Here we’ll talk about the benefits of journaling, offer some prompts to get you started, and provide ideas to journal your way to your dreams.
Are you looking for a guide to help you start a practical, fun, and useful journal? Then why not start with a manifestation journal? A manifestation journal is a place where you write down your thoughts, dreams, goals, plans, or other things you want to manifest. It can help you gain clarity about your life goals and what you need to do to get there.
To start journaling for manifestation, all you need is a notebook or journal and a general goal (no specifics needed at this point). We’ll walk you through the steps to get your manifestation journal going.
Step 1: Freewrite
Starting a journal with freewriting can be really helpful—we just let whatever comes to our heads flow onto the page. It can help you overcome the inertia of the blank page. If you’re note sure what to write about, it may be helpful to clear out any thoughts or emotions that are distracting you. Consider sharing emotions and disclosing private things that you haven’t told anyone (don;t worry, no one gets to read this). Research suggests that sharing these deep feelings may help release them (Pennebaker, 1997). With that gunk out of the way, it may be easier to open up space for your goals and dreams.
Step 2: Set SMART Goals
Although science is skeptical of “Law of Attraction” approaches to manifestation, research supports the idea that setting fairly ambitious goals may help us achieve more. To start, we can use a manifestation journal to get clearer on what goals to set. One method for doing this involves the SMART system (Lawlor, 2012). Check out the ‘SMART’ system below and use it to guide you as you write about your goals.
- S – Specific
- M – Meaningful
- A – Achievable
- R – Realistic
- T – Trackable
Step 3: Find Meaning
Once you have your goals clear, you might want to spend a little more time thinking about the meaning behind your goals. To start, answer these questions in your journal:
- Why is this goal meaningful to you?
- What will achieving this goal give you?
- How will you feel once you’ve achieved this goal? Will those feelings last?
- Will achieving this goal help you achieve other important goals?
Try to reflect on why your goals are truly meaningful to you. It’s the truly meaningful goals that we are more likely to stick to.
Step 4: Believe in Yourself
A negative mindset or the failure to believe in ourselves can often block us from achieving the things we want in life. By believing in ourselves, our capabilities, and our future, we give ourselves a better chance to succeed.
In your journal, try to work on developing a growth mindset—or the belief that your most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work (Dweck, 2015). When we develop a growth mindset, we put in more effort to improve our skills because we believe those efforts are worthwhile.
To build a growth mindset, write in your manifestation journal about times when you did learn new things or build new skills. Write about how it went, the challenges you overcame, and how you eventually learned the new thing. Reminding yourself of what you did in the past can help you gain confidence in your ability to do it again in the future.
Step 5: Map Your Path Forward
Here are some more questions to ponder in your journal to help you find your path forward:
- What are your short-term goals?
- What are your long-term goals?
- How will these short-term goals help you reach your long-term goals?
- What good habits would you like to build in the next 5 years?
- How can you set goals that support the person you are becoming, not the person you used to be?
- What would you like to have accomplished by the end of your life?
- How do you imagine the last years of your life?
- What can you do now to make sure you get to where you want to go?
In addition to reflecting on goals, you might find that you want to write about yourself to gain more clarity about what you really want, what you need, and what will really make you happy. Here are some prompts that may help you gain more clarity:
- I am happiest when I…
- The positive changes I want to make in the world are…
- I am successful at reaching goals when I…
- I struggle with my goals when I…
- I can overcome challenges by…
- I believe in myself because I…
- If I feel I am losing faith in my own abilities I will…
- If I’m feeling stressed on my journey I will…
- When I need a friend, I will reach out to…
These questions and prompts can hopefully help you gain clarity on goals, dreams, and what you want to manifest in your life.
- Lawlor, K. B. (2012). Smart goals: How the application of smart goals can contribute to achievement of student learning outcomes. In Developments in business simulation and experiential learning: Proceedings of the annual ABSEL conference (Vol. 39).
- Pennebaker, J. W. (1997). Writing about emotional experiences as a therapeutic process. Psychological science, 8(3), 162-166.