How To Use Intentional Journaling To Change Your Life
Intentional Journaling Is the Best Journaling Method To Achieve Your Dreams
When I was in the process of creating a tool to help women create their ideal life while journaling and planning daily, I did a LOT of research. I looked at mindfulness exercises, the best methods to achieve dreams and successful habit-making techniques. I looked at the fundamentals of what one has to do to feel joyful, mindful and balanced in such a busy world where our attention and efforts are constantly drawn away from our wants and needs.
Through this research, I was able to create a holistic self-care journal infused with features that allow women to achieve their daily journaling/planning while also working on prioritizing themselves, identifying and reaching dreams, elevating personal growth journeys and slowing down to be more present and savor life.
Why did I abandon my job as a corporate tax director to create a journal? Surely, there are already self-care journals, but I wanted to create a tool with everything that helped me create my ideal life. I wanted to share this with women going through hard times, unable to participate in self-care or who just want to focus on their dreams with ease.
Why Switch To Intentional Journaling?
When was the last time you prioritized yourself? Do you know what your dreams are, or are you so stuck in routine that you’ve stopped trying to achieve anything beyond what you have? Do you feel like life is flying by and milestones are a blur? It can be so easy to just be a bystander in life, instead of a participant because of our responsibilities and obligations.
Taking something you do every day, like journaling, and curating it to allow you to meet your own internal needs for full well-being is a great way to improve life without taking up an unrealistic amount of time or making a big commitment.
Five minutes, every day, to feel more joy and fulfillment while connecting with other women on their own Journal Journeys. That’s what the JMB Living Journal and intentional journaling can do for you.
What’s the Difference Between Journaling and Intentional Journaling?
The basic definition of journaling, according to Merriam-Webster, is “a record of experiences, ideas, or reflections kept regularly for private use,” and has a connotation of just writing about your day.
Intentional journaling is more than just choosing a new prompt to respond to in your daily journaling. With the JMB Living Journal, I have come to expand intentional journaling with a specific and informed structure into something that gradually impacts your life and mindset.
With intentional journaling, you have a specific focus that you utilize as you navigate your way through each day, week, season and so on. When you set an intention that is aligned with your current lifestyle, your journaling will provide additional support and can achieve more impactful insights to use in your growth journey.
Intentional journaling includes all of the aspects and functionality of normal journaling, but it also fosters a higher awareness about how you engage with life. That insight can inform your future behavior and actions to get you on a path to your dreams, while also supporting the ease with which you move from day-to-day.
Is Intentional Journaling Still Therapeutic?
Every form of journaling is therapeutic as you write down your observations and experiences each day with introspection. Intentional journaling can be even more therapeutic based on the direction or focus you have each day.
If one week, you choose to focus on healing with intentional journaling, your journal might reflect how your daily interactions and routines shifted with the awareness you employed to recognize patterns, dynamics and conversations and how they’re related to what you’re seeking to heal from.
After a week—or longer, depending on what you’re healing from—your next week of intentional journaling might be led by growth. Now that you’ve recognized patterns and triggers, how can you use this information to impact your reactions and the way you navigate situations to better yourself and your relationship with others?
These are just a couple examples of how you can curate your intentional journaling journey to achieve your goals on the path to your ideal life. With each focus or intention you create, the features of intentional journaling that you utilize will support your daily life, while also contributing to the bigger picture you envision for yourself. Intentional journaling isn’t just a singular focus on your intention for a short period of time, but about aligning your life with the practice of journaling as a tool.
5 Keystones of Intentional Journaling
1. Discover your dreams
What goals have you had lying in wait while you attend to maintaining your lifestyle and responsibilities? Are there dreams that you haven’t even discovered yet? What is missing from feeling completely fulfilled and overjoyed at the thought of your life? The dreams that serve as a guide for intentional journaling go beyond a dream vacation, dream house, dream significant other—although those are valid and included; but think bigger.
What does the highest version of yourself look like, and what will it take to transform into that person? With what disposition do you go through life, and is it enough? How do you want your relationships to be? Are you content with your wellness—mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually? Take stock of all the moving parts of your life and your being, and dream! How can they be all you could ever dream of?
Most of the time, you might find that it has nothing to do with material things. What is in the space between where you are now and your ideal self? The in-between is filled with dreams.
2. Create dream steps
Creating your dreams is not impossible, and it shouldn’t feel daunting with the right approach. Take your dreams and categorize them. These categories might be relationships, growth, health, fun, home—there is no constraint on how you can define them. Then, deconstruct what it would take to reach those dreams. Is it developing and mastering a new habit, adopting a mindset shift or even breaking an old habit? Perhaps it’s working to heal relationships or go out and research a spirituality that resonates with you.
Turn your dreams into action items. Assign a dream to an appropriate period of time (habits take at least 30 days to make or break, and vision boards can represent a month, a quarter, a year or longer!). Then take action throughout that period with the deconstructed dream steps you have created. This is reflected in your intentional journaling through an exploration of what's working and what's not, through reflection on what you did, how it worked and what you need to change and by writing down your intentions and dream focus throughout that period. Your journal is a supportive guide and tool, not just lined paper.
3. Recognize growth opportunities
What mindset will support your dream journey the most? The JMB Living Journal includes prompts and reminders throughout each week to help you stay focused on your intentions and to foster a gradual mindset shift. The mind is the first place to start in creating alignment, and being in alignment can accelerate your dream progress.
Intentional journaling is a great growth tool, because as you journal and recognize patterns or areas for improvement, you can take note and integrate action into the coming weeks through journal prompts and specific reflection.
4. Use tools
One of the biggest things I learned when creating the JMB Living Journal is that a prompt and lines to write on is not enough to create a journal that creates impactful and lasting change.
Your journal journey is supported with tools that help you create the beliefs and positive thinking needed to realize your dreams while thriving on the journey to them. This includes habit trackers, vision boards, affirmations, and so much more. Later in this blog, you can see the full break-down on how to utilize these tools to add ease, insight and additional success to your journey.
5. Be consistent
Habits, mindset shifts and life path changes take time. However, the more consistent you are, and the more intentional you are each day, the more you will find ease and joy along your journey. The specific tools and prompts included in the JMB Living Journal encourage consistency while also facilitating a mindset shift that eventually becomes ingrained in the user’s perspective. A mindset of gratitude and abundance become the norm.
What Makes the JMB Living Journal the Ultimate Intentional Journaling Tool?
The JMB Living Journal was curated to help women shift their mindset to increase attention and find daily joy while working towards creating their dreams—and that requires more than just working to achieve goals. Creating your dreams and embodying your ideal self requires change, growth, support and awareness. That’s why the JMB Living Journal has such a wide balance of tools, exercises and prompts to help synthesize everything you need for your journal journey. Not only is it convenient because it’s all consolidated in one physical journal, but the process itself is easy because of how intentionally it’s been curated. Not to say that your journey won’t be without difficulty or growing pains, but the JMB Living Journal is a supportive tool to contribute as much ease and guidance as possible along the way.
Focus on dream steps
The dream step sections in the JMB Living Journal are realistic ways that let you identify your dreams, categorize them, and break them down into action items that you can implement throughout each day for both annual and seasonal dreams. Having a reminder and intentional focus on your dreams as you journal and plan creates a subconscious effort to bring you closer to them.
When making your intentions and identifying your dreams, one of the first steps is envisioning. When you picture your ideal future for any period of time, you are making a critical effort in creating your dreams, and putting it on paper with a physical representation is a powerful tool. Not to mention, with your vision board being at the front of your journal, you can quickly remind yourself daily of what your dream looks like and your attention refocuses on the path to get there. This two-page spread is a space to dream, grow and create.
Any growth journey or lifestyle shift can be enhanced by tracking your habit-making/breaking progress. It is also can be useful to explore your sleep and productivity schedules (or how the two might correlate). Just being intentional about daily practices or observations will help you find insights on where and how you can improve. Sometimes it just takes a tiny shift, but without paying attention to what is currently happening on a regular basis, you are unaware of where and how you need to make a change.
These trackers are yours to customize: create your own key that explains what you’re tracking and what metrics you’re using, use one tracker per month or track three different things at once. It’s all about creating your own path on your journal journey by doing what’s best for you.
Gratitude & abundance focus
Both gratitude and abundance mindsets are deeply beneficial and widely underutilized. Employing a gratitude mindset each day helps you more easily feel happiness and fulfillment by recognizing what you have and being thankful for it. Suddenly, you’ll realize your intent on cultivating a gratitude mindset has expanded your mind to instantly see more beauty and joy in your life every day. When you adopt an abundance mindset, abundance is more present and ever-growing in your life. All it takes is identifying what is abundant in your life—friendship, time, peace, sleep, health, money, opportunity—and it comes back to you even greater.
Affirmations have limitless applications and benefits. Picking an affirmation for each day or each week is a great tool and exercise to provide extra support and confidence when approaching challenges or focusing on an intention. Sometimes, they’re just a great reminder that you’re beautiful, deserving and on the right path.
Emphasis on self-care
How often does your self-care extend beyond the physical—a quick face mask, bubble bath or nail treatment? And how often do you do it? Sometimes, self-care isn’t luxurious or easy. Sometimes, it’s reorganizing a cluttered space that has been causing you unnecessary stress, doing laundry or adding activity to your routine. On your growth journey to live your dream life, you need to ensure your own cup is full and that you are taking care of yourself, as well. The self-care prompts, reminders and tips in the JMB Living Journal ensure that it’s just as important as your actual dream steps.