You've probably heard by now—journaling is an amazing way to declutter your mind, get crystal clear on your desires, and recognize the obstacles getting in your way. Journaling has the power to help you stay laser-focused on your dreams, notice when you get in your own way (e.g., experience mindset roadblocks), and just be more aware of what makes you happy and what doesn't.
Because it raises awareness, it also is an excellent tool to manifest your dreams. The three main keys to manifesting are:
- Asking for what you want.
- Allowing it into your life.
- Being grateful for the abundance you receive.
And journaling can help you on all three counts. In other words, it's a pretty powerful exercise.
If you've tried journaling in the past but had trouble getting inspired when faced with the dreaded blank page, welcome to the club. The grandmother of journaling, Julia Cameron, always advocated for spilling whatever you had onto the page without judgment, it's simply a place to see what's going on inside your head. In fact, the No. 1 question I get asked whenever I'm speaking to someone new to journaling is "What do you write about? I never know what to say!"
So here is a handful of journaling ideas you can use. You can do them in any combination, whether you do one per day and rotate throughout the week or do them all on a Sunday or just pick the ones that are resonating for you when you feel moved to write. Essentially, there's no wrong way to journal—the most important thing is putting pen to paper.
1. Write out your goals.
Amazing things happen when you write out your goals across all categories of your life: for your business, your relationships, your finances, or even bucket list items!
Seeing them on paper makes them more tangible. Writing it down day after day gives you a sort of "filter" through which you can make your daily decisions. For example, if your goal is to have $1,000 in your savings account in three months, then you'll weigh your purchases more carefully when you're constantly reminding yourself of the goal.
2. Imagine your dream life by making a "Be/Do/Have" list.
This one is different from goals in that it has no hard and fast deadline (and yes, goals should always have deadlines!). The Be/Do/Have list is getting clear on what you want your life to look like. Who will you be, what do you want to do, and what do you want to have?
You can go longer term for this one—think at least a year in the future but more than that if it resonates. That's plenty of time to completely change your life, so don't be afraid to let your imagination run wild and get detailed. Imagine where you live, what you eat for breakfast in the morning, what your clothes look like, what you do in your spare time. What would you like to have accomplished? Where would you live? Who are you with? What do you do every day? How often do you travel?
It's your dream life—go big!
3. Set daily (or weekly, or monthly) intentions.
Intentions set the stage for everything we do. And when we don't set our own intentions, we get caught up and swept away by those who are intentional. If you don't start writing the pages of your life, someone else certainly will.
Intention is just as important as the actions (if not more), so set an intention for how you want your day to play out. It can be as simple as one word, or a mantra, or even a visualization. How do you want to be, how you want to feel, and what you want to offer the world? It could look something like this:
"Today, I intend to be loving, inspiring, and compassionate for those around me. I intend to feel ease." Maybe you remember that one word, ease, as you go about your day.
4. Ask, "Who or what do I need to forgive today?"
Forgiveness is the secret sauce to a happy life. I know that sounds like a big claim, but holding on to a grudge either against yourself or someone else is completely derailing your manifesting efforts. It's negative energy, and all the abundance you want can't make its way to you if you're holding on to negativity.
You might be thinking of someone you just can't bear to forgive. That's a good start.
Forgiveness is not condoning bad behavior or letting them get away with anything. You are making the decision to release their energy and any control it has over your life.
Interestingly enough, sometimes the person you'll need to forgive the most is you. Sometimes it'll be someone who wronged you. Sometimes it might be someone you've never met (like a celebrity or a politician), it might be an institution, it might even be a TV show. You can forgive anything or anyone that makes you feel a grudge.
My favorite way is to write down what I want to forgive and then say out loud, "Thank you, I'm sorry, I love you, and I forgive you." You can even cross out the name once you've sat with it for a few minutes or write more about how this makes you feel and why.
5. What do I love most about myself today?
Your ability to create the life you want is totally dependent on your ability to love yourself for who you are right now. But the sad fact is, most of us don't. And hey, I'm a work in progress just like anyone else.
So write down one to three things that you really love about yourself today. It could be a physical feature, it could be a personality trait, it could be something you accomplished, it could be pride about a fear that you faced and overcame...anything.
6. Practice affirmations, especially if you hate 'em.
I have a confession. I used to hate saying affirmations. It felt so fake, and all it did was remind me of how untrue they were at the moment. If you're having the same problem, here's a trick to making affirmations work for you (because if you hate them, you probably need them):
Add "I choose to believe," or "I'm in the process of" in front of your statement. Basically, that tells the negative critic in your head to pipe down because it makes the statement more believable.
For example, instead of saying, "I'm beautiful and I'm at a healthy weight," you might say "I choose to believe I'm beautiful, and I'm in the process of being at a healthy weight." See how it feels.
7. Make a list of what you're grateful for.
Last but far from least is being totally thankful for all the abundance you already have in your life. It's showing your higher power that you're ready for more of that (whether it's love, health, money, or another form of abundance).
When you show gratitude for everything you already have, you're going to feel happier. Being positive and high-vibe is a key ingredient to manifesting! So look around you—who and what are you happy to have in your life?
It can be anything from your spouse and kids to the air you breathe to the new gadget you splurged on that makes your day so much easier. Whatever is making you even the teensiest bit happy, be grateful for it. You can even be grateful for less-than-desirable experiences because they're helping you to expand as a person.
These are certainly not the only things you can write about, and you can absolutely come up with your own journaling ideas. The idea is to just get started, and don't worry about whether you're doing a good job or not. If you can't do it in the morning, do it at night. If you can't do it in the perfect environment, do it in an imperfect environment. If you don't have a pretty notebook to use, grab a piece of paper or use a Google doc or the notes app on your phone.
The most important thing is to just get started writing. Your dream life awaits!