This past year, I’ve gotten really serious about shifting my mindset and embracing its power to create my reality. Even if you don’t believe in the “woo woo” side of the law of attraction and manifestation, the effect of consistent positive self-talk and inspiring imagery on one’s psyche is undeniable. It puts you in a state of mind that is clear, motivated, and creative. Having a vision for your dream life helps you break it down into actionable goals that will keep you moving forward in the direction you want to go and literally help you design your life.
The small decisions you make on a daily basis are what create that new reality. I know just how discouraging it can be when that dream feels very, very far away. I’m in the thick of it now, slowly building the foundation and pushing toward certain goals, and some days are harder than others.
To stay in a motivated state as often as possible, it’s important to keep things in front of you that remind you of your desires in a strong, visceral way. It’s not enough to just have them in your head. Bringing them into your tangible reality makes your vision THAT much more powerful and effective.
“Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny.” – Ghandi
Negative stuff is always going to be coming at you in the form of images and words, both from inside and outside. The only way to combat them is to consistently feed yourself the opposite. (And I also highly recommend incorporating gratitude into your daily life. It’s a simple, powerful thing that reminds me of the wonderful things I have in my life already while I’m working towards my goals. It can be very easy to get so wrapped up in where you want to go that the impatience has you missing out on the great things happening to you now. Use your vision board to keep you moving forward in the right direction while you enjoy the journey along the way.)
I’ve got a few vision boards to keep my inspiration in front of me. I’ve found that since creating them, I’ve remained more motivated and most importantly, more focused on what I want to accomplish. When I’m making my to-do list for the month, week, or day, I look at my vision boards to keep me on track of where I want to go so I can make clear, informed decisions.
One of my favorites is a journal I put together with a collection of vision boards that I can add to whenever I want.
Some people do this in their agenda, but since I don’t use a physical planner (I’ve tried but found that digital calendars and to-do lists work better for me personally), I got a small 6-ring A5 agenda from Amazon and filled it with blank pages and inserts to use strictly for inspiration, mantras, vision boarding, and journaling. I love the size because it easily fits in most of my bags and I love the clear cover because if I ever want to change the look up, I can just change the first page. I also have a vision board on my wall, as well as one as my desktop wallpaper and iPhone wallpaper. I’ve found that when I’m not keeping these things in front of me on a daily basis, my focus tends to wane. The journal is another way for me to further cement my vision and dreams as reality and stay aligned with how I want to feel and what I want to accomplish.
I thought I’d share it with you and show you how I put it together in case the idea speaks to you, too.
When you’re gathering inspiration and putting together your journal, make a thing of it. Play your favorite music. Light a candle. Drink some lemon water, hot cocoa, your favorite iced coffee, some wine or champagne – whatever your beverage of choice is. Put your favorite movie on in the background. Whatever makes you feel good. Then, let’s get to dreaming (the first step to building)!
Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliate links to the products I personally used to make my own inspiration journal. That means I may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you use these links to make a purchase.
How to Make an Inspiration Journal
Journal (with rings)
Solid paper inserts
Lined paper inserts
Business card inserts
Zipper pouch inserts
Step One: Gather Inspiration
This is the most fun part. Go through magazines and websites like Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, and WeHeartIt and grab images that make you feel something. If you aren’t sure where to start, think about things that get your heart racing, blood pumping, butterflies fluttering up your spine. What makes you feel alive? What gets you excited? What are you passionate about? What do you dream about?
If you get a little flutter every time you imagine lounging on a beach, buying a Chanel bag, owning your own food truck, looking at a city skyline from a balcony, going to Paris – start there. Look for those images and then fall down the rabbit hole of all the “related images” these search engines provide. Think about your home in your dream life (both the building and the city), the way you spend your downtime, your hobbies, your career, your personal style, activities, travel.
Personally, I love the beach and spending time by the ocean. I have specific visions of riding a horse along the beach, spending time boating, and waking up with a view of the ocean from my bedroom balcony. I want to advance in my yoga practice to the point of doing the difficult poses, so I’ve included photos to motivate me and remind me how important it is to me to stick to doing yoga on a regular basis (besides the many amazing health benefits and how it makes me feel). I want to be a bestseller so I typed that up, printed it, and cut it out. I have always wanted to spend New Year’s Eve in a glamorous dress in an apartment looking out over a city skyline as the fireworks go off, so that’s in there, too.
The particular photos I choose also inspire something in me; I don’t just grab a random shot, I look for the one that really captures my vision and makes me feel something. Emotion is important – if it doesn’t make you feel something, it won’t inspire you to act and it won’t help you manifest what you want. Emotion is key to manifestation and drive.
Pull quotes and affirmations that inspire you, too. (I use these in two different ways in my journal, which I’ll get to later.)
Note: Use zippered pouches to organize pictures and clippings you plan to use later on.
Step Two: Create Mini Vision Boards
Create a blank 8×10 document in Canva (a free website that I love), Photoshop or any other graphic design program and put your photos on it. Leave a little bit of space in between them so you can cut them out. Make sure they are small enough to fit on your journal’s pages – you may need to experiment by printing up some first to test the sizes.
I print mine on regular white paper and then glue them to thicker black sheets that fit my journal, but you could print them on photo paper for a glossier look (I did this for the vision board that hangs on my wall). You could even print them directly onto the journal pages but just make sure you format it correctly in your printer.
You may find that theming each page is helpful, like one page for fitness goals, one for career goals, one for travel goals, etc. Arrange them on the paper the way you want them, then glue them down one by one. I suggest taking a picture of the placement, too, because sometimes they can get moved around when you pick one up. There’s no “perfect” way to do this. This journal is only for you. Have fun and don’t overthink it!
Note: For larger photos you want to feature, slip them into a clear sleeve.
Step Three: Create Personal Mantra Cards
I created business cards with my favorite mantras and affirmations on them so I could quickly flip through all of them when I needed to. There are a couple ways you can make them: do them by hand by writing them out yourself or print them up digitally. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of my own handwriting and I love a crisp, clean look, so I opted to make them on my computer and print them up. Business cards are the perfect size and I could get slots for them for my A6 journal, so it worked out nicely.
I made them on Canva (which is a free, web-based graphic design app – you don’t need to download anything) to make the process even simpler. They already have a template for business cards so I didn’t have to worry about finding the right size so they would print correctly. They also have a lot of customizable designs if you want to get fancy with them and lots of elements to design your own from scratch. As I said, I love simple and chic, so I just did a classic black font (Playfair Display) on a white background.
Once you’ve got your design, save them to your computer as a PDF (make sure to select the “for print” PDF option so they come out in high quality).
Note: If you aren’t sure what to use for mantras and affirmations, check out my Pinterest board that is full of good ones.
How to Print Them on Business Cards
Here’s a tutorial on how I printed individual mantras on business cards using my HP printer (which was only $30, by the way, it prints like a dream) and Avery business card sheets. They were the best (and least expensive) cards I could find on Amazon and Avery offers a template-maker on their website that makes formatting the sheets super easy. You can do it manually if you prefer, I’m sure there are plenty of templates online if you Google them but this is how I did it.
- Go to avery.com/print and type in your product’s number. If you get the same cards I purchased, it’s 28878 (at the time of writing this). Select the template that pops up and create a free account.
- On the template page, select “Clean Edge Business Cards Print one side only.” On the next page, select the first blank horizontal template.
- Go to “Add Image” on the left and upload your first mantra/affirmation. If the image comes out small, drag it to fit the template. (Don’t worry if it looks blurry, it will print clear as long as the original graphic is the correct size for a business card.) On the right side panel called “Navigator,” make sure you select “Edit One” so it only puts that design on one card.
- After you’ve inserted your first card, look above the template and click on the right arrow where it says “1 of 10 Labels” to go to the next card. It will copy your graphic from the first one. Click on the mantra and select the “Replace Image” button on the left to put your second mantra in. Repeat for the next labels for each new mantra.
- Click “Preview and Print” in the lower righthand corner. If everything looks good, select “Print It Yourself” under print options. Save the file to your account (so you can edit it again whenever you want to) and choose to save the PDF to your computer when prompted to print. It will open up your Printer Options.
- Print it on normal paper first to make sure the design prints correctly. If it looks good, open up the PDF again (if it isn’t already open) and click the Print icon. Change your settings by clicking on Properties (in the print window) and going to Paper/Quality. Select “Best” under Quality and “Other Matte Inkjet Papers” under Paper Source and click Print.
- Voila! Let them dry before pulling them apart and inserting them into your business card slots.
Step Four: Use Lined Pages for Celebration Lists, Goals, Etc
Use blank sheets (lined or unlined, your preference) to make inspiring lists, such as places you want to go, things you want to accomplish, how you want to feel every day, your goals for the week/month/year. You can do daily ones, too, such as a to-do list for the day, gratitude list, celebration list, or any mantras you particularly need to hear that day. Use them in whatever way serves you.
Step Five: Personalize It
Use stickers to decorate it. Put pretty paper in it. Choose a journal that you love holding and looking at. Get gorgeous markers and a nice pen to use when you write in it. Make the process something special! The better you feel when you do it, the more effective it will be every time you use it.