9 Ways You Can Use Journaling To Achieve Your New Year’s Goals

by Kyli Rodriguez-Cayro
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New Year's Eve is a holiday that represents new beginnings and fresh starts. It's also the time of year that many of us begin reflecting on the past twelve months, planning for the future, and setting goals for the year ahead. However, actually sticking to those New Year's goals is the issue many people run into (notwithstanding the fact that you can re-commit to a goal any day of the year, and you haven't "failed" if you pause your goal for a bit). If you want to ensure the goals you set out to accomplish in January don't fall to the wayside come spring, journaling is a simple habit that can help you achieve your New Year's Eve goals.

A large study conducted at the Dominican University of California discovered that people who wrote about their goals were more likely to achieve them than those who didn't keep a journal. Additionally, the study found that participants who shared their weekly progress notes with friends were even more likely to accomplish their goals. What's more, research has shown that journaling on a regular basis can decrease symptoms of depression and anxiety, help you sleep better, improve your memory, and even make you kinder — all worthwhile goals unto themselves.

With 2019 fast approaching, these nine tips can help you feel more motivated when journaling your New Year's Eve goals.


Calm Your Inner Critic

Journaling can be a great way to track what you want to improve, but be sure to balance constructive criticism with your achievements. If you only pay attention to what you still need to work on, you may not realize all the progress you’ve already made when it comes to your goals. Set a reminder for yourself to write down something you're grateful for or a way you made progress along with the potential setbacks.


Start Small

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You don’t have to launch into 500-word journal entries about your 2019 goals in order to make them stick. In fact, if you overwhelm yourself in the beginning, you may quit journaling altogether (and feel too burnt out to work towards your goals). Try starting small by jotting down just a few thoughts, or making bullet points to track your progress.


Set Aside Time To Journal

Whether it’s when you're drinking your morning coffee, or right before you hit the hay, dedicating a small amount of time to journaling every day can help you stay on top of your goals. Even if it’s just for five to ten minutes, making journaling a daily practice can boost your health and happiness in the long run.


Try Bullet Journaling

Bullet journaling is a specific type of journaling that consists of an index page, a future log, monthly and daily logs, as well as other unique features that focus on accomplishing daily, monthly, and yearly goals. As The Cut reported, science has shown that bullet journaling is effective for relieving stress, improving organization, and may help you stay on track when it comes to your 2019 goals. It may seem a little confusing at first, but the benefits definitely outweigh the learning curve.


Or, Buy A Goal Setting Journal

If you would rather skip some of the work that goes into creating a bullet journal from scratch, buying a journal already structured to help you track your goals could be a great option. There are so many great goal setting journals out there, so be sure to do your research to find the one that works best for you. (My personal favorite is the Panda Planner.)


Keep Your Journal Out In Plain Sight

This may seem like a no-brainer, but keeping your journal somewhere you can see can encourage you use it more often. Try setting it on your kitchen counter or bedside table as a visible reminder to write about your New Year's goals even on the busiest of days.


Keep A Journaling App On Your Phone

While it’s always nice to have a physical journal in tow, downloading a journaling app can help you keep track of your 2019 goals and progress when on-the-go. Try using a journaling app like Journey, which allows users to input pictures into their entries and even syncs to Google Drive.


Try A Journaling Prompt

If you’re feeling particularly unmotivated one day when it comes to journaling about your goals, a prompt could help kick start your your motivation. These goal setting and intention prompts from the blog Aim Happy are a great place to start.


Try Stream-Of-Consciousness Writing

As explained in the College of Staten Island’s newspaper, The Banner, stream-of-consciousness writing is a style of journaling that is all about “transcribing your thoughts in a non-judgmental method especially enables you to listen to your truest voice..” Rather than approaching your goals in just a methodical way, letting your ideas and thoughts flow —without critiquing them in the moment — could make you feel more confident and inspired to achieve your goals.

Want to kill it when it comes to your New Year's Eve goals in 2019? Pick up a pen and start journaling away!