JOURNALING 101: HOW TO START MANIFESTING
by Elena Schmidt
I don’t know if scientists have studied the most statistically effective journaling methods, and quite frankly I don’t care. When it comes to journaling, what matters is experience and the willingness to be brutally honest with yourself. Journaling to manifest is a process of self-discovery and because no two humans are the same, no single template will work for everyone.
So let me begin with a disclaimer: This article offers advice based on how I used journaling to manifest any entirely new life this past year. Take from it what appeals to you and edit the rest to fit your life. But I beg you, please do not expect miracles.
Let’s be real, writing something down doesn’t automatically make it so. If that were the case, I would be rolling down a mountain of 1,000-dollar bills into a gold-encrusted infinity pool. But I believe journaling does pave the way to manifest the desires that make you feel the most alive. Those desires may not be as glamorous as a private jet, but fulfilling them can be invaluable to your mental health. The tricky part is knowing where to begin.
START HERE IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU WANT:
When I started journaling about 5 years ago, I was working at an unfulfilling job in a toxic relationship and totally confused about what I wanted. I never considered the idea of manifesting through journaling, nor did I believe in its value. I simply wanted an outlet to unleash my insane thoughts onto. So I wrote, hoping to get struck in the head with the answers to life’s woes.
I kept writing these questions in my journal and answering them the best I could. So if you’re lost, I suggest you do the same.
Who am I?
What do I want?
Why do I feel so dissatisfied with life?
Do I need to quit my job to be happy or do I need to change my outlook instead?
Can I find a way to mend this relationship, or does it need to end?
What are the activities, people and places that make me feel like the best version of myself?
Am I doing enough of those things?
How can I do them more?
Those are the questions I started with and continued asking myself for several years. Until one day, life became so unbearable that I threw aside every doubt and finally admitted what I wanted. I wanted out. Out of my career path and out of my habitually poor relationship choices. Despite not knowing what would come next, the simple act of deciding felt like liberation. I wrote it all down, and started on a path to manifesting.
START HERE IF YOU KNOW WHAT YOU WANT, BUT YOU’RE NOT SURE HOW TO GET THERE:
1. Set aside time to start manifesting. Choose a time of day where you'll have no interruptions and pick a place that you feel most comfortable. Unfortunately, you may not be able to sit at your favorite coffeehouse or public park right now, but you can choose a favorite corner of the house. Then put the phone away, turn the TV off, light a few candles, and zone in on the blank pages before you. Write every goal you want to manifest as clearly and in as few words as possible. Then, try to answer prompts 2, 3 and 4 below-all in one sitting. Let this be a free flowing creative process, without letting thoughts distract or deter you.
2. Write down all the fears that are holding you back. For every dream, you can probably list at least 10 dream killers. Don’t hide from them. Write them down. Ask yourself. What am I afraid of? Why could go wrong? What has held me back from pursuing these desires?
3. Ask why. You searched your soul to uncover your true desires. Now it’s time to make sure you’re clear on why you want to manifest that dream job, promotion, relationship, body, or house. Write down why these goals matter to you and make sure that the reasons ignite so much enthusiasm that your heart races a little and you can’t tell if the feeling is fear or excitement.
4. Ask what you can do now: Now it’s time to break up those big lofty goals into bite size pieces. Ask yourself, what do I want to focus on first? Then, what can I do this day, this week, or this month to take me one small step closer?
5. Create a journal template: Now that you’re clear on what you want, it’s time to use your journal to be accountable. From my experience, the best way to do this is to create a template of daily prompts, so you never have to think about what to write. Once you decide, try to stay consistent for at least a month before changing it up. Below is the template I used every day for an entire year.
"Dream Reflection” – Here I analyzed my dreams and nightmares to draw insights from my psyche. This may seem a little off topic, but it helped me know myself better.
“Weekly Goals” – Here I wrote down the tasks that I could feasibly accomplish in a week, which would bring me closer to the desires I wanted to manifest.
“Gratitude” – Here I wrote 1-3 sentences related to something I felt grateful for in that moment. This was such an important part of journaling, because it forced me to write something positive whether I was in a good mood or not.
Write and repeat EVERY DAY. Developing daily habits is hard, but I believe there is freedom in what we can accomplish from discipline and repetition. Writing something down once is a good start but it’s not enough. You have to write every day, especially in the beginning. This will allow you to keep reminding yourself of who you are and what you want, as you track the progress you make along the way.
Re-read often. Take time to re-read your journal regularly and take a moment to congratulate yourself for every small win along the way. Remember where you started and take inventory of the progress.
And you WILL make progress. From my experience, once you write a desire down you begin to manifest it by making it real. The desire is no longer a secret thought you can easily dismiss. In your journal, the goal exists in front of your eyes. And whether you know it consciously or not, that affects the decisions you make and the actions you take every day. That is the power of journaling and the reason I now teach yoga, write from home, ditched the losers, and continue manifesting through consistent journal practice. So what are you waiting for?
Now that you’re ready to start, check out a few strategies I’ve learned through trial and error to stay consistent and focused.
Start with goals you can feasibly achieve in 1-2 years. This will make it easier to break down the big goals into smaller, weekly steps.
Don’t get attached to your desires. Let yourself change your mind or amend your goals if it feels right.
But don’t give up on a goal that matters and tell yourself it’s because you “changed your mind.” Changing your mind is fine, but giving up isn’t. So make sure you’re honest about why you’re shifting direction before you do so.
Keep track of your days. One of the best tactics I used to develop a daily journaling habit was writing the date and number of days at the beginning of every entry. Every day you put pen to paper you’ve accomplished something and seeing the number helps you congratulate yourself. As of April 14th 2020, I’ve written 851 entries and I have to say that feels pretty good.
Keep your content focused: It can be tempting to start using your journal for grocery lists and daily reminders. But please, please don’t turn your journal into a planner. Use it to guide you to your soul, not to the supermarket.
And on that note. Happy journaling.
Cover Photo by Heathline.