We know you have a lot of creative thoughts and ideas whizzing around in that head of yours, but finding the time and energy to jot them all down is sometimes impossible. Usually all you’ve really got time for is making a to-do list, and even getting to the end of that list can be a challenge. Studies show that having a routine can lead to a more meaningful life, and journaling is an excellent routine that will unlock creativity. So how do you make this happy habit work in your busy life?

Moorea Seal found herself wondering just that. As the owner of a super cute online shop and Seattle retail store (and with nearly a million Pinterest followers!), her hands were full — but so was her brain. “Even though I am a big writer, I was never much of a journaler. I have so much to say; how am I going to spend an hour every single night writing pages and pages of all my thoughts? I needed something more efficient, something that was going to help me get to the point.”

Moorea, a self-confessed lover of lists, came up with the concept of The 52 Lists Project to provide weekly questions that prompt you to write down your thoughts and discover your passions. You can now grab a copy of the gorgeous journal ($17) and let the simple weekly prompts guide you through the ups and downs of each season. We chatted with Moorea about some of the benefits of journaling in list form.

Journaling is empowering.

For Moorea, coming up with the weekly list prompts for The 52 Lists Project was about the universality of emotions. “I know that so many women are similar to me — they have aspirations and dreams, but something is holding them back, and they make excuses that stop them from really achieving what they want, or loving themselves as much as they could.” Whether you’re thinking about starting a business or you’re navigating your new identity as a mom (or both!), journaling gives you an outlet to tap into what drives you.

Making lists cuts to the chase.

Have you ever ranted and raved about a problem at work but never found a solution? Verbosity has its place, but it’s not always useful when it comes to personal growth. Sticking to the topic at hand and looking for key words in your lists can help you focus your thoughts and feelings. “The design of The 52 Lists Project is approachable,” says Moorea, “because it allows you to focus on what really speaks to you, whether that’s pages and pages of words, or just a short list. What do I really want? What do I need? What do I crave? And how is that missing in my life?

You dive deep, but not too fast.

Writing down your thoughts in these weekly bite-sized pieces gives you the opportunity to figure out who you are and what you want without getting overwhelmed. So rather than approaching it from a “what DO you want in life?” angle (cue anxiety!), Moorea’s deceivingly simple prompts dive deep without you even realizing it (List the ways you get energized; list the things that make you excited). Easy, right? And the more you think about those questions, the more you realize the answers aren’t really coffee and that new season of Orange Is the New Black. Self-discovery is a process, so take it slow and see what you learn about yourself.

Failure is not an option.

If you’ve made New Year’s resolutions before, you’ve probably broken them too. And there is nothing fun about letting yourself down. But there are three questions at this end of this book that force you to reflect on your goals with a positive mind: List your accomplishments. List the things you want to be known for. List the most memorable moments of the year. “At the end of the year, I want each person to feel like they can figure out what it is that motivates them and feel really proud of what they’ve done,” Moorea tells us. “When you flip through the finished journal, maybe you see your emotional growth, maybe it’s your more tactile accomplishments. Or maybe you’re just proud of yourself for making an effort.”

Journaling doesn’t have to be private.

Okay, when it’s your teenage diary, you have to say “MOM, STAY OUT OF MY STUFF!” But now that you’re all grown up, you don’t have to hide all of your thoughts anymore. Staying true to the blogging roots of The 52 Lists Project, Moorea is creating an Instagram community of people filling out their journals so they can share their recent lists, engage with fellow journalers and encourage each other’s weekly introspection.

Be sure to snag your copy of The 52 Lists Project and get inspired!

Do you keep a journal? What does it help you discover about yourself? Share your personal experience in the comments!

(Photos via MooreaSeal.com)