Journal Writing: How To Get Unstuck

  • Home
  • /
  • Blog
  • /
  • Journal Writing: How To Get Unstuck
journal writing

Do you find yourself stuck in your journal writing?

  • Life can be routine. Why journal when it’s the same old same old?
  • Life can be stressful and painful. When you need journaling the most, you’re too overwhelmed and forget about journaling entirely.
  • You believe in journaling, but then a childish part of you rebels and decides nope!

Given these very common problems …

How do you consistently practice journal writing?

In this article for journal writers, we’ll take a slightly different approach …

This blog post will provide ideas on developing a journal writing habit without mentioning food!

Different, because “normally” we focus on journaling writing in the context of binge and emotional eating.

Food is what we “normally” talk about! But this blog post is different!

I’m talking about ANY type of journaling, not just food:

  • Exploring gratitude
  • Planning your next day
  • Brainstorming
  • Realizing life lessons
  • Writing a book

Here are my thoughts in video form!

YouTube player

Step Back to Find “Success”

Most likely whatever style of journaling you are pursuing, there is some definition of “success”:

  • healthier eating
  • a finished novel
  • emotional wellbeing

Because we want “success” we sometimes can pressure ourselves to journal.

Journaling is, after all,supposed to help us reach success, yes?

But what happens if you are stuck in your journaling?

If you’re feeling stuck in your normal way of journal writing, then you have two options:

  • “Just Do It” and power through
  • Or, step back and rediscover your love of journaling in the first place

Let’s talk about option 1 first.

Option 1 is good, but only for a limited time.

If you’re having a down day then perhaps it’s best to just suck it up and force yourself to journal, because we all have bad days.

But what if you’re consistently stuck? Like you continually forget, sabotage or resist for weeks on end?

Well, that’s where option 2 comes in handy!

Step Back to Find Your Authentic Journaling Joy

If you’re consistently stuck, then you need to re-evaluate.

Instead of taking steps towards “success”, I’m talking about taking a step back.

Why take a step back?

  • Move backwards, in order to move forwards.
  • You need to restart, before you can find your groove.
  • You need a fresh slate, to continue with vitality and motivation

When you take a step back you:

  • Clear your mind of all the “shoulds”
  • Remove pressure off yourself to “do it right”
  • Give yourself a chance to see things differently

In essence, when you step back, then you can actually see why you love journaling in the first place!

Why You Must Love Journaling in order to Find “Success”

But why is love of journaling important?

Love is important in ANY type of journal writing because:

  • You will consistently do what you love to do
  • When you do something consistently you will see progress
  • With progress comes more motivation

If you start writing and practice writing regularly then your writing skills also will improve!

Journal entries will become easier!

How to Find Your Love for Journaling

journal coffee
  • Forget about food journaling
  • Forget about whatever journaling project you’re working on – book, art, etc…
  • Forget about what you “should” do

Instead, let’s take a step back and think…

What do you like about journaling? Why do you journal at all?

For me, I often try to capture creative ideas on the pages of my journal before I forget them.

Sometimes before bed I’ll think about my day and the lessons I’ve learned. Journaling can be an amazing self-development tool!

Or if I’ve had a particularly intense moment, sad or celebratory, I’ll take a moment to map it out.

And yes, if I make a mistake, I’ll try to give myself compassion in the pages of my journal and to think about what I could do differently next time.

I journal because I value:

jared meditate enlightenment
  • self reflection
  • lifelong learning
  • getting grounded
  • calmness and quietness
  • self-development

This is my foundation.

  • I believe in introspection.
  • I believe in self-reflection, thinking about where I can improve and how to do things differently.
  • I believe in discovering my values.

But that’s me.

What about you?

Why do you journal?

What’s funny is that I bet you already have a journal in your life already!

  • You jot down notes to remember important things
  • You re-write emails and important text messages so that you express yourself properly
  • You sketch out characters in a journal entry to pass the time
  • You plan out and prioritize your day

These are all types of journaling you do naturally!

Why do you do these?


You just journal, because!

No reason necessary, you just like it!

When you have found out your “I journal because”, then you have found your love for journaling and THAT’s where you start.

About Intrinsic Motivation

A quick side note about intrinsic motivation, which is a scientific term for “love”.

Intrinsic motivation means:

“the motivation to do something because you find it interesting or enjoyable, as opposed to doing it because you think it will lead to an external reward such as money or fame.”

In other words, intrinsic motivation comes from within. It’s the joy of the activity itself that drives you. You’re not doing it for any external reason, but rather because you genuinely enjoy it.

When you journal from this place of intrinsic motivation, then “success” is inevitable!

You’ll want to keep journaling, because YOU love journaling. And when you love something… guess what? You get good at it!

You naturally grow!

Start with Your Love of Journaling and Gently Step Forward

success fail growth learning

First step is to find your love of journal writing.

Just write one journal entry!

See if you like it!

If it feels genuinely good to you then now …

You must be gentle.

It’s crucial right now you foster your love of journaling and keep writing regularly.

Do what you love.

Embrace the feeling of doing journal writing because you love it.

  • Not because someone is telling you to journal (like me!).
  • Not because you “should”
  • Not because of anything other than your genuine instinctual love for journaling “because”

Just do it because you love to do it!

  • Find consistency in doing what you love.
  • Find strength and purpose in the consistency of doing what you love.
  • Build up your confidence because you love this writing practice

Fun Journal Writing Examples:

Here are some fun ways to love journal writing:

  • Morning Pages: This is a great way to start your day! Just journal about anything that comes to mind.
  • Brain Dump: Similar to morning pages, but this can be done at any time of the day when you feel overwhelmed or stressed. Just write down something that’s on your mind!
  • Gratitude Journal: Every night before bed, list three things you’re grateful for from that day.
  • Creative Writing: Write short stories, poems, song lyrics, etc…
  • Bucket List: Make a list of all the things you want to do/see before you die.
  • Visualize the day: Make a plan for tomorrow and think about what’s important to you!

There are endless possibilities when it comes to journaling! Find what works best for you and run with it!

Don’t be afraid of creative thinking!

If you want some journal prompts for expressive writing, free writing or even just a few words of wisdom on keeping a consistent writing practice…

Watch Out for Inner Critic

talking back to inner critic with woman looking in the mirror and inner critic saying bad things but then the woman walking away and thinking she's fabulous

As you cultivate your intrinsic love of journaling, watch out for the inner critic.

The inner critic will say things like:

  • “You’re journaling too much!”
  • “This isn’t important to you anymore.”
  • “You should be doing more”

What’s great about journal writing is that it gets your inner critic out of hiding.

This can be super painful, but it also gives us the opportunity for some serious clarity!

When you practice journal writing every day (even if it’s not perfect), you’ll start to notice patterns in what your self-talk sounds like.

You may even discover things within yourself that are holding you back from real happiness and success!

It’s OKAY because this ISN’T easy stuff to face head on…and journaling makes sure we do just that..

Face our demons head on with love and courage so they don’t continue their cycle of sabotage or fear mongering!

Learning is How You Win From Failures

Your inner critic will also tell you:

  • “You’re not making fast enough progress”
  • “You’re not doing it perfectly so why continue?”
  • “Mistakes are evidence of failure so better stop and go back to your old ways”

But, let’s remember that Growth and Learning are what’s important!

This is how you WIN no matter what!

Because struggles are going to happen.

You are going to fail.

So you must be able to give yourself compassion for mistakes and temporary failures.

With compassion, you’ll have the grace to look at your mistakes no matter how painful.

With compassion, you can learn and improve. You can learn.

Learning is winning.

Binge Eating Example:

Let’s use the specific example of journaling to stop binge eating.

Let’s say your inner rebel gets the best of you one day and you binge.

Even worse, you know you “should” practice journal writing but you don’t!

Normally your inner critic might convince you:

  • This method isn’t working
  • This is too tough
  • I can’t do this
  • You failed because you binged

But …

We must remember learning is winning!

What’s one thing you can “learn” from this binge?

  • Was I hungry?
  • Was I triggered?
  • What did I feel?
  • What did I think?
  • Was there a rebel voice?
  • Was there a manipulative voice?

If you can “learn” something about your binge and WHY it happened …

Then you WIN!

Because learning compounds. One journal entry turns into many journal entries…

You keep learning tiny lessons…

Eventually you become wise.

Remember, the key is to really reflect first!

Use your critical thinking skills!

What writing prompts do you love? What do you love about journaling?

Does this make sense?

Let me know in the comments below what you think is your favorite style of journal writing!

About the Author

Jared Levenson is a former binge eating wrestler turned Zen Buddhist Monk, Internal Family Systems counselor and nutrition wellness coach. He's helped hundreds of people through universal meal principles and internal family systems to make peace with food, stop binge eating, and find true health and wholeness.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}