How do you end your day? We pay so much attention to our morning habits, but finishing the day on a positive note is just as important when it comes to our well-being and success. And if you’re going to implement one change to your nighttime routine, try journaling before bed to experience greater happiness and success.
“Journaling at the end of the day gives you an opportunity to reflect on the day,” says certified life coach Miruna Nica. “It gives you the benefit of relaxing in a moment of introspection and seeing the highlights of your day with more clarity.”
Studies have shown the practice can even help you sleep better. Journaling before bed also sets you up for success the next day, allowing you to clear your mind, celebrate wins, note areas of improvement and check in with your goals. Tools like the Five-Minute Journal make it easy to adopt a journaling habit, but you can also create your own routine and go more in-depth. Here’s everything you need to know to get started.
Benefits of evening journaling
According to Nica, journaling before bed will help you develop more self-awareness, learn from your experiences and find peace of mind. The more you review your decisions and actions on a daily basis, the more you’ll be able to connect dots and notice how certain thought patterns affect your reality. You can also evaluate what went well, what didn’t go so well, and what kind of insights you can take away from your experiences so you can improve in the future. Finally, you can release stress and get a sense of closure by expressing your thoughts without censorship.
Tips to implement an evening journaling routine
As with any new habit you want to implement, Nica recommends starting with your why. “Why would this be important to you? What is your intention with this practice? Perhaps it’s monitoring growth, encouraging self-expression or keeping track of your daily routines. Or maybe you want to write down your brilliant ideas or expand your self-discovery,” she says.
Now that you have a better idea of your intentions, figure out what kind of approach would work for you. “Once your why is clear, jot down your what: Would your journal be more like an open book with blank pages to be filled with whatever is present for you at the moment or would it be more structured? Would you want to have categories in it?” Then, implement and see happiness and success come in.
Be realistic about the amount of time you want to dedicate to your evening journaling routine, and choose a place and time where you’ll be most likely to take the time to write in your journal.
Evening journaling prompts to get started
Nica embraces a semi-structured approach in her own evening journaling routine. “I answer the same questions every night and add my own twists for that day,” she says. She recommends the following prompts:
- What did I love the most about today?
- What are the three things I’m grateful for?
- What can I improve tomorrow?
- Did I exercise, eat healthily and stay hydrated?
She also suggests following your journaling practice with a moment of deep breathing and relaxation. “Set the intention to slow down, let go, and have a peaceful and restful night of sleep.” You can, over time, see the success and happiness happen.