How To Journal Your Goals (+ 11 Best Journaling Goals)

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Science has backed up the idea that when you write down your goals, your brain pays closer attention, and you’re more likely to take action. 

This motivation is why goal-setting journals have become so popular—and so easy to find. 

Looking for a journal with goal-setting writing prompts?

You’ll find links to some of our favorites further down in this post. 

Looking for tips on journaling goals? You’ll find those here, too.

Let’s get started! 

What Is A Goal Setting Journal? 

If you’re looking for a new journal, it helps to know what features will make it easy to use daily. 

We’ll get you started with some essentials to help you narrow down your options: 

  • Lay-flat binding and ample space for writing comfortably
  • Ribbon bookmark to keep your place
  • Thick enough paper to prevent bleed-through
  • Compact enough size to easily fit in a handbag, tote, or briefcase

You might also appreciate the following optional features: 

  • Prompts or quotes that help you get you into the right headspace for the day
  • Built-in guides on how to make the most of your journal
  • Extra space for mind-mapping, making lists, and long-term goal planning
  • An elastic band to protect your pages when you’re not journaling

With those in mind, we’ve found a few goals journal options worth considering: 

1. The 5-Second Journal: The Best Daily Journal and the Fastest Way to Slow Down, Power Up, and Get Sh*t Donel by Mel Robbins

Made by the author of The Five-Second Rule (among others), this journal is structured in a way that makes it easy for you to get your day off on a good start — and to end it on a high note. 


2.  The Daily Stoic Journal: 366 Days of Writing and Reflection on the Art of Living by Ryan Holiday 

From the guy who wrote The Daily Stoic and The Obstacle is the Way (among others), this journal includes quotes from Stoic philosophers like Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, and Epictetus. The goal is to get you thinking, writing, and taking action. 


3. SELF Journal by BestSelf 

Take your year one quarter at a time with this 13-week goal-setting journal. Use it to track your habits, train yourself to practice daily gratitude, and record your plans and progress. Check out the two-page daily layout to see what this journal offers. 

The triple ribbon bookmark helps you easily find your place in different sections. 


4. Paperage Recycled Lined Notebook 

Sometimes you just want a notebook you can write in without any prompts, quotes, or journaling tips. And Paperage offers a variety of 160-page hardcover options with a lay-flat design, high-quality thick paper, and a ribbon bookmark for keeping your place. 

If lined pages aren’t your thing, these are also available with blank or dotted pages. 

How Do You Write in a Goals Journal? 

Once you’ve got your goals journal and picked up your writing tool of choice, take the following steps to get started: 

1. Freewrite to turn on the idea faucet. 

Try to avoid editing, but don’t beat yourself up if you do it anyway (we all have our process).  Let your ideas tumble out of your head and onto the page. 

2. Be honest with yourself. 

As long as no one’s peeking, there’s no need to censor yourself. Write down precisely what you’re thinking — exactly what you want to say. 

3. Jot down the bullet-points version. 

Once you’ve had a moment to dump your thoughts, it’s time to expand on one of them. Jot down a bulleted list of details that come to mind.  

4. Expand on one idea at a time. 

Focus on one goal or thought to explore more deeply or to record your aspirations and your progress. Focusing on too much at once is a recipe for overwhelm, which 

5. Read through your entry and highlight the points that stand out. 

Part of journaling is writing what you’ve read and spending some time thinking about it, and highlighting anything you want to remember and expand on in later entries. 

11 Goal Journal Ideas to Write About 

Now that you’ve got an idea of the kind of journal you want, what are some goals for writing? Whatever area of your life you want to improve, you can get started on that using the tips listed below. The tricky part might be deciding where to begin. 

1. Daily Plans

What are your top priorities for the day? What actions will you take? Try setting three “micro-goals” for the day, and set them as early in the day as possible, when your energy levels are (probably) highest. 

You know your schedule better than we do, though, so adapt your routine accordingly. The important thing is to give yourself a space for planning your day and celebrating your wins. 

2. Relationships (marriage/partnership, friends, family, coworkers, etc.)

Where do you see your most important relationships in a year (or three years or five years)? What would you like to change? And what are you willing to do to bring about those changes? What will you do every day? 

Relationships take work, and we’re guessing you want to give them their best chance. A goal-setting journal could quickly become your best tool for strengthening those connections. It can also help you rekindle the romance in your marriage or partnership. 

3. Career and Professional Development

Where do you (want to) see your career in a year (or three or five years)? What would you like to change? And what are you willing to do to bring about those changes? What will you do every day? 

how to journal your goals

You have a right to want a career that fits you, and that pays more than enough to keep your head above water. Be honest about what you want. Then go after it. 

4. Money Management & Financial Planning

How would you describe your financial situation, and what would you like to change? What are you willing to do—and what sacrifices are you willing to make—to get to where you want to be in a year’s (etc.) time? 

You care about being a good money manager. So, how do you correct what’s not working, get out of debt (ASAP), and manage your income and investments like a pro? Write about where you want to be. Then use your money goals journal to strategize. 

5. Bucket List

What do you want to do or to accomplish before you die? Jot down a list of at least ten things that come to mind. What will you do this year? What have you always wanted to do that scares you? And how will you get closer to making that happen? 

Having a list of scary, exciting goals helps you feel more awake—and more like the kid who used to answer the words “I dare you…” with “Watch me!” You’re smart enough not to undertake challenges that aren’t worth the risk. But you need some risk in your life. 


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6. Habits to Build

What habits do you want to build this year, this quarter, or this month, and why? Which routine will you start with? And when and how will you begin? It might help to read about the kinds of habits that help others reach their goals. Then pick one that appeals to you. 

Say, for example, you want to build the habit of waking up earlier in the morning. Write about this and your reasons behind it. Then set an alarm, and commit to waking up at that time the next morning. Make whatever changes you need to make this easier. 

7. Problem Solving 

If there are problems or problematic situations in your life, what’s the best outcome you can think of? And what are you willing to do to get closer to the outcome you want? Also, consider how long you’ve had this problem and what you’ve tried so far to solve it. 

Everyone wants to be better at solving problems in their life, but only a small percentage actually use the power of writing about them. Use your journal to clarify your thinking and play with some ideas. Then try something. 

8. Brain Dumping

What’s on your mind right now that is blocking out everything else? Whether you’re working through something or just feeling overwhelmed, get those thoughts down so you can see them more clearly and begin to see past them. 

Sometimes you just need a place to dump out your thoughts to make sense of the chaos in your head. It’s that chaos that often makes it challenging to write about anything else. Use your brain dump journal to let the words out so you can focus on what’s next. 

9. Best Things that Happened Today (Evening/Nighttime Recap)

What are you grateful for? Write down whatever comes to mind, even if it’s something as simple as a sight that warmed your heart or a message that got you thinking and helped you see something differently. 

Write about whatever you remember and appreciate about your day or the people in it. Write about things people said that have stayed with you and challenged your beliefs. Write about what made this day worth waking up for. 

9. Visualizing the Future

Where do you want to see yourself five years from now? How do you picture your life? Where are you living, what do you do for work or fun? With whom do you spend most of your time when you’re not alone? 

Picture a future you would love, and then use your visualization journal to describe it in vivid detail. Make it as detailed as you like. No one else needs to read this. If it helps remove inhibitions, get a journal with a lock

10. Progress Log

How far have you come toward one or more of the goals you’ve set? What have you accomplished that you’re proud of? What can you point to as evidence that you’re moving in a better direction? Write it all down. 

Keep track of your progress with your goals journal. For extra motivation, you can also make note of rewards for reaching specific milestones along the way. Choose rewards that feed your motivation and honor the goals you’re set. 

With your journal in hand (or on its way) and having read the goal journaling ideas listed above, which ones stood out for you? And where will you begin? 

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