Internet Self Improvement

How to Jumpstart a Journaling Habit with 7 Simple Templates

Dann Albright 31-05-2016

Getting started journaling isn’t always easy, especially if you’re not sure what you’re supposed to be writing about. But if you have a journaling template, you have a big advantage: you don’t have to figure out what to write! It’s already there in front of you, and you just have to fill it in.


Try out these seven templates for Evernote and OneNote (or any other journaling system) and see which one is the most likely to keep you journaling on a regular basis and take it from a routine to a habit. And be sure to share your own favorite templates in the comments at the end of the article so we can try them out, too!

Creating Evernote and OneNote Templates

The easiest way to use templates is to create your own template files in Evernote or OneNote so you can quickly access them whenever you sit down to journal. You could always copy and paste them, but saving yourself the trouble with a reusable template will help you be more efficient in the long run.


If you’re not sure how to create your own templates, check out our article on useful Evernote templates How 6 Simple Evernote Templates Boost My Daily Productivity Create custom templates in Evernote. With these templates, you can boost your productivity at work and in your personal life. Let's see how you can make your own custom Evernote templates quickly. Read More , which walks you through the process of creating your own, or this one on staying organized with OneNote templates How to Use OneNote Templates: Everything You Need to Know OneNote templates are essential for true productivity. Here's all you need to know to edit and create your own OneNote templates. Read More .

1. Weekly Overview Template

Reddit user Mark1501 posted this weekly overview template that will help you look back at your week, think about your successes and shortcomings, and plan for the coming week What Do You Do On A Sunday? 4 Tips To Plan & Balance Your Work Week It's becoming tougher to keep a right balance between work and life. There are 168 hours in the week. Where does it all go? Here's how to reclaim it by planning for the week. Read More . He suggests setting aside about 30 minutes every Sunday to use it.


1) How did my week go?

  • What success did I experience? What can I celebrate? What can I be proud of?
  • Any magic moments? (Besides text, I’d put here links to private (unlisted) YouTube videos of our most magical moments.)
  • What challenges did I endure?
  • What I didn’t achieve this week (but I said I will). What are the reasons?

2) What did I learn this week?

  • About myself?
  • About others?
  • What do I plan to do – differently or the same – tomorrow?

3) Who did I interact with?

  • What was interesting about them?
  • Anyone I need to update?
  • Thank? Ask a question?
  • Share information or feedback with?

4) My Top 3 Goals for next week BIZ / PERSONAL

5) Upload the nicest and most inspiring photos of the week

Mark1501 also provides some guidance on how to set goals 5 Critical Mistakes To Avoid When Setting Goals Goal setting is a great way to cut down on procrastination and boost productivity. If you don’t have goals, you don’t have direction. Without direction, it’s easy for you to feel lost and confused. Fortunately,... Read More for the coming week in his original Reddit post, so be sure to check that out, too.

2. Daily Snapshot Template

This template, from Journal 365, gives you a great platform for reflecting on your entire day, from the subject of your prayers or meditations to your feelings on the day’s news. It’s a great way to capture how you’re feeling for looking back on later.

A picture for the day

What I am grateful for today

As I prayed and meditated this morning, these were my thoughts

Looking back over today, this stands out in my personal life

Looking back over today, this stands out in my home life

Looking back over today, this stands out in my work life

Describe today’s weather

What was the major news of the day?

Any particular feelings about it?

As you can see, this is a very detailed template, and if you answer all the questions on the template, it could take you a while to get your entire entry written. You could use this time for high-quality reflection or just focus on a few different questions each day to save some time. The original post contains comments on each section, as well as an example entry that you can check out to see how it’s used.

3. Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Annual Reflections Template

Asian Efficiency has a great article on how to make journaling a ritual, and they include daily, weekly, monthly, and annual journal templates. Here are the daily and weekly ones:


Daily Template

  • What happened to you that day (events).
  • Outcomes, tasks, questions.
    • Outcomes are the big things you want to achieve for the day.
    • Tasks are the smaller steps to achieving outcomes.
  • Write down 3 accomplishments.
  • Questions (all optional, pick as you please):
    • What did I read?
    • What did I learn?
    • What did I do to help my future?
    • How did I help someone today?
    • Who do I love?
    • What am I grateful for?

Weekly Template

  • What happened to you that week (events).
  • Outcomes, tasks, questions.
  • Review of how the week went.

The optional questions in the daily template make this a versatile one — you can spend five minutes journaling, or you can spend half an hour (or longer), just by choosing a different number of optional points to address.

Maintaining a daily journal is a good habit to keep and there are lots of apps and printables to help support your journaling 5 Journal Apps and Printables to Build a Habit of Daily Journaling A journaling habit can be difficult to build. That's why these apps and websites can make it easier to write a journal every day. Read More .

4. 5-Minute Journal Template

If you’re looking for something a little faster, you may want to take advantage of the layout of the 5-Minute Journal, a great little journal that’s meant to be done in the morning before you get started on your day and then again at the end. You can download the app, buy a physical journal, or use this template for Evernote or OneNote:

I am grateful for…

What would make today great?

Daily affirmation: I am…

3 amazing things that happened today…

How could I have made today better?

This style of journal is great if you don’t want to spend a lot of time writing but still want to capture the things that are important for improving your life with journaling. For more information on the system, check out


5. Yesterday – Now – Today Journal Template

This journal focuses on three different time periods to help you get a good idea of what’s going on in your life, as well as looking ahead to the future to plan for success. The creator of this template, Michael Hyatt, says it has helped him go from struggling with consistency to journaling most of the time.


  • What did I do yesterday?
  • What lessons did I learn?


  • What am I thankful for right now?
  • How am I feeling right now?


  • What did I read today?
  • What are my plans for today?
  • What one thing must I accomplish today?

Hyatt provides some insight into answering each question in his blog post on the template. He also mentions that he uses a text expander What Is Text Expansion & How Can It Help You Save Time? If you could save yourself even a small fraction of the time you spend typing, you could save hours of your time every week. That's exactly what text expansion is for. Read More to quickly type the questions, which is another option beyond using an Evernote or OneNote template.

6. 10 Things Journal Template

I came across this journal template from Candy Cook on Pinterest, and it immediately caught my eye because it’s very quick to use, but it can also capture quite a bit of information that could be useful in your journaling journey.


  1. Hearing:
  2. Tasting:
  3. Reading:
  4. Wearing:
  5. Feeling:
  6. Weather:
  7. Wanting:
  8. Needing:
  9. Thinking:
  10. Enjoying:

Many of the prompts are based on the sensory stimuli you’re currently experiencing, which is a fun way to record what you do . . . but there are also some that will require a bit more thought. You can spend as much time as you want on this particular template, as it’s very flexible. The amount of detail and thought you put in could change on a daily basis if you want it to.


7. Mindful Minute Journaling Template

Katherine Torrini’s template gives you six different categories to jot down some thoughts in just a few minutes. Her website also includes a really nice printable version of this template that you could use to create your template or print out and put in your paper journal.

Gratitude: List one thing you’re grateful for.

Intention: How do you want to be today? Focused? Spontaneous? Light?

Priorities: What are the 3 most important things you want to do today?

Progress: What progress, however small, have you already made towards your goals?

Opportunity: Every day can be an opportunity: What’s your’s today?

Request: Ask for what you need — from yourself, your family and the universe!

You can go through all six categories or just focus on a few each day to hone in on certain insights.

Your Favorite Journal Templates


These seven templates will help reduce the friction of getting started on a journaling habit, letting you focus on what’s important: reflection and growth. You only have limited mental energy every day, so why would you use it on trying to figure out what to journal about? Use templates instead to access all the great benefits of journaling.

You might also check out these creative writing programs to use with your chosen template. Of course, you can also use dedicated digital journal apps 6 Digital Journal Apps to Boost Mental Health With a Daily Diary  Want to start journaling to boost your day or just your mental health. Start a daily journal with these free apps today. Read More that guide you through the journaling process with built-in templates, or these free printables and ebooks to track your habits.

Image Credit: Image of opened white note book by airdone (Shutterstock)

Related topics: Habits, Journaling, Writing Tips.

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  1. Kayla Matthews
    June 6, 2016 at 7:56 pm

    Love this post, Dan! Simple and effective. I'll be giving some of these a try in the next few weeks. =)

    • Dann Albright
      June 13, 2016 at 7:40 pm

      Great! You'll have to let me know how it goes. :-) I haven't used all of these yet, but I need to get my journaling habit back on track, so I'll probably give one a shot soon. I've been using paper until now, but I'm just not quite motivated enough to do that all the time.