I think the key to a successful journal (or whatever you choose to name it) is finding just the right things to make your journaling experience feel right. For me (Libby here, by the way), It's got to be my black, not lined, Moleskine and either a black sharpie or a fine point black pen. It just doesn't feel right without it.
I started using one when I was a senior in college. It was perfect to jot down design ideas, assignments (which were actually easily lost among all the doodles) and events. Then once I graduated it was time for a new one. This one focused more on list making, daydreams and goals. I used it just as I was leaving my first real job and heading out on an adventure across the country and back. Now, I'm about to start my third and it's really exciting. Maybe it's because I've finally found a routine and voice in my journaling or because I have a feeling that this one is going to be filled with exciting new experiences; new jobs, new homes, new hobbies, new trends.
As for me (Laura here now), Libby actually started me on 'journaling.' Of course I have turned it into my own. I just need something where the paper is small enough to fit into my purse. I don't know about you, but I constantly have thought/ideas and before journaling, no where to write them except maybe an old receipt at the bottom of my purse. Unfortunately, a lot of ideas would be forgotten or lost. I now carry the compact pad of paper with me. A much easier way to remember those valuable ideas. But I must confess, I do use it for list making as well... needed groceries, needed items for a up coming trip and so on.