve. By establishing your goal for the next day the night before, you’ll already be on your way to accomplishing it by the time you wake up to kick-start your day.

Performance evaluations every 10 days allow you to self-reflect on both your strengths and weaknesses. This helps to identify areas you need to work on so you can achieve your targets that much quicker.

Anyone who prefers more freedom than structure might find The Mastery Journal too intense, but it’s definitely a must-have choice for those who find target-based journaling motivating.

Pros

  • Improves discipline and focus

  • Highly motivational structure

  • Exclusive access to a support group

  • 100% satisfaction money-back guarantee

Cons

  • Time-consuming commitment

  • Expensive option

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9. Burn After Writing Journal

Next on our list is the Burn After Writing journal, an excellent choice for anyone who struggles with freehand writing and prefers responding to prompts or questions.

If you can’t find the motivation to write or if you’re not sure what to write about, this guided self-reflection journal is thought-provoking to help you get started.

People who have experienced trauma or suffer with mental health issues may find this journal helpful, as it provides a safe space to explore those thoughts and feelings.

However, please don’t use this as a substitute for seeking professional help and try talking to a person you trust if you’re struggling.

Playing on the idea of setting fire to the negative thoughts in your life, Burn After Reading emphasizes the power of reflecting on past experiences and learning to let go of the past in the process.

Pros

  • Thought-provoking questions

  • Guided self-reflection

  • Different writing topic suggestions for each day

Cons

  • Some customers find the obsessive commitment to honesty off-putting

  • Appeals to a younger audience

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10. One Line A Day: 5 Year Journal

The final journal we’ve included in this list is the One Line a Day: 5 Year Journal, which is another quick-entry for those with less time to commit.

Your goals and targets can be easily incorporated into your daily routine and you can use the journal to track your progress.

If you find vast writing spaces difficult to fill then the 5 lines you’re given in this journal are perfect to motivate you without being overwhelming. There’s no pressure to write something insightful or memorable, just scribble whatever the prompts inspire you to mention.

They’re great as a way to look back on what you were thinking and feeling at certain points in your life, and allow you to focus on the positives rather than the negatives to help improve your overall happiness.

One top tip is to write each year’s entries in a different color to easily distinguish them.

Pros

  • Low-commitment type of journaling

  • Great for self-reflection

  • Helps to boost mood and optimism

Cons

  • Not a lot of space or freedom for extended writing

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Buyers Guide

What is Journaling?

No longer associated with the adolescent musings and reflections found in the diary of a pre-teen or an aspiring writer, journaling has become a popular way of practicing mindfulness that has exploded onto the wellness scene in recent years.

Essentially a written form of expressing your thoughts and feelings, journaling is a way of working through emotions, or it can be used to set targets and goals for your future.

Your journal can be as simple or as elaborate as you want, and there’s really no ‘wrong’ way to do it. The possibilities are endless, as are the benefits associated with it.

Benefits of Journaling

Journaling often now falls under the umbrella ‘self-care’, and considering how many health benefits it has, it’s really not surprising. Some of the known benefits include the following:

  • It’s well known to reduce stress levels: Writing can be a cathartic outlet that, for some people, is as calming as meditation. Physical stresses can be mitigated by journaling for as little as 15 minutes per day, with health benefits such as lower blood pressure and improved immune function.
  • It improves your mindset: Journaling allows you to turn negative thoughts and self-doubt into positive self-talk. Gratitude journals are a particularly good way to focus on the good things in life, which can boost your mood and result in a happier, more optimistic mindset.
  • It allows you to self-reflect: Being able to look back on what you’ve learned from each day is a great way to discover where you can improve, or where you’d like to make changes in your life. Self-reflection is also a great way to work through trauma.
  • It can improve your writing: Practice makes perfect! Just like with any craft, repeated practice is a great way to improve your skills, and journaling is a great way to train your writing.
  • Keeps your memory sharp: Not only does a journal help you remember things by providing space to jot down tasks and ideas, but you can also use it to look back on experiences and memories in your life. The physical act of writing also boosts memory and comprehension levels.

Types of Journaling

The first way to ensure you stay motivated on your new journaling journey is to find a journal that’s going to inspire you to write in it on a regular basis.

If you don’t, journaling can end up feeling like a chore rather than a mindful activity that you actively want to take part in.

Different forms of journaling are useful for working through different purposes, so most journals will include a section at the beginning to help you establish what you’re hoping to get out of your journaling journey.

Bullet Journal

Bullet journals are most of the most customizable forms of journaling, as you can design your own schedule in a visual and aesthetically pleasing way.

Armed with some pastel-colored highlighters and some cute sticker sets, a bullet journal can be whatever you intend it to be.

Some people may find this a little daunting at first, especially if you’re new to journaling and haven’t found the best style for you. For others, the creative freedom you have to layout your thoughts and plans is motivation enough to get started.

Gratitude Journal

One of the easiest ways to improve your outlook on life is by taking the time to appreciate the little things you already have, and a gratitude journal allows you to turn negative thinking into positive feelings.

These journals encourage you to list some of the things you’re grateful for, which is known to reduce stress levels. Studies by The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Davis show the scientific importance of practicing gratitude, the benefits of which include:

  • A more positive mindset
  • Happier emotions
  • More joy and optimism
  • Higher levels of generosity and feelings of compassion
  • Stronger immune system
  • Self-Reflection Journals

Similar to gratitude journals, self-reflection journals can be a great way to find peace with yourself. You can choose to write about good or bad things that have happened to you and reflect on them to see how they’ve shaped the person you are today.

It can help to provide you with a better understanding of your own thought process and to align your future actions with what you’ve been able to take away from your past experiences.

5-Minute Journals

For some people, the hardest part about motivating yourself to journal is finding the time to dedicate to it, therefore some journals are designed to specifically take up as little of your time as possible.

With 5-minute journals, you can practice your journaling skills first thing in the morning or last thing at night, or whenever you get a free moment during the day!

You’ll find these are mainly gratitude journals or habit trackers, but they can be an incredibly useful way to improve your mood or productivity levels.

5-Year Journal

One of the key motivations behind journaling is the ability to look back in the future and remember past events in your life, from the mundane to once-in-a-lifetime. Journals designed for long-term use provide space for you to collect your thoughts and memories for future reflection.

Not only is this an easy form of self-reflection, but 5-year journals also allow you to speak (or in this case, write) your goals into existence by visualizing where you’d like to be 5 years from now.

Travel Journal

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but memory fades over time, and there’s nothing that quite compares to reading back over your own thoughts.

If you’re lucky enough to experience the pleasure of traveling the world, you’re probably going to want to remember those experiences, and a travel journal is a great form of motivation to document your travel adventures.

Most will include space for you to write down important information regarding your travel times with an inner pocket for tickets and mementos that you collect along the way.

There are plenty of other types of journaling out there, so it’s all about finding which one is right for you.

Conclusion

Whilst it’s important to try and stick to some form of routine, try not to beat yourself up for missing a few entries or having a few days in a row where you couldn’t find time to sit and write down your thoughts.

Journaling is meant to be an enjoyable experience, and at the end of the day, finding something fun is the best form of motivation there is.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a blank or guided journal better?

There is truly no way to determine which type of journaling is best suited to you until you try it.

Some people will find the prompts and pre-designed layout of a guided journal restrictive rather than inspiring, whereas others will find it helpful to start with more than a blank page.

If you’re a long-term journaler, you’ll know what sort of structure works for you and may struggle to find a pre-designed journal that suits all your needs.

On the other hand, if you’re routine is less established you may benefit from following the prompts in a guided journal

What is the best time to journal?

Whether you’re an early bird or a night owl, you’ll be pleased to know that there’s no right time to journal.

Some people prefer to set their goals in the morning, but there’s conflicting opinions over which is the better time for creativity and productivity levels.

The best time to journal is simply whenever you can find the time to sit and write!

Does journaling help with anxiety?

There are many known benefits of journaling and mental health is something that journaling is thought to help with.

Writing down your stresses may help pinpoint what is causing more anxiety than usual, which can provide a useful starting point for working through it.

No matter how powerful the written word is, however, it’s no substitute for professional medical help, so please speak to someone you trust if you feel like you’re struggling.