These articles are perfect for coaches, counselors, therapists, and a variety of other wellness entrepreneurs.
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 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.