Journaling can help you better connect to yourself and manifest your dreams and goals. Through releasing your true thoughts, feelings, and emotions onto the page, you will be able to create real change in your life. We spoke to podcast host, blogger, and author of Let It Out: A Journey Through Journaling, Katie Dalebout, to learn how to get started.
Along my own journey through journaling, I’ve discovered crucial pointers to get the most out of your writing. Here are some tips and an exercise to get you started!
Tip 1: Get Curious
Approach journaling like a scavenger hunt that will lead you to your innermost feelings. The journey ahead is thrilling, but it’s new territory. Get curious about what you’ll find, but don’t rush.
Tip 2: Dance with Resistance
Resistance will arise while you’re journaling because you’ll start feeling emotions you don’t want to feel. We often numb those feelings with food, sex, drugs, TV etc. Leaning into discomfort is the only way to change.
Tip 3: Follow the Requirements
There are three main requirements to successfully let it out:
Requirement 1: Believe
Belief is crucial. Believe it will work for you, and it will. Believe it’s silly and won’t work for you, and it won’t.
Requirement 2: Be Patient
Patience is essential to healing. Stay grounded and apply patience to journaling. You may need to take it slow, repeat an exercise, or wait for the meaning to sink in after you write. Don’t rush it.
Requirement 3: Befriend Yourself
For many years, I didn’t allow myself to authentically express who I was, so I lost touch with my true self. To heal and come into my own, I had to get to know myself. I did this with my journal.
Through letting out my real thoughts onto the page, I could see the real me, not the watered-down chameleon I showed the world. A deep sense of self-awareness is one of the true keys to happiness and fulfillment. Always bring your real self to your journal.
Tip 4: Cultivate Awareness
Journaling gives you tools to shorten the time between coming out of the flow and going back into it — flow being the state where everything seems to be moving effortlessly.
Choosing different thoughts in unpleasant situations enables you to shift from out of the flow to back in more quickly. When you feel out of alignment, bring your attention to your feet (because they’re farthest from your brain), and notice the present moment. Awareness is a muscle — journaling strengthens it.
Tip 5: Be Radically Authentic and Honest
Make a commitment to be radically authentic and honest when journaling: dig up the secrets you’ve buried and hidden. If you’re lying to yourself or writing what you think you should be writing, stop, return to the present, and write what’s true for you.
Tip 6: Fake It Till You Make It
Kurt Vonnegut says in Mother Night: “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.” It works to fake it till you make it.
If journaling is new for you, going this deep might cause some strong reactions:
a) Wanting to stop or quit
b) Feeling like a fraud
c) Thinking you’re wasting your time
d) Turning off your new, heightened awareness and turning to familiar, comfortable habits to avoid the feeling.
Don’t stop. Journaling shows you what’s going on at a deeper level when you allow yourself to examine your feelings as they authentically flow out of you.
When you’re enjoying playing pretend as a writer — keep going. With time, the routine becomes ingrained, and before you know it, you’ll no longer be pretending.
TO GET STARTED
What you need:
- A journal
- An open mind
- Your curiosity
- A favorite writing instrument
Although not required, these are nice to have:
- A comfortable, quiet place
- A cup of tea
- A burning candle
- Calm, soft, inspiring music
There are 55 fresh journaling prompts in my book, but here’s one to get you started:
TOOL #1: THE MORNING DUMP
This tool is a mainstay in any journaler’s practice. It’s a game changer that you can return to again and again.
Think of the first step as emotional mouthwash — rinsing all the gook you woke up with out of your mind. Using it first thing in the morning is extra powerful — you have the most access to your subconscious when you first awaken. By dumping your thoughts, you’re skimming the icky scum off the surface so you can get to the clean water underneath.
Step 1: Dump it out. (No, not that kind of dump.) In the morning, right when you wake up, let out anything that’s on your mind. Flood the page with your thoughts, worries, ideas, and dreams. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t make sense. Simply make sure that everything you write is honest and authentic, regardless of quality.
Step 2: Connect to gratitude. With your new mental openness, write down five things you’re grateful for — the first things that come to mind. Connecting to gratitude right away is crucial. When you focus on the positive aspects of what you have, you create more of what you want.
Step 3: Declare your deepest desires. We often don’t allow ourselves to want what we want, since we fear that by declaring our dreams, the pressure’s on to make them happen. However, if you announce to the Universe what you really want, you’re placing an order for it to happen — effortlessly. Write down what you want to manifest today, in the present tense e.g. “I receive an unexpected, new source of income,” or “I enter a new loving relationship.” Just write down the thing that sounds the best to you this particular morning.
Step 4: Visualize. Sit and visualize what it would be like for your deepest desires to manifest into form for one minute. Get specific. Create images and stories of the life you dream of. For instance, if you manifest a loving, supportive relationship, how would you feel in it? When you visualize, you create a mental imprint. If you’ve been there in your mind, it’s easier to go there in your body.
Step 5: Completely let it go. Return to the present. Let go of the mental image of what you want to manifest. Write down in your journal this powerful releasing statement: “I let go, I allow, and I trust this is happening on my behalf today. Thank you, it is already done, and I am grateful in advance.” Your dreams won’t manifest if you’re clinging to them. When you let them go, you allow the Universe to conspire on your behalf to bring them into your life.
This exercise is powerful. When I was teaching it one day in a workshop, I used the simple example of manifesting $100 of unexpected income. Later that day exactly $100 of unexpected income deposited into my account. During my workshop someone had made a $100 donation to my podcast. That sort of thing might not happen every time, but I’ve seen this sort of thing happen time and again in my clients’ lives as well.
Keep in mind, too, that even if it seems nothing physically manifested that day, that doesn’t mean it didn’t start to. For instance, you could have briefly met someone who will become your partner; however, the relationship won’t begin until weeks later. Be open to things coming to you in perfect timing, which might not be when you think. Simply let go, allow, and enjoy your day, knowing you started it with a powerful practice.
Keep in touch with Katie (and be sure to check out her book!):