For Those Who Hate Journaling

We've heard it a thousand times – “you should journal.”

But what if you hate to journal? This video has the answer for those of us who are not “natural journal people”…

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[reminder]What's your feeling about journaling?[/reminder]

Ray Edwards is a world-renowned copywriter and communications strategist, writing for some of the most powerful voices in leadership and business including New York Times bestselling authors Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul) and Tony Robbins. Ray is a sought-after speaker and author, hosts a popular weekly podcast, and blogs at

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  • What are thoughts on staying consistent? I’ll start for a week or so and then stop. Until I’m reminded about it again (like in your video). I know it’s an incredible habit to keep. I guess the distractions of life, mainly 2 young kids, keeps interrupting me.

  • Great message, Ray. As someone who has struggled with journaling, I have taken to “bullet journaling.” Creating simple bullet points about what I have done today and what I intend to do tomorrow, etc. I use a free app called Workflowy for this.

    However, my approach primarily captures activities. Adding answers to the questions you posed to my bullet journal will allow me to explore the reasons for doing the things I do, which should be far more valuable.

    Thank you for the excellent recommendations.

  • Diahanna

    I love you idea to prompt yourself with questions Ray. Great idea to pass along.

  • Lyn

    Ray, I enjoy your content immensely. Your podcast and posts are a pleasure.

    Your videos, however, only seem to play a few seconds before locking up. There you are, frozen, with the little dots circling around and around the middle of your face. In fact, the dots are twirling around a blank white screen right now–even your frozen image has blinked out. Disappointment reigns!

    These kinds of technical problems usually live at the user end of the rainbow, so there’s probably nothing you can do to fix it. However, you may have an idea of something I can do to solve the problem. If so, please put it in an email–Gmail is pitiful at outgoing, but seems pretty effective at incoming messages. I may not be the only one suffering from the spinning dots syndrome.

    Thank you so much for the content you share with us!

    • Sorry you are having this trouble! Our videos are hosted by YouTube. You might try watching them directly on the YouTube site (see screenshot below.)

      CLick here to see the screenshot:

      • Lyn

        Thanks for the idea. I’ll give it a shot. 🙂

    • Charlie

      I can help you understand what is happening. The little white circles that you are seeing is related to bandwidth issues at your end. The video is trying to download. Here are a few things that you can try to fix the problem:
      1) Go to and run the test program. It will see how fast your internet connection is. It will give you 3 numbers: Ping-the smaller the number the better. Download- the bigger the number the better. This is the number most important when trying to download a video to watch. Should be greater than 10 mbps at a bare minimum. Upload-the bigger the better. This number is usually much smaller than the download speed provided by your internet service provider.
      2) What browser are you using to gain access to websites. YouTube is owned by Google and you would experience the best possible viewer experience if you are using Google Chrome as your web browser. You can download Chrome for free if you don’t have it.
      3) YouTube uses what is called Adaptive Bit Rate streaming which means that your video player if set to Auto mode would check what kind of download speed you have and render the appropriate size file so that you will not experience the little white dots. If you hover your cursor over the video you will see what looks like a little sprocket or flower at the bottom of the screen. If you click on it, you will see a menu that has 4 options. Click on the one that says Quality. Make sure the check mark is on the one that says Auto.

      Try these things and you will be a long way to determining if it’s a browser issue or your internet connection speed. Hope this helps. Have a blessed day,

  • So glad you’re talking about this, Ray! I, too, used to hate journaling, but that changed about 15 years ago. And now it’s so instrumental in my life, I wouldn’t want to stop. In fact, when you talk about “writing is the doing part of thinking,” when I began journaling again, I had no earthly idea the words I was spilling onto those pages would become so life-changing for me they’d become a book. That thought would’ve even been absurd to me! (I didn’t just hate journaling, I hated writing with a vengeance! Now I’m an author – AND an author primarily because I journaled! :-o)

    More than recording thoughts on a page, journaling has become an integal part of my time and relationship with God. (Hey, He tells us repeatedly in His word to “remember.”) And since I know so many people who struggle to do it (or even understand why they might want to), several months ago I shared my “seven reasons I won’t stop journaling this time” in this post on my worship blog. I hope this inspires some of your listeners to give it a try!

    Thanks again, Ray. Appreciate you!

  • Hey Ray,
    My daughter started me journaling. She’s a paper and pen kinda gal. I’m electronic. I started using the Day One app but switched to an Evernote file.
    Here’s my add in to your “question template.”
    I know it sounds trendy (whatever) but I add a “selfie” to every journal entry. Now I’ll tell you why. Several years ago my good friend’s son passed away suddenly. I helped them spend the next week combing through thousands of photos. His mother is an amateur photographer so thousands is a low estimate. Photos of their son were gold to them.
    I have one daughter. Some day, I will pass away. When I do, she will have access to my journal and a daily picture of her dad. Most are taken on the spot by my iPad. Some are dropped in from a shot I took within the past day or so. Some goofy. Some serious. Some with my wife. Mostly of me. It’s my journal.
    I’ve been doing this for a few years now. In 20 more years she’ll be sick of my ugly mug but will have memories of me in word and pictures.
    You can never have too many memories. Record them as many ways as you can.

  • Awesome video Ray.
    Great tips to keep this “overwhelming” task simple.

    I love the quote “writing is the doing part of thinking”

    Keep up the good work

  • Kristen

    Thanks for the encouragement and actual starting steps. The fear of journaling, for me, is that someone else might read it. To that end, I tend to not be as honest as I should and chore over proper grammar and clever, insightfulness. I’m sure there’s an app for that!

  • I do not like journaling, never have. I am involved in a recovery group that highly encourages it however, partly to track spiritual progress. Your video was helpful and I too loved the line “writing is the doing part of thinking.” Much appreciated.

  • Awesome, just what i needed to hear today! I was actually thinking this morning, “I need to find a way to be better at keeping a journal, a short efficient way to do this daily.” This sounds awesome, will start today. Ty 🙂

  • First Ray, you look great. Have you lost more weight?

    Second, I’ve been on a daily journaling streak the last 7 weeks. And I’ve got to tell you, it’s been great for helping me establish a consistent writing habit.

    Plus, it’s been therapeutic. I can dump my feelings (yes, guys, I said feelings) on the page, express my gratitude or affirm the positive things that I’m doing in my life.

    Thanks for suggesting those questions to answer while journaling. I try them tonight.

  • I am huge fan of journaling. Thank you for the encouragement! I find journaling to be a great way to get to know my heart better, and be in a better place to hear what God is whispering to me.

  • Sondra

    I love to journal. Although sometimes I don’t do it everyday but I always come back to my books. I use pen and paper and I have a file on my computer.
    My journal is my space in life to speak openly about any and everything that is on my mind. The good, the bad and the ugly.
    It is that old friend who listens to me whenever I want to talk. It never let’s me down.

  • K

    Nice video, Ray. ? I’m an avid journaler(ist?) however I do find it difficult to keep up sometimes.. the one thing that really keeps me going is doing it publicly, then I’m stuck with my goals and usually accomplish them. And it’s quite rewarding, really, looking back and seeing all I’ll accomplish in a month, year, etc. It gives you the opportunity to see how you’ve matured and what you’ve learned, as well as provides clues to where you can improve. I too believe journaling is super important to your business, and more importantly, the growth of it.

  • Ray, what a great idea! It is simple but sustainable… and a great way to keep us focused on what we should be trying to accomplish in our lives… and with a grateful heart.

  • Martha

    Thank you for this video, Ray. About a month or two ago, I started using the 5 minute journal app that you also mention. I can attest to just how much my life really did improve. I didn’t believe it would happen until it did. But actually, I didn’t attribute it to the journaling until I stopped the practice.

    Like many people, I’ll start something, get excited about it, stick with it for a bit, and then lose interest and stop. Well, when I stopped, I noticed that my mind again became occupied with negative thoughts and naturally, I started to feel less excited about life. It was then that I realized that I need to get back to journaling in the app. It really does work! Sitting down for a few minutes to reflect on the things I’m grateful for is really magical. At times, it is hard to come up with things I’m grateful for, or what happened today that was awesome, or what I will do to have a great day. But, I stick through it and complete the entry. It really does make a huge difference in my life and I encourage everyone to try it out.


    Thank you for this motivating insight to journaling. This gives me a different perspective that I have overlooked.

  • Jerry

    You may want to check out an app called Grid Diary. It allows you to create a template of questions to answer each day. It offers a lot of suggestions which you can adapt or create your own. I find it useful. Also use Day One for longer ramblings.

  • Excelent video on journaling. I postponed doing it for a long time, but you convinced me 100%. I will start today.

  • I know I need to journal but finding the right environment is so difficult. I need some quiet to think and I don’t seem to be afforded that luxury right now.

    • Dan Morris

      I wake up 30 minutes earlier than I have to and sit in the closet (it’s big enough not to be weird) to write, pray and meditate. Sometimes it works, other times the kids stir before I finish.

  • Thanks for the reminder Ray!

    I just started journaling again. I’ve been using Day One for awhile but haven’t been consistent. I’ve also started taking my paper journals from years ago and entering them into Day One. It’s amazing what reading the old journals does for your creativity and for expanding your gratitude section.

  • Sheri Berke

    I have anazing success with my jounaling, when I do it consistently. It’s been almost 4 weeks since I last made an entry and I wonder why I stopped. I like wgat you said about journaling being the thinking part of doing. Now I need to go pick up my pen!

  • Hehe, what you call journaling, I call freewriting. I’ve been doing it for years on 750 words. I really find that setting myself a topic and then writing about it in a stream of consciousness fashion helps me explore whatever it is that I need to achieve or tackle. It’s particularly useful when I’m trying to work out a structure for an academic article or if I’ve got writer’s block over a piece of fiction and I’m not sure where to take the story next. Freewriting lets my unconscious solve the problem ‘in real time’ but by writing it down, I keep a record of it!

  • Arla Corbin

    I love it very stress relieving and sometimes a great way of listening to yourself
    and answering the things that are bothering you sometimes they ate very trivial when you see it for what it is. A good talkless psychologist when you can’t talk to one

  • Dan Morris

    I use the 5-minute journal and a blank paper journal. The 5-minute journal is a quick and easy way to wake up and calibrate your mind and go to sleep thinking about the good things. And it’s quick. The blank journal I have is used for my more in depth thoughts and goal setting. Plus, I love to log and review my ideas which I usually record while driving and transpose to my journal for further reflection.
    Thanks, Ray. Good topic.

  • Dear Ray,
    I appreciated your encouragement, especially since fir journaling I needed encouragement and the kind of specifics that you shared.

  • Consistency is my issue but the foundation of that is just a pure lack of motivation. Perhaps answer the daily questions will help. Thanks Ray.

  • Kamil

    Hello Ray,
    can you tell me what plugin do you use to put your Youtube video into blog post? It looks really good.

  • So you stand out by definition of generating a video and
    taking the time to thank readers for reading your book, and they
    are going to remember that.