How To Do A Journal Reset

Author - Cathy Diaz
Published - February 20, 2024


You’re sitting down to write in your memory keeper and find the words a little overdone, maybe forced. You’re trying to reflect on important, personal events, to immortalize for all time and your descendants. That journaling routine has become too routine.

Let’s say it: sometimes even journaling feels... dry.

I’m here to brainstorm ideas with you on a journal reset.

What is ‘a reset’? 

When you push the on/off button on your computer, you’re often doing it because there’s a glitch. An unexpected obstacle that doesn’t have a simple solution, so going back to the beginning, i.e., turning off and then back on again, sometimes solves the issue. 

Journaling can be the same. Sometimes the problem is obvious, but if your initial solutions were working, you wouldn’t need the reset. The following are ways to restore yourself, fix that malfunction, and make the mental change necessary that brings joy back into journaling.

Ways to do a Journal Reset

✔️Take a break

Literally, do anything else. Walk outside. Call a friend. Read a book. Take a bath. Find an activity that engages you differently. Do you feel the need to engage your body or your mind? Do you need time for yourself or time with others? 

Journaling will be there when you’re done. 

✔️Internalize positive experiences

Recite some positive affirmations. Spend time in meditation or prayer. Be deliberate when expressing gratitude to others: make eye contact and speak with sincerity. Take stock of what you’re grateful for today and celebrate it! Look for opportunities to laugh and find humor throughout your day. 

Are you still finding yourself thinking negative thoughts? Challenge your thinking each time you internalize negativity. 

Photo by Alysha Rosly / Unsplash

✔️Instead of writing, be ‘artsy’

You don’t have to be a professional artist to do art in your journal. You don’t even have to have a lot of skill or practice. There’s a bunch of ways to ‘cheat’: stickers, stencils, and collage are a few of the ways. 

Or take the plunge and become ‘artsier’ than you feel. You can sign up for a local arts class or have a few DIY art nights with friends, buy your own beverage of choice, and choose a theme! 

✔️Take care of your body

Sometimes if we’re not taking joy in what usually brings us happiness, then look deeper. Are you sleeping OK? Are you eating healthy and in a fun way? (Hot take: boring health-food is not sustainable). 

Are you moving your body? Do you have pain or discomfort that you have not addressed in the right medical setting? 

Have you considered pampering your body? When you look at yourself in the mirror, what do you see? A body that is thriving or a body in need?

✔️Tools to relax

Take a digital detox. Disable all application notifications in your settings. See if you have a Do Not Disturb setting and turn that on. Go off social media, turn on an away responder on unnecessary emails and let calls go to voice-mail except in emergencies. 

✔️Use muscle relaxation

Start with comfortable clothing and take a position that relaxes you, such as sitting or laying down. Take one muscle group at a time, tensing and holding position and slowly releasing, timing with your breath. Tense your muscles for five seconds and focus on releasing for 10 seconds. Go from your toes to your head. Do this throughout your whole body. Be intentional and do every body part and each side. Breath even and slow. Repeat until tension is gone. 


Take slow deep breaths, counting to 4 while breathing in. Then hold your breath for a count of 4. Now, breathing out, count again to 4. Repeat your breaths in a steady rhythm. This is called box-breathing and focuses your breathing and mind.

Photo by engin akyurt / Unsplash

✔️Simplify your approach

Maybe your journaling goals were too stressful. Dial it down to what you truly enjoy about journaling. Are you trying to make the pages perfect? Make some a little messy, on purpose. Are you trying to do journaling every day? Do it a few times a week instead. Was it supposed to be a memoir for your loved ones? Focus on documenting what brings you joy, rather than making your life ‘novel-like’. 

✔️Be honest with yourself

Sometimes it’s not the activity but a need for deeper help. No matter the age, we all go through unexpected hurdles and blue-spots. Maybe life didn’t turn out the way we thought it would, or took an unexpected turn. If you’re feeling depressed or having anxiety, reach out for professional help. 

Journaling is an amazing tool that, by itself, cannot replace medical support. 

Believe You Can

If you’re still squinting at my soapbox above, take advice from the Irish: "A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything." - Irish Proverb

May you always laugh and have long sleeps.

Blogger Bio:  Cathy Diaz has a blog called Why We Journal. She’s been journaling since her tweens, and now blogs about how awesome journaling is, with a side of science and sarcasm to back-up some of her inflated opinions. She has a debut guided journal, ‘Reframe the Sabotage: A Transformation Journal’ that won her husband’s annual “Twenty Dollar Words” award. To learn more about this inside joke, head over to Why We Journal.


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