A lot of people seem to be confusing the two terms very frequently. This brings us to share a post that should separate the curd from the whey, so to say. Although the only similarity between diaries and journals is that they are hand written or composed on a digital medium, both serve different purposes. The entries itself are properly distinguished if you do maintain one. Now anyway, let’s get into the factors that make them different from each other.

This post investigates the contrast drawn between a journal and a diary.

A diary.. 

…is a book basically which is maintained to record the events of the past. We can also say that it is maintained to record the events that have taken place till now.

A journal.. 

…is a handybook used for goal setting that demands of you to maintain a record of your brainstormed ideas or steps to reach your goals and meet your targets.

The following table will determine the differences in characteristics of Diaries and Journals

Theme what is supposed to be added in Diarywhat is supposed to be added in Journal 
Nutrition, cooking, baking and food You can mention a dish /dishes that you relished the same day. You can also add recipes or write about your hobbies around cooking. You write a recipe with step-by-step instructions inside a journal for a clear reference.
Style and FashionYou can mention your hobby for fashion and write narrations. Or you can mention whatever inspired you today in regards with fashion. A journal’s entry would be clippings of magazines, reference pieces of clothes, fashion accessories clippings, etc. that circle around your entry.
Career and your tasksYou narrate your goals and aspirations or your career path. You can also write about what inspired you in regards to the same. A journal entry will have pictures of your dream house, car and career of what you’d like to visualize yourself to have / own.
Workout and fitnessYou can create a record of physical activity that is done by you during a whole day. You can add the instructor’s notes or the new recommendations that you are keen on trying.

Even if the concept of maintaining notes is somewhat similar in a diary and journal, they serve different purposes each. Both diaries and journals can be written and maintained daily. However, diaries are kept to narrate and record thoughts, feelings and emotions over formal things. For years, diaries have maintained stories of lovers and friends that are personal to its writer. It helps record our experiences of life and how we perceive them, also to understand ourselves better, allowing us to come back to the old pages, ahead in time, and reminisce about the old days. On the other hand, journals are planners. A record book of instructions, reminders, goals to track your productivity and pre-plan your day or days of the week / month/ year. They are used to cover important dates and events, fitness goals/  routines/ productivity, and track progress of all these targets. 

Types of Diaries:

  1. A diary that helps track Child Development.
  2. A Food Diary that helps you track your daily diet.
  3. A Fitness Diary that only tracks your fitness goals and routines that allows you to narrate how you feel about your progress or regression. 
  4. A Gratitude Diary that tracks everything that has lightened the air around you from time to time.


You can maintain one journal and title your intention accordingly as the pages don’t run out quicker than a diary’s. 

Differences in prices of Diary and Journal:

Price of a Diary : 

Prices usually depend on the size, quality and number of the pages, illustrated or not, hardcovers or not and few other factors. You can buy a diary online or from any bookstore and the cost ranges from INR 100-1000. 

Price of a Journal :

Prices of journals hold the same criteria as that of diaries. Size, pages, covers, illustrated or not, differ from every publication and are usually priced between INR 100-1000.

Chronological arrangement is made in a diary. The emotions, thoughts, feelings that are mentioned in a diary are more contemporary.

Here is an example of how you record things in a diary :- 

It was raining heavily on 4th oct and it was my birthday.

Whereas a journal is used to keep a track record of dates and events and is usually less descriptive. It records all details only. 

Here is an example of how you record things in a journal :

Travel Journal –

Visited Rome. Went to Sistine Chapel. It’s older than I expected. The Pope is old. Went to St. Peter’s. My first two rolls of films got ruined which was unbelievable! Rough break. Then went dancing. Had fun, ate, drank and made new friends. Hell lot of fun, they were! Must send them postcards when I’m back home.

Fitness Journal –

  1. Try one new workout every month.
  2. Stretch more. 
  3. Perfect your form. 
  4. Find a workout buddy.
  5. An activity once a week that helps you maintain calm. 
  6. Walk your commute to work.
  7. Remind yourself of your “why” (purpose/ ulterior motive) every day. 
  8. Drink more water.

Stay consistent and commit to the process.

Let us know about the differences in History of Diary and Journal –

Diary: Diary of Merer – A book which was used 4500 years ago to record all the activities which were done in a day. It was used as a notebook which is “diary” in today’s generation. This book was based in Egypt. It is considered as an ancient Egyptian book. The old form of diaries came from the Asian cultures of the East and Middle East. Arabic diaries were written before the 10th century in the near east of the Medieval age. Ibn Banna was the most resembling diary and also very modern. Earlier people used to include these things in their diaries – Mystics of medical (theories related to Christianity), inward emotions, outward emotions perceived. After the period of Renaissance some people didn’t just want to record their events. But they also believed to add their hopes and fears. The company named as Smythson in 1993 created the first featherweight diary. 


The journal was considered as the pioneer of publications at the interface between sciences related to Biology and Physics. The first edition of Journal is reviewed in physics very enthusiastically. 

Be it a diary or a journal, you can use these two to organise your thoughts and declutter your mind, thus. Writing the two, only encourages you to organise your life. Studies show that maintaining a diary gives you a sense of control over your thoughts and maintaining a journal improves a person’s mental capacity and memory, driving them to progression. It also gives you a notion of feeling balanced in life. According to the research by few scientists it is proved that when a person writes, it directly impacts the well-being emotionally and physically. So then, what are you waiting for?

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