As a kid, I decided to start writing in a journal daily. I got a cute little diary with a lock on it (having a lock on your diary was the cool thing to do) and started writing. I mostly started my journal entries with something along the lines of “Dear Diary,” and followed with some sort of childish complaint about my amazing life. My journaling habit didn’t last long, because I wasn’t really getting anything positive out of it. I just wanted to be like the awesome characters in the books I read, because lots of them had diaries. I never wrote neatly enough or drew perfectly enough to be satisfied with my journals, so I gave up the habit until pretty recently.
A few months ago, I started writing in a journal again. I found a prompt on Pinterest, answered the prompt, and then drew a quote that spoke to my soul. This practice didn’t last long, either, but mainly because I found a better way to journal. I’ve mentioned before that most of my journaling involves stream-of-consciousness writing, and I basically dump all of my thoughts down on the page to free up my brain. I think many people journal in a similar way. However, I’ve expanded my practice a bit to challenge myself and to ingrain positive thoughts into my mind. Here’s what I do now:
First, I think of some mantras I want to start my every day with. My main ones right now include “I am enough,” “I am strong,” and “I belong.” There are others that I add or remove depending on the day, but I try to stick with at least a few consistently.
Next, I take my pen into my left hand (I’m right-handed, so it’s my non-dominant hand) and start writing these mantras down backwards and from right to left on the page, so that someone could read on a mirror. This is challenging, but it wakes my brain up first thing in the morning and I get a pretty nice sense of accomplishment once I’m done with it.
After I write all of my mantras down Leonardo DaVinci style (fun fact: he used to do that same kind of writing to stimulate his artistry), I set a few goals for the day. Sometimes, they are simple and easy (“Do something for myself today”) and sometimes they are more difficult (“Be open with my emotions today”). I try to choose three goals that will make my day feel successful if I accomplish them. They’re intended to bring me joy.
Once all this is done, that’s when I start my brain-dump style journaling, where I write whatever comes to mind until three pages are full, but I think the beginning of my process is really where I set my intentions and purpose for the day, and it makes all the difference.
What are some ways you set intentions for yourself each day? What makes you feel energized and successful right from the beginning?
Still need a journal? Here are my favorites:
- This flowery beauty from Target that’s eco-friendly
- This fleur-de-lis covered book from Amazon that is super cheap
- The classic Moleskine notebook that everyone loves
- This bold statement journal to remind you to be awesome