Write Your Way To A Change In The New Year

by Debra Marrs

The start of a new year is such a wonderful blank slate, isn’t it? It’s amazing how a simple flip of the calendar page makes us believe we can do whatever we choose, we can create whatever we want, we can be whoever we ever thought we could be. I believe that too.

So the normal thing to do is set a few new years’ resolutions, and then what? Well, for many of us, it’s not long before we’ve forgotten what the new years’ resolutions were, we feel really bad about that, and we start the new year feeling low and blue rather than upbeat and strong.

Over the years, I’ve taught busy women just like you the merits of keeping a journal. We’re not talking the “Dear Diary, I broke up with Jimmy…” version of a journal. We’re talking a journaling process that helps you create change and open up new possibilities.

5 Ways You Can Write Your Way to A Change in The New Year

1. Daily Joy Points Journal – it’s so easy to notice all the things that aren’t working in your life. Change your mindset by recording your Daily Joy Points. Each night before you go to bed, record whatever brings you joy, makes you happy, or brings you back to the wonder of being a child again. Take this idea a step further by asking your children to share their Daily Joy Points too. Encourage older children to write theirs in a journal just like you do; younger kids can draw or collage theirs.

2. A Food Journal – Losing weight is the #1 new years’ resolution. Keeping a Food Journal leads to better choices. So go beyond setting a goal for how many pounds you want to lose. Record everything you put in your mouth, and make adjustments if the weight isn’t coming off as quickly as planned.

3. A Gratitude Journal – The Law of Attraction reminds us that gratitude is essential for attracting more of what you want and less of what you don’t want. Like a daily prayer, the Gratitude Journal boosts your attraction magnetism because you take time to notice all the things you’re blessed with. Like the Daily Joy Points, sharing gratitudes with your children during bath or bedtime helps them focus on their positives too.

4. A Victory Journal – Did you know that your level of self-esteem is directly linked to how competent you feel? And how competent you feel is directly linked to how much you believe you accomplish? The simple act of writing down 3 things you’re proud of accomplishing each day, great or small, will create evidence that you are a super success too.

5. A Writer’s Journal – A Writer’s Journal can be a dumping ground for stress relief as well as a source book of fresh ideas. Even if you don’t consider yourself a writer (even though you write Facebook updates, Tweet, or blog, right?), a Writer’s Journal serves as a repository for lists, first drafts, found poems, self-discovery writings, and polished story details. Whether you write poetry or prose, fiction or memoir, blog posts or ebooks, from a dream journal to a project notebook, from a memory archive to a research file, the writer’s journal is a springboard for creating publishable material. A writer’s notebook is a great place to collect flashes of insight, audition new material, or cure writer’s block.

Armed with 5 potential journal formats, you’re now ready to fill in your new year’s blank slate with fantastic change. From blank slate to super success, you’ll have all the proof you need on December 31 in the journal you keep all year long.

Need a quick start writing guide? Get your free copy of 99 Ways to Jumpstart Your Creative Writing.

We’d love to hear which journal format you’ll start with. Please tell us a little about where you’ll begin in the comments below.

Debra Marrs teaches creative writing courses in memoir and personal essay. Her business writing workshops attract article, blog and ebook authors. Find her creativity and organization tips at YourWriteLife.com



  1. What an inspiring blog post from one journaler to another. Glad I found your site.

    • Madeline, thanks so much for leaving a comment. I love meeting others who journal. And thanks for your kudos!

      xox Debra xox

  2. Debra,
    What a delight to find your article on journaling; I just love all the options you provide that are all so empowering, validating and creative.
    I love the Daily Joy Points; I call them my BEST moments. Isn’t it fun to see what worked today that made you happy? And the Victory Journal really showcases what you did Right; I love the focus of what positive things we created for ourselves each day; it really helps balance out the often negative vibe journaling can sometimes take. These options are interesting and fun.

    I have chosen your post, Write Your Way To A Change In The New Year, for the #JournalChat Pick of the Day on 2/1/13 for all things journaling on Twitter; a link will be posted on the social networks, on my blog and website Refresh with Dawn Herring, and in my weekly Refresh Journal:http://tinyurl.com/bjc3e6a.

    #JournalChat Live is every Thursday, 5 EST/2 PST, for all things journaling on Twitter; our topic this week was Your Journaling: A Habit Worth Keeping.

    Thanks again for sharing such fabulous journalng options to get us started and motivated to keep a journal in 2013.

    Be refreshed,
    Dawn Herring
    Host of #JournalChat Live and Links Edition on Twitter
    Author of The Birthday Wall: Create a Collage to Celebrate Your Child

    • Dawn, thank you so much for your warm embrace of the ideas presented in this article. I love that you chose it as a resource for a recent #JournalChat on Twitter. Thank you.

      Even though I couldn’t attend live, I followed the lively discussion for #JournalChat through your transcript. I hope more people find their way to the positivity that you and I profess is possible through journaling. It works… it truly does!

      Thanks, Dawn.
      xox Debra xox

  3. In my own journal, I write about what is currently plaguing my mind. I find that putting it in a journal relieves the burden from my mind. Not all entries are negative. In fact, a number of them are positive. Getting the thought down in print just helps me feel that I can concentrate on the here and now.

    • I agree, Glynis. A journal is a great place to park our frustrations and challenges. Writing is a great form of release and letting go. The act of writing allows to vent and move on, and that’s a good thing. So glad you shared that added perspective.

      xox Debra xox

  4. Debra, I really appreciate how you have compartmentalized these journals and given them a positive focus. Excellent post and I look forward to #journalchatthis week, featuring you and this post!

    • Thank you, Kathleen. Your kudos mean a lot to me, knowing you’ve been journaling for quite a number of years also – from your pink diary to the blue cloth, three-ring notebook in Miss Phillips’ class. I appreciated your additions to the conversation during #JournalChat. Even though I couldn’t be there, I enjoyed reading the transcript. Thanks again!

      xox Debra xox

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