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  • Writer's pictureDianuh Aerin

Journaling for Clarity

Hey hey, it’s November and that means we have less than two months left of 2022.

I don’t know about you, but I always look forward to the new year. The first of the week, month, and year feels like a new start and if you’re like me, you like to plan ahead for it!

I know you’re a go getter who loves to set goals since you’re reading this blogpost. The challenge for you ISN’T taking action, but maybe it's getting clear on what to run towards. Trust me, I get it. My feet like to move ahead before I check in with my heart on where I want to go. If this is you as well, let’s do a little exercise together!

Open Dream Journaling

Recently, I did something I like to call Open Dream Journaling and it was such a good exercise for getting clarity. As a multi passionate creative, there are a million of ideas that pop into my mind and I want to explore all of them! Then I get clouded with overwhelm, self doubt and confusion because it’s simply not possible to do everything at once. What is the priority here? What can I do realistically? This is where Open Dream Journaling comes in.

What is Open Dream Journaling?

Open Dream Journaling is where you will picture what your life will look like in the next few years and dream unapologetically without any goals or timeline attached to it. As the name suggests, you want to be open about your dreams and jot them down in a physical journal or a digital document. The intention is to visualize and dream, rather than to plan or set deadlines. Similar to a brain dump exercise, this should feel freeing mentally and help you process your thoughts.

There are three parts to open dream journaling, which is to visualize your life 3, 5 and 10 years from today. Personally, I like to start with 5 years because it feels far enough to have accomplished some of the things I want to do, but close enough that I can really envision that stage of my life.

How to do Open Dream Journaling?

There isn't one perfect way of doing open dream journaling, but this is what worked best for me. I've broken down my process from dreaming to planning in 5 simple steps!

You can do it all on a physical journal, word doc or my free printable guide, which you can download below.


I’ll start off by writing the date and the year as well as my age. For example: Today is November 5, 2027 and I am 36 years old. I will also include the age of my family members since they are a huge part of my life, and it helps me better picture what my life will look like overall. Then I’ll picture different areas of my life and write down what each would look like. Some areas you might want to visualize through are your home, family, career, lifestyle, schedule and travel. You can add or subtract from this list depending on what your priorities are. Make sure you spend a good amount of time here and visualize everything!

As you picture each area, ask yourself questions like:

What does it look like physically?

How am I feeling?

What does my day or schedule look like?

What have I mastered?

What have I accomplished?


After you finish the 5 year exercise, move on to visualizing your life 10 years from now. It will be easier to picture now that you’ve already visualized the first 5! You can go through all the same areas you went through from the first exercise, but you don’t have to be as in-depth (unless you want to be.)


Once you’ve completed year 5 and 10 exercises, visualize those same areas of your life 3 years from now. The reason why we didn’t start with 3 years is because it almost feels too close. It can feel overwhelming to want to accomplish so much in three short years, which is why we started out with 5 years first. Having your 5 year visualization down, you should have a nice middle step between where you are and where you want to go. This is where you’ll write down those details in your 3 year visualization.


Now that you’ve visualized years 3, 5, and 10, maybe you want to take action on these dreams. You can start by asking yourself: What will I regret NOT doing in the next 3 years? Write down 2-3 things that you would regret not having done. This can be anything from completing a project to trying something new, traveling somewhere or hitting a career benchmark. Make sure to only pick 2-3 things so that you can prioritize your goals and not overwhelm yourself.


You have now prioritized 2-3 tangible goals - go you! Now of the 2-3, choose one that really stands out to you. Or if you can't choose, you can go with the one that will be the easiest to accomplish. This is what you'll start working on in 2023. This is where you can put your planner hat on and start to write down everything you need to do to get this done. Feel free to brain dump all the steps on a piece of paper or word doc. Then you can start organizing your checklist and putting dates to them. You've already done the hard work of visualizing so you know this goal is actually aligned with what you want long term.

And there you go! These are the 5 steps of Open Dream Journaling for clarity & goal setting. Doing this exercise was SO helpful for me and I hope it's been for you as well!

For me, I've narrowed down my one goal: I want to create an online course teaching artists to leverage their creative process and make money through live art. It’s something that I’ve been DREAMING about for years now and I’m so excited to work towards this goal starting January 2023! If this is something you'd like more information about, sign up for my waitlist here.

If you found this blogpost helpful, share it with a friend to keep you accountable!

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