How to inspire your life: 18 Journal notebook ideas

Like many people you may be inspired by the idea of keeping a journal. However you may be struggling with where to start and what to put in your journal. This post will give you some inspiration for what journal notebook ideas you could create and how you can create them.

A journal to inspire your life is one where you keep thoughts and ideas about what you might like to do with this one, precious, fleeting amount of time we have. Use ideas from people, articles, books, podcasts etc to make a note of how you want to live your life. Keeping it together in journal form will help you remember and take action.

Don’t forget, though, that journaling is all about expressing your own creativity, your own thoughts and your own ideas. So use the prompts in this post to inspire you to create your own journal.

Enjoy the process and enjoy the journey. The idea is not to create a perfect work of art but to create something that is meaningful to you and only you.

Blue journal with a silver pen placed on top. Journal has the word journal embossed on the cover in an italic font. Accompanies the blog post for journal notebook ideas

Journal notebook ideas – commonalities

These journal ideas are diverse but one aspect they have in common is that each is a dedicated journal to one idea. It is a specific journal for a specific area of your life where you can find inspiration.

Each of these journals is created for different purposes. So you may end up with two or three of these journals which will contain creative ideas and important things relating to each topic.

Keep them on a bookshelf as you would a book, and pull them out regularly to work on them. Especially the ones which take place over a longer time frame, eg the vision journal and the creative journals.

We have other resources on the website which go well with this blog post. For example, why not try:

18 goal journal ideas to create a life plan you love

How to organize a journal for the life you want

Ideas for types of journal notebook ideas that can inspire your life

There are so many different kinds of journaling and types of journaling techniques. This blog post is about the type of journals you can keep that can really inspire your life.

Journaling is both a solace and an inspiration. It’s such an amazing tool and has so many health benefits. So these different journal notebook ideas are designed to help you create a life that is both inspirational and a solace.

Read through the following list to find one of the journal notebook ideas that suits you. The great thing about journaling is that you don’t need to delay to get started. Just find a blank notebook or even a half-filled notebook will do!

Here’s a table of contents list to help you navigate around this post better:

Just get journaling. The magic happens when you write, so just get writing.

1 Habit tracker

Many of us love the idea of creating new habits and becoming a better version of ourselves through developing new behaviours. However those ideas can remain just that, ideas, if you don’t have a method for monitoring your progress, and perhaps more importantly, your challenges and setbacks.

A great idea is to create a habit tracker for yourself that doesn’t just track keep the habit but also incorporates a monitoring device where you log your mood and emotional state. This is an excellent way to keep track of your dreams.

If you know what is going to derail you from keeping a habit, then you can take preventative action to avoid those situations where you might be tempted to give you on your goal.

So the first way that you can seriously inspire your life is by keeping a habit tracker that also monitors your emotional state, plus the challenges that you might be facing on your way.

2 Travel journal

A travel journal is one way of continuing to enjoy your travel experience when you get home at no extra cost! Being able to pick up a journal that you have kept during your travels is inspiring.

It can inspire you, when you are stuck in the dark grey winters of the northern hemisphere, to remember that adventure awaits. You don’t have to travel far to keep your journal.

Even if you are going away for a weekend, why not create a journal just for that weekend? And then come home and be inspired by what you have written, and start planning your next trip!

3 Future travel journaling

For inspirational purposes, why not create your travel journal in advance. This is like creating your travel itinerary but with the added slant that you are adding personal comments and journaling in advance about the experiences you will have.

Even if you can’t afford to book that trip now, why not start journaling about it?

4 Bucket list

I love the idea of keeping a bucket list, but sometimes I wonder how many people actually go through the process of creating a bucket list and then ensuring that they complete everything on the list.
In conversation we say things like, “Oh yes, visiting the pyramids is on my bucket list” but is it really? Or is ‘bucket list’ just a phrase that we use these days to indicate something we would like to do or see someday without being any more specific than that?

However, in terms of inspiring your own life with journal notebook ideas a bucket list definitely hits the spot. It’s aspirational, it allows you to think in an expansive fashion and not limit yourself to the humdrum of daily life. It’s a fun way of dreaming big. So, for this reason, I encourage you to create a bucket list.

So, what will you put on there? What would your dreams, goals and aspirations be if money were no object? What would you like to do or can you do now without money or time being a preventative factor?

Write them all down. Journal around them. Write about why this item is on your bucket list, what inspires you about it, how you envisage it when you are actually there and how you will feel when you have ticked it off your list. Enjoy!

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5 Vision journal

A vision journal can contain those thoughts and dreams you have about events or activities that you would like to bring into your life but which may be unatainable right now.

Think big with your vision journal. Use that blank notebook to creatively imagine what could be, one day. A vision is something that is slightly out of reach. It requires much more than to-do lists to achieve your vision. It demands all of you.

Having a vision is inspiring, motivating and potentially vital to our existence. The Bible says, “Without a vision, the people perish”. What is your vision? Remember it’s not something that can be easily achieved or achieved in a year. It’s a big project, the biggest in your life.

6 Future journal

A future journal is a creative way of keeping a journal focussed on what you’d like to see in your future. It’s not big and currently unachievable like your vision journal. Your future journal addresses events and activities that you’d like to see in the near future, one to two years.

So, for example, what you could put in your future journal is ideas about your next job, your next holiday, your next house.

7 Short stories

All forms of creativity will inspire your life in one way or another. Why not try short stories and fill one of those blank journals with some inspired short stories.

There are lots of different ways to get started with this kind of creative writing journal You can give yourself various challenges: For example, a great way to get going is to give yourself a time challenge: 30 minutes to write a story with a beginning, middle and end.

Or an easy way is to give yourself a hero, a villain and a situation (accident/theft/loss/birthday etc) and you have to put the story together in whatever way you want.

Another beautiful way of creating a short story journal is to write short stories about your life, especially your earlier years, to pass on to your children or grandchildren. This is also a great opportunity to remember family stories and pass them down from generation to generation.

Woman sitting on the edge of a wooden bench with her legs crossed, journal perched on her knee and she is writing in the journal. Accompanies the blog post on journal notebook ideas

8 Morning pages

In The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron recommends Morning Pages as a great habit to develop for first thing in the morning. The process of morning pages is that you fill three pages of a simple empty notebook and just write.

You write about what’s on your mind, what you are thinking about, whatever is going on in your head. You just get it out on paper. And you don’t reread it either. The only part you retain from Morning Pages is any triggers or inspiration that you want to take forward and work on.

For example if you are inspired with a work idea, or inspired to create something, you can write it down as part of your Morning Pages and then transfer it to another notebook afterwards.

I personally like the idea that I can reread my morning journaling although in practice I rarely do. I’m usually quite happy to continue on to the next day without looking back.

9 Bullet journal notebook

Although bullet journaling can seem quite clinical, especially when you look at all those neatly ordered Pinterest pins with all those regularly spaces dots and squares, bullet journaling is described by Ryder Carroll as a mindfulness practice disguised as a productivity system.

His excellent website is probably a better place to become acquainted with the bullet journaling system and find some bullet journal inspiration. And, don’t forget, there is the book too.

In terms of being an inspiration for your life you can use the bullet journaling principles for any part of your life. What part of your life do you want to give more attention to? Use that inspiration as your starting point.

10 Prayer journal

The idea of keeping a prayer journal is similar to keeping a gratitude journal. It’s an invitation to become a better version of yourself and to inspire your life by maybe seeing yourself in a different perspective to how you normally view yourself.

Keeping a prayer journal or even something like a guided journal for meditation is a way of acknowledging the existence of a higher power. Why keep a prayer journal if you are not praying to somebody?

Where are you directing your prayers? When you start to see yourself as part of a pattern of creation, or as a created being praying to its creator it would be hard not to feel inspired.

Praying and prayer journals can also release you from your burdens and give you a renewed sense of perspective on your troubles. If you are feeling troubled or weighed down with pressure by some particular event in your life, then writing in a prayer journal and releasing the burden onto the empty journal pages can be very cathartic.

Of course you can create your prayer journal around Bible verses and books that you are reading. As you read through the Bible use the stories, characters and events to inspire your prayer life and your real life.

Journal about how you feel as you are reading the Bible and then submit each day’s entry up to the Lord. Go at your own pace. You can write in your prayer journal once a day or once a week.

I can practically guarantee that you will want to reread this journal. You never know what might happen once you open yourself up to prayer and praying.

Why not give a prayer journal a go for yourself? Even if you don’t think of yourself as religious and wouldn’t normally know where to start with the Bible let alone going to church.

Just have the vulnerability to open yourself up in prayer and send your prayers out into the universe. You never know what might happen!

11 Creative writing / creative journal

Creative writing is different to short story writing. Creative writing doesn’t need you to construct a story, it doesn’t need a beginning and a middle and an end. You can write creatively about anything that inspires you.

For some people it’s nature, for other people it could be their hobby. You don’t need to look far either, you can write creatively about your inner experiences. Some creative writing is illustrated by the author and other types of creative writing use an illustration or image as a starting point for inspiration.

Thinking differently, thinking outside the box is a great way to inspire your life. So, if you are feeling like you’re stagnating for whatever reason then why not get writing creatively?

12 Meal planner

How will keeping a meal planner inspire your life you may be asking? Well, I’m glad you asked that. Firstly there seems to be a link between planning and happiness.

So any kind of planning is going to be motivating. Secondly you will eat better, more nutritious meals if you use a meal planner. Plus you will probably save money as you won’t be constantly popping into the shops where you might be tempted to buy more than you need.

You can keep shopping / grocery lists in the kitchen and make a note of staple foods that need replenishing. And then you can keep the shopping list for your meal plan.

Even better, if you have an advance shopping list you could have your food shop delivered straight to your door. Your meal planner can also keep your favourite recipes plus recipes that you want to try.

You could also keep a separate recipe journal if that works for you. Don’t overlook meal planning as a way of inspiring yourself. Even if you are on your own you can plan your meals out.

In fact planning your meals when you are cooking for one or two people helps you work out what you can freeze or batch cook. And then you will be even more organised.

two simple ceramic vases, in beige tones, one with three dried lavender flower stems, both sitting on a tray. Accompanies the blog post on journal notebook ideas

13 Gratitude journaling

Gratitude journaling seems so simple doesn’t it? You write down what you are grateful for each day. It could be 3 items, it could be 12. You get to decide.

Filling the blank pages of those empty journals with thoughts that make you grateful sounds very straightforward but there is much more to gratitude journaling than just filling those empty pages.

Gratitude journaling has been shown to: increase positivity, improve self esteem, helps you sleep better, make you happier, reduce stress.

14 Mental health tracker

I love the idea of a mental health tracker to inspire your life because so often what we perceive as being a big mental health issue in our life really is not that at all.

I am not talking here about those people who are seriously depressed or suffering from serious mental health problems. I don’t mean to imply that all mental health problems can be solved by journaling.

I am really talking about those of us who occasionally struggle, who have weeks where we do not feel ourselves but are able to get back on keel and start to feel ‘normal’ again relatively quickly.

We are not taught to manage our minds in the western world and I really think we should be. Keeping a mental health tracker is an easy way to start to manage your mind. Your mind is like a muscle and it needs to be worked and trained and kept in check.

Many of us are at the mercy of our brains. We think that just because we have thought something that we need to submit to this thought. But this could not be further from the truth which is that our brains should submit to us.

I’ve written in a previous blog post about thanking our brains for the thoughts they have presented but choosing our own thoughts instead.

A mental health tracker can help you keep track of your progress of keeping your brain in check. You can have specific diary entries for keeping your brain in check along the lines of,

“Today my brain said this, ‘……..’

and I said “Thank you brain, I think I’ll think this instead, ‘…………’ “”

Once you have learned to control your brain and its impulses and fears, you will be well on your way to a truly inspirational life.

15 Clothes journal

Planning our what you are going to wear in advance is an amazing life tool that I really recommend. You can use your journal to write out what you plan on wearing in the coming week.

As you do this you might find that you realise that you need to get some shoes reheeled, or a dress needs cleaning. Use your journal to keep track of your wardrobe housekeeping.

You can also use a clothes journal to plan what you would like to wear in the future but don’t currently possess. And, related to this, you can plan for the next upcoming season too.

16 A big ideas journal

Sometimes you hear something, or think something, and it seems too big and extraordinary and currently unavailable to you in your life right now. But, nevertheless, you are energised and motivated by this idea.

I think it’s really important to capture those ideas. They can be inspiration for your future life. It would be so easy to dismiss them as not being realistic or feasible. But be inspired.

Sometimes we are being called into the future by exactly those images and dreams that we have that seem so unrealistic.

Create a big ideas journal for yourself. When you have your next big idea go and journal about it as much as you need. This is one journal that you probably won’t be writing in every day.

So don’t forget about it, and keep it somewhere where you will remember where you have put it. It will be interesting to see, over the course of ten, twenty or thirty years just how many of those big ideas come to fruition.

Why not start today? Find an empty journal that you love and in it write your last big idea. Don’t limit yourself. Don’t feel like someone is watching over your shoulder because they aren’t. Just write for yourself and for your future life.

17 Budget or debt tracker

I don’t want to burst the creative journaling ideas bubble, with a dose of fiscal reality, but hear me out. I love all the creative side of journaling, it hits me with a large dollop of endorphins and gets all my creativity genes bursting with excitement.

However, sorting out my finances, getting out of debt, having enough money to live on and generally feeling in control of my money and not my money or lack of it being in control of me, ranks as high on the satisfaction scale as any creative journal.

It may not give me the same endorphin rush, it certainly does not get any creative juices flowing, but to be able to be in control of my own life and have enough money to treat the children to days out and still not run out of money is so so satisfying.

If you are tired of being in debt, tired of having too much month left at the end of the money and yearn for a life where you have the freedom to choose what you want to do in life, then maybe a financial planner and tracker is just what you need.

18 Word for the year journal

Do you have a word for your year? I started this practice a few years ago. My first word was ‘becoming’.

I loved that word for me and that particular time in my life. It resonated with me and seemed to me to mean so much more than just the word itself. I was so attached to ‘becoming’ that when Michelle Obama’s book, ‘Becoming’ was released that year I did actually feel that she had stolen my word!

Since then I have had other words: visible was one and this year I am still toying between two words. I suppose I could have two. The idea is to have one. I’ll let you know.

When you have decided on your word, use one journal and spend the year ahead living up to that word. Don’t put pressure on yourself. The chances are if you have chosen that word it is for a reason. And you need to grow into that reason, and let it bloom and take its own shape.

So there we are: 18 creative journal notebook ideas that I hope will inspire you or have inspired you. Let whatever it is inspire you to create your own journal and start to create an intentional, beautiful life for yourself.

If you liked this blog post you may also like:

How to create a printable manifestation journal
Manifestation prompts to create a better life
How to create your own manifestation journal template

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