A lot of people think that a diary is the same as a journal. While they are both books used to record thoughts and ideas, there are some key differences between the two. A diary is a book used to record personal events as they occur, while a journal is more often used to explore thoughts and ideas. Journaling is a daily activity, but you can write in a journal whenever you want to write about meaningful experiences.
Journals are ideal for jotting down notes on trips, ideas, thoughts, dreams, goals, etc. A diary, on the other hand, could be used to chart a general direction, perhaps partly based on reflection on journal entries, of where one sees life going in order to determine if it is necessary to change course or if it is necessary to navigate ahead. The main difference between journal and diary is that a diary is a personal record in which you can write down your thoughts, observations and experiences, while a journal is a book in which you write down important things to keep track of them. Journals also lend themselves well to lists, a wish list, a gratitude list, anything you want to write down.
The terms journal and diary are often used interchangeably, but according to some estimates, there are differences that could make one more suitable than the other for you. For many people, one of the most surprising things about a new practice of journaling is the residual feelings of relief and calm that come not only from taking thoughts out of the mind and placing them on a screen or paper, but from seeing those thoughts as real, tangible things that one can sit with. In short, journals and diaries are both books used to record thoughts and ideas. However, journals are often used for creative purposes and are ideal for jotting down notes on trips, ideas, thoughts, dreams, goals, etc., while diaries are usually used to chart a general direction or record personal events as they occur.