Not only can journaling apps save you from wasting money or killing trees, but the practice benefits your mental health, too. “Journalling can help to build self-awareness and understanding when we write down and explore our experiences, thoughts, and feelings,” says Dr Rachel Evans, a chartered psychologist.
“By simply transferring thoughts from swirling around your head to written form, it can provide an emotional release and help you to see a situation more clearly. When we journal, we are separating ourselves from the thought and processing it in a different way.”
This clarity can be especially useful when a new year has just started. Jotting down a few small, attainable goals and aims for the this year in a journalling app can offer a meaningful and effective way to brainstorm what’s most important to you, prepping your priorities for the year ahead. Plus, you can continue to use a journalling app to track your progress toward these goals and, in a year, reflect on what you’ve accomplished.
Whether you want to store picture memories along with notes from your day or prefer to write just a few sentences before bed, these 15 journalling apps each offer a unique way to keep track of your thoughts and experiences. Pick the one that’s perfect for you, and download it faster than you can say, “Dear Diary.”
Alan Mind is designed to help users build a healthier and more mindful lifestyle, and can even help those who are struggling with a difficult time or facing anxiety. An interactive app, it’s perfect for those looking to set new year goals because you can easily track progress and receive reports over time.
Cost: Free 7-day trial, then R1 024 per year (R8 5a month billed annually)
Log a small bit about your adventures each day with this app. Users like the added password protection to enter the app and that it backs up all the data you input. Ideal for those who want to reflect on how their life has changed day-to-day, it timestamps each entry so you can return to important moments with a click.
If you like to keep things short and sweet, Daylio could be the app for you. The digital equivalent of a bullet journal, Daylio makes inputting entries easy by logging your mood and daily activities in just a few clicks. You can also add more in-depth thoughts in the notes, which is useful for keeping track of New Year’s resolutions and other goals. To see how far you’ve come, you can even export those notes into a PDF.
Cost: Free to download, R359.99 a year (R29.99 a month billed annually) or R49.99 a month for premium features.
Longwalks offers something a bit different than the regular ole’ journalling app. Designed to help you connect and reflect, users fill in a question each day, which they can share with friends and fellow Longwalks users. The way the app is designed means its usage becomes a self-care habit and provides a safe place to vent and share self-praise, worries, and goals.
A previous winner of both the Apple Editors’ Choice and App of the Day, Reflectly helps users vent their thoughts and feelings in the usual journalling app fashion, but also uses cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and action-orientated therapy to help users gain perspective on their lives and improve their mood. Plus, the more frequently you use the app, the more personalised motivational prompts come through, which can be useful for keeping track of the new year and long-term goals.
Cost: R529.99 annually
5 Minute Journal
Based on the best-selling book of the same name, the 5 Minute Journal app uses proven principles of positive psychology to help users feel happier in five minutes with its guided gratitude journaling method. Users love how simple the app is to use and praise how easy it is to input daily entries. If you’re looking to keep track of some new goals, you can even set up reminders to keep you moving forward.
Zinnia Journal & Planner
If you’re somebody who likes colour and eye-catching designs when it comes to motivating yourself, you’ll love Zinnia. Designed to feel like a paper journal with templates, stickers, and lots of other creative options, the app offers the best of both worlds. Aside from the fun features, you’ll be kept on track with to-do lists, weekly logs, and virtual vision boards.
Cost: Free 7-day trial, then R169.99 a month or R689.99 a year
Day One Journal
Day One Journal has over 15 million downloads and 50,000 five-star reviews, so yeah, people are pretty into this app. It offers so many brilliant features, including daily prompts to keep you on top of your goals and the option to text entries for unbeatable ease. Users love how the app encourages you to log every day, from the huge milestones to the small, yet memorable moments.
Cost: Free to download, R589.99 a year for premium features
Reflect Guided Daily Journal
This app does exactly what you’d expect: It helps users reflect. By helping to centre you through daily self-check-ins, you’ll learn things about yourself and your habits that you may have never recognised before. You’ll also receive reports based on your strengths and goals, and the app shares solution-focused strategies through CBT and positive psychology.
Cost: Free to download, R99.99 a month, R319.99 a year or R1 299 for a lifetime subscription to premium features
DailyBean is a simple, fun app that helps you record your 365 going-ons with the click of a sticker. Cute little beans are there for users to tap, logging the day’s events, meals, weather, and social activities. It’s just the right app for those who want something uber simple to complete in the evenings and almost feels like a game. Users love the chart feature that reflects how your mood has fluctuated over time, which makes it easy to look back at different life phases.
Cost: Free 7-day trial then, R17.99 a month or R79.99 a year
If you prefer to keep things simple but like to get plenty of info down, look no further than ZenJournal. With this app, you’re not encouraged to title your log entries or make anything feel particularly ceremonial – no need to log the weather or what you ate that day. Instead, you just start typing. It’s as simple as that. You can keep track of your mood however with the hashtags #happy and #sad.
Ever heard of a line-a-day journalling? Well, Gold is just that, but a lil’ different. Gold is designed for busy people who want to improve their mental well-being, but only have time to write a small amount each day. The coolest part? After recording your one line a day, you can choose to bring your memory to life by importing a photo. Users love the nostalgic “on this day” element that is ideal for seeing just how far you’ve come with your yearly goals.
Gratitude Journal Affirmations
This app is designed to guide you through your daily affirmations and goals, with a vision board to help you manifest exactly what it is that you want from life. Pair practising mindfulness and self-love through a zen section with journalling, and you’ll be well on your way to a happier year ahead.
Relive your life, memories, and all the ups and downs that come with that on Momento. Users can capture journaled notes, places, people, and more through the app, while daily activities and photos are cleverly captured automatically through your linked social networks and apps. Whatever your goals and dreams are for next year, from health and career to love and travel, Momento is a smart app that can handle anything when it comes to journaling.
Cost: Free 1-month trial, then R63.99 a month for “Pro” features
Thinky: Mindful Journal
Imagine typing your daily journal in your phone notes, but in a more organised fashion that still reads like a notepad. Keep your thoughts neat and tidy in an encrypted safe space, and, if you need inspiration, Thinky’s prompts will help you remember certain parts of your day.