A journal is a fantastic way to work through your thoughts and feelings, gaining more clarity, and taking time for yourself every day. But a journal can be much more than that.
An intention journal goes beyond simply recording and reacting to your life. It can help you establish new goals, develop a more positive attitude, and start behaviors that help to turn your dreams into realities.
An intention journal is a powerful tool to build positivity and change your life, and it couldn’t be easier to make and use.
Today we are exploring how to make an intention journal that works to move you toward the life you imagine.
- What is an Intention Journal?
- How to Make an Intention Journal
- Alternate Ways to Use an Intention Journal
What is an Intention Journal?
To begin with, let’s clarify what an ‘intention’ is. Your intentions are the ideas that turn your beliefs into action. An intention is a statement that is larger and less specific than a ‘goal.’
Goals help you work toward your intentions (for example, an intention might be ‘to have better work-life balance,’ so the accompanying goal might be ‘only work late one night a week’). Intentions help you choose the goals, habits, and daily behaviors that move you in the right direction. Intentions turn your ideas into actions.
An intention journal is simply a tool that helps you record, reflect, and evaluate your intentions and behaviors.
It helps you remember the attitudes and actions that are most important for you, creating focus and clarity in your daily decisions.
How to Make an Intention Journal
Step 1: Get a Notebook
Get a notebook that is comfortable for you to write in. The kind of notebook doesn’t matter, and it doesn’t even have to be a pristine new notebook. However, since you’ll be using it at least twice a day, many people find it helpful to choose a special new notebook to start this new journey.
You may also want to choose a planner-style notebook if it helps you stay more organized. If you already use a daily journal or a planner or productivity notebook for your daily tasks, it’s best to incorporate your intentions into your existing system.
Step 2: Set Your Long-Term Intentions
Intentions should always be phrased positively and actively. Focus on what you want, rather than what you don’t have. Avoid negative words like ‘can’t’ or ‘but’ or ‘don’t.’
Start each one with ‘I will…’ to help focus your mind. You may set different intentions for the different areas of your life, with intentions for your career, family, home, health, finances, etc.
Your intentions should have an ‘open’ quality to them. Intentions should not be either/or true/false statements. This isn’t a to-do list, and you can’t ‘fail’ an intention.
For example, an intention like ‘I will love and nurture my family’ is an excellent intention. While you may find ways to improve your loving and nurturing behaviors, the open, positive phrasing of this intention helps affirm all your loving and nurturing behaviors without discouraging you or being critical of your shortcomings. More examples of good intentions are:
- I will commit to work/life balance
- I will practice self-care
- I will cultivate positive thoughts
- I will pursue work that I find meaningful
- I will enjoy my life to the fullest
- I will practice love and kindness
- I will take care of my body the way it deserves
- I will follow through on my commitments
- I will pay off my debts
Choose intentions that are positive and meaningful to you. If you feel unsure about your ability to accomplish an intention, choose words that you can feel more confident about.
For example, if you don’t feel confident about an intention like ‘I will travel the world,’ try ‘I will save money for travel’ or ‘I will work toward saving money for travel.’
Step 3: Set a Daily Intention
Every morning sit down with your journal and choose a daily intention that meshes with your long-term intentions. It’s best to choose only a single intention for the day so that you can stay focused on it.
For example, if you know you have a busy day ahead, try an intention like ‘I will remain calm and present today’ or ‘I will be focused and productive today.’
Note that you will set intentions every day of the week, including the weekends. Your weekend intentions might be different than your weekday ones, but weekends are still a time to cultivate this way of thinking and maintain the habit of daily journaling.
Do not use the same intention every day, or it will become meaningless. Try to consider what you want to focus on that specific day, and how it aligns with your long-term intentions.
Step 4: Work with Your Intention
Recall your daily intention often. This is one reason it may be useful to incorporate intention journaling into a day planner or bullet journal so that it is at the top of the page and you see it repeatedly throughout the day.
If you have a to-do list, make a special point of the tasks that align with your intention that day, and make sure you complete them.
Step 5: Reflect on Your Intention
At the end of the day, journal and reflect on how you did. Which actions and behaviors were compatible with your intention, and which ones weren’t?
Make sure to document and celebrate all your accomplishments every day.
Alternate Ways to Use an Intention Journal
Some people use intention journals in special ways that may be useful for you. Here are some ideas.
Subject Area Intentions
Some people set specific intentions for different areas of their lives, and separate their intention journal by subject area (or color-code, or some other system).
Some people not only set long-term and daily intentions but also choose monthly and weekly intentions as well.
Some people set intentions for specific events in their lives, like a vacation, conference, internship, etc.
Some people feel that it’s more effective to focus on a single intention at a time, while some enjoy setting multiple, compatible intentions for different areas, times, and events. Feel free to use your intention journal in a way that works best for you.
Finally, an intention journal is also a way to ‘put your dreams out there.’ Sometimes you have an intention but just aren’t sure how to move toward it in your present circumstances.
Many people find that simply having the intention and holding it in their minds helps to open new opportunities and ways to move toward your goals. Don’t be afraid to imagine the impossible.
Intention journaling is a powerful way to create greater clarity and focus toward what matters in your life, and then organize every day to take positive action in that direction.
It’s a tool that will help you build healthy habits in your body and mind, and help your biggest, wildest dreams come true. If you haven’t tried intention journaling, get started right away and make it happen.