Q. I have a pile of beautiful journals that have been given to me as gifts. They are stacked on my bookshelf, unused. I know if I could write down what’s on my mind each night before bed I would sleep better. But each time I try to start, I make it through a few entries before I give up. Help!

A. What’s most important is to set realistic expectations and make it easy to get started. For example, if your goal is to write each night before sleeping, keep a journal and pen on your night stand or in a dresser drawer. Or if your aim is to write when you travel, get a notebook that fits easily in your carry-on or purse. Don’t expect too much at first; the key is to write on schedule so you get into the habit, even if you’re jotting down “I don’t know what to write in this journal” for the first few days. Finally, just like when starting an exercise routine or diet, don’t give up if you miss a day or fall off the writing wagon. Just open the journal and start from where you left off. A month or two after you begin read back what you’ve written. Most likely be surprised with the insights and how often you actually wrote.