All that wide open space of time opening up in front of you. The uncertainty of what's to come can be scary, exciting, nerve-wracking, overwhelming.
To help shape what's to come, new beginnings are a terrific time to set intentions. A new beginning can be anything: the start of a new day, week, or year. If you follow astrological or celestial calendars, you might set your intentions as the moon moves into a new zodiac sign or during a solar eclipse. You might also set your intentions as you set off on a new journey--a new job, a new home, a new relationship, or an actual trip.
Now while I've heard about intentions for years, I didn't really practice them myself--until I wrote a blog about setting intentions for the new year instead of making resolutions. In that blog, I suggested that a good way to get in touch with your intentions was by creating a vision board journal. And, you know what? I stand by that. It’s a great idea, if I do say so myself.
After I posted that blog, I was itching to update my own vision board journal. So, I dove in. And I loved it. I loved being crafty and having an excuse to stay home while the wind whistled and the snow blew. I also loved getting in touch with my intentions, by going into the project without any preconceived goals to craft my vision board around. Instead, following the advice of various bloggers, I looked for graphics that spoke to me.
Once I felt as though I had enough graphics, I started sorting them into categories before pasting them into my journal. The process revealed that my intentions are primarily to live in love and in joy, to fulfill the wanderlust part of my spirit, and to make the most of every minute with my dog, Archie. Oh, and lemons. Every freakin’ magazine--whether about fashion, food and drink, travel, or other random topics--had lemons in it, and those bright yellow citrusy things spoke to me. Lemons are clearly my destiny.
But this process made me wonder: now what? Now that I know I want to live in love and joy (with lemons), what do I need to do to make that happen? And also: since journaling was instrumental in helping me discover (some of) my intentions, how can to use my personal journals to further this path?
I’m still new to this whole intentions thing. For my other blog about them, I had to do a little research to try to figure out what intentions are, you know? Because some people seem use the word interchangeably with “goals” and that is not correct.
As I wrote:
Christie’s explanation helped me a lot. But as I poked around the interwebs, I found Chandresh Bhardwaj’s blog at mindbodygreen. Chandresh gives specific examples of intentions. And not just random examples either. Nope. Chandresh lists 10 intentions that he says can help you live your most authentic life:
I found having examples helpful even if some don’t feel right for me. Chandresh says that it’s perfectly okay to develop your own intentions, though, and he gives some valuable tips to do so. Namely:
For more tips about how to craft your intentions in a meaningful, positive way, check out Duanita’s great piece on “Writing Effective Affirmative Intentions."
One final thing: always come to your intentions through gratitude. As Jessica Hagy points out over at The/Thirty, without gratitude, your intentions will come from a place of scarcity. A piece at Mind Fuel Daily takes things one step further. Gratitude raises your vibration level, and it’s that energy that will reveal your manifested intentions.
You can absolutely set intentions through meditation alone. But, since I’m blogging for Sohospark -- and because I’m a writer at heart who loves a blank notebook -- of course I’m going to focus on how to use your writing journals here.
There are several benefits to getting your intentions down in a writing journal:
There are a few different ways that you can use a blank notebook to determine and craft your intentions. First--and I highly recommend this one because it’s fun and insightful--create a vision board in your journal. Go into this project without any preconceived thoughts about your intentions. Just collect graphics that appeal to you and then let those words and pictures reveal your intentions. Doing this project in a blank notebook instead of on a “board” has several benefits. If you're looking for tips and inspo on how to create a vision board journal, I have a blog for that!
Second, you could use guided prompts to explore your intentions in a writing journal. There is a great blog over at Lunarly that lists a number of helpful prompts. And, I found the three prompts that Molly Merson suggests at her personal blog to be pretty powerful:
Whatever form your intentions journal takes, why not choose a notebook that speaks to you? The cover of SohoSpark's Sunrise Journal perfectly captures the essence of new beginnings.
Now that you have your intentions crafted and perfected, are they set? Not really. Setting intentions requires a little more work than simply figuring out what they are. You need to give the universe a little push in order to move things along. In a great piece over at Psychology Today, Diana Raab lists a number of ways to infuse your intentions with the positive energy they need in order to manifest:
There you have it. You’re all set to rock your universe with your intentions. If you journal about your intentions--or have now been inspired to do so--I'd love to hear from you. Drop me a comment below.
Photo by Hannah Pap Roc on Reshot
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Of course you want more joy in your life. Who wouldn't?
Joy and gratitude are very much interconnected. In her book, The Gifts of Imperfection, Brené Brown notes: "Without exception, every person I interviewed who described living a joyful life or who described themselves as joyful, actively practiced gratitude and attributed their joyfulness to their gratitude practice."
Journaling can help develop and enhance your gratitude practice - and so too it can help develop and enhance your joy. Here are six tips to help you get started.
Bullet journals, in particular, are known for their splashy, artistic spreads, like those tagged as #bulletjournalspreads over at Instagram. One look at all the flowers, cartoon characters, and pastel colors, and some men might decide that, nah, bullet journaling is NOT for them. As one Redditor says, he was initially “blown away by all the girls with fancy tape and stuff.”
Here's the thing, though: journaling is what you want it to be.No one says you HAVE TO use “fancy tape” but no one says you CAN’T. Stop worrying about what your journal should look like and just start writing.