THE BLOG
12/19/2013 08:52 am ET Updated Feb 18, 2014

5 New Ways to Journal in the New Year

Are you, like me, someone who has always loved the romantic idea of journaling every day in a leather-bound diary that will be passed down through the generations? Or even relish the thought of the benefits positive psychology associates with keeping a gratitude journal on a daily basis?

And then life gets in the way. You either fall into bed exhausted every night, or nod off during the end of a late night TV show, and wake up mentally chastising yourself for not having journaled yet again. That kind of defeats the purpose, right? Aren't you journaling to work through your mental sludge to create more positive feelings of joy and peace?

Let's make this the year where we take journaling to a whole new plane of existence. Let's make the journaling about not only celebrating what we are grateful for that nature, the universe, and other people provide for us, but also acknowledging and celebrating the good we have done as well. Dare to be a self-promoter and honor the efforts you make in the world. Dare to journal wearing a pair of funky rose-colored glasses and drown out your inner critic. Dare to drop the idea of the perfect, daily, hand-written, "Dear Diary" journal entry and embrace a new, groovy and creative way of summarizing your day and declaring your gratefulness.

Here are some creative ways to journal in 2014 that are sure to encourage this new habit.

1. Short and Tweet: Keep it to under 140 characters. Open a note on your smart phone and summarize your thoughts in short little bursts. Then roll over and go to sleep feeling accomplished.

2. Picture Perfect: Get creative and take an Instagram shot of whatever you are grateful for, and then on a lazy weekend arrange all the photos in a gratitude album. You can sort them chronologically or by subject, color, or theme. It's yours to play with as you choose.

3. Get Messy: Pull out the colored pencils and doodle! Represent your day through drawings in a notebook. Make a collage once a week. Break out the water colors. Have Fun!

4. Haiku are you?: Not much longer than a tweet but a bit more work. The Haiku is a short poem of no more than 17 syllables written in 3 lines: the first with 5 syllables, the second with 7, and the third with 5. This is a great way to use your creative juices and keep yourself challenged.

5. Hodgepodge: All of the above mixed in with traditional stream of consciousness hand-written journaling. Get a sturdy book with blank pages and lined pages, give yourself permission to leave blank pages to be filled in with notes and pictures you print off your computer later, and go to town. Glue in your used plane tickets and show playbills, print off your favorite song lyrics, or write about the anonymous good deed you did that no one will ever praise you for but that fills your heart with joy.

Turn journaling into your own unique pleasurable practice to celebrate your life in 2014 and take out the need for a structured guilt-ridden daily drill. May you find lots to be joyful for within yourself and your world.

Do you have a creative way to journal that I didn't cover? Leave it in the comments below!