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The start of a new year is always a good time to recenter and think about what you want to focus on going forward. Whether you are looking to just set intentions or quantifiable goals or simply start the habit of writing down your thoughts and emotions, getting a journal to keep everything organized and collected is a good place to start.
Journals and notebooks really do come in all shapes and sizes, depending on their intended purposes. From bullet journaling or just needing a space to freewrite (with an occasional doodle or two), we have rounded up eight notebooks that are way better than just scribbling something on a scrap piece of paper.
Papier has tons of beautiful notebooks and planners in a variety of colors and designs, but we particularly like how sophisticated this one feels with the simple color and monogram. The leather hardcover makes it durable enough to carry around with you and not have to be too precious about it. The paper is also on the thicker side so it is great for those who like to use inky pens.
A classic, softcover Moleskine is perfect for those of us trying to live out your “Lonely Boy” fantasies. These come in tons of colors and a variety of ruling types, so they are a great option whether you are looking for a plain journal for drawing, dotted or squared for bullet journaling, or traditionally ruled to write the next Great American Novel. Bend back that soft cover and have your main-character moment in a coffee shop.
Sometimes, you do not need anything fancy; just a place to put your notes and ideas. Muji has tons of options to serve whatever you are trying to organize. These notebooks, in particular, are made with heavier lined recycled paper so ink and highlighters do not bleed through as easily. The plain, sturdy paperboard cover surprisingly holds up over time and is the perfect canvas to add your own stickers to personalize.
If you are looking for a splurge-worthy option for yourself or a gift for someone who appreciates the analog things in life, we suggest Smythson’s handcrafted notebooks. The British luxury-stationery brand holds three Royal Warrants, meaning if it’s good enough for the households of the British royal Family, the softcover grained lambskin notebook is probably suitable enough for you. The edges of the paper are even gold.
If you want to start journaling but do not really know where to start, a little structure might be helpful. With each page dedicated to a day, The Five-Minute Journal includes morning and night prompts to help you focus on what you are grateful for and what you are trying to manifest. The daily practice is a mindful way to start and conclude your day.
You cannot control when inspiration might come to you, so if you are looking to be able to jot down your thoughts on the go, these journals are small enough to fit in your back pocket. These feel like something from Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom and are available in one of each paper type: ruled, graph, and plain, with 48 pages each. Keep one in your coat, one in your bag, and one on your bedside table so you are never without.
Another wallet-friendly option, this lined journal is the No. 1 best seller on Amazon in the “hardcover journal” category, with over 27,000 reviews and a 4.8-star rating. Available in 15 different colors, this journal is made of 160 thick pages so you can confidently use pens and markers without worrying about it bleeding through. Bonus: It has an inner pocket to keep track of receipts, notes, or anything else.
For paper enthusiasts, this notebook’s pages have a silky feel that helps your pen effortlessly glide. The stitch binding allows it to easily lie flat, and the card-stock cover is durable enough to make this a great all-purpose notebook for anything from journaling to brainstorming to doodling.