Alexa Van Vliet

Joy and Journaling Challenge, Day 5: What habits would support my dream life?

Welcome to the final day of the Joy and Journaling Challenge, Day 5! How are you feeling after all of this reflection? I hope you’re feeling the benefits!

For this final prompt, I want you to bring together everything you’ve learned over the past few days in a way that you can act on every day. For today’s challenge, I want you to answer:

What habits, beliefs, and behaviors would support my ideal lifestyle? How can I make even the mundane more fun and magical?

Our lives are a product of what we repeatedly do, so it’s time to give some thought to how your habits would look if you were living your dream life, and how you can do some form of them even now!

Another thing to consider is, how can you bring some magic into your life? Maybe it’s drawing a tarot card each morning or buying some crystals, or maybe it’s as simple as getting a super nice coffee mug. Get creative!

What does bringing more magic into your life mean to you?

Take your time with this one. Consider what you uncovered over the past four days. Perhaps journaling is something you want to continue to do every day?

Remember, even as you answer this question, there’s no need to implement everything you list at once. But definitely consider how you might start doing something little each day to help you bring about your best life.

I’ll leave you to it, guys! Please let me know how today’s prompt, and the challenge, was for you! I can’t WAIT to hear about it!

And Happy Holidays!

Joy and Journaling Challenge, Day 4: What makes me feel good?

Welcome to Day 4 of the Joy and Journaling Challenge! We’re almost finished with the challenge. I hope it’s been helping you do some quality reflection – if it has, I’d love to hear all about it!

Today, I want you to reflect on what makes you feel good! Today’s prompt is:

What makes me feel good? What can I turn to when I’m feeling down that will help me create an upward spiral?

One of the common refrains I hear in the self-improvement community is, “Feeling good is your job.”

The idea behind it is, as you feel better, more good things come to you. You become more open to new ideas, possibilities, and opportunities. When you’re feeling good, you’re more likely to do things that are good and beneficial for you.

When you’re feeling low, it’s hard to do even the absolute minimum. And the longer you stay in that dark place, the worse it gets – it’s so easy to look for reasons to stay in a negative state of mind and blame it on a bad day or rotten circumstances.

However, if we think about some of the things that can cheer us up – maybe it’s a great playlist, or a funny cat video, or a really good cup of tea – we can create an upward spiral instead. It can take some practice to look for the light when we’re feeling shitty, but this practice is worthwhile!

Look for things to cheer you up like this kitten looks for Christmas lights!

One of my biggest inspirations, Gala Darling, said the following in her book:

Any old fool can find something to moan about, but it takes skill and effort to see the good in life.

Gala Darling, Radical Self-Love

So for today’s prompt, I want you to think about what makes you feel good! What activities can you turn to when you’re feeling down? And be sure to consider how you feel at different energy levels; what you do when feeling hyper and anxious will be very different than what you do when you don’t even want to get up out of bed.

I hope you get a lot of insight from today’s prompt, I can’t wait to see what you think!

Follow the Challenge Here, or Sign Up for My Emails:

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Joy and Journaling Challenge, Day 3: Identifying Negative Patterns

Welcome to Day 3 of the Joy and Journaling Challenge!

Right now you might be looking at the title of this post and wondering, “Uh…Alexa? This challenge is called JOY and Journaling. Why are we talking about NEGATIVE patterns?”

First, I promise this is the only day of the challenge that will have you looking at something that may not be the definition of joyful.

Second, the reason I want us to delve into identifying our negative patterns is that it’s the end of the year. Hell, it’s the end of a decade. We want to talk about our hopes and dreams, sure. And it’s super important to be grateful for everything we have going on in our lives. But until we can see the negative patterns that keep recurring in our lives, we will probably keep sabotaging our own progress.

Dealing with our repeating negative patterns can feel a lot like this, but less cute.

The prompt for today is:

What negative patterns keep showing up for me? Can I identify how they begin, and how I might change them?

This can definitely get heavy, so be sure to approach this only in a good frame of mind! If you feel like it might bring you to too dark of a place, there’s no harm in skipping.

The intention here is to simply think about some of the negative patterns you’ve noticed occur again and again in your life, and examine them. If you can come up with ideas on how to break the pattern, all the better! But it’s really enough to just begin to notice what these patterns may be.

By identifying your negative patterns, you can begin to diminish their power – by being aware of them, you create the space where you can notice the pattern before it plays out and course-correct. It might be only the first step, but it’s an important one!

Take care of yourself as you answer this prompt, I’ll see you tomorrow for Day 4!

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Joy and Journaling Challenge, Day 2: What do I have to be grateful for?

Welcome to Day 2 of the Joy and Journaling Challenge! How did you enjoy Day 1? Did you share your experience? Feel free to join in at any time!

Without further ado, here is today’s prompt:

What do I have to be grateful for? What do I now have in my life, that used to be only a desire?

I’ve struggled with gratitude journaling a lot in the past, so if this prompt has you rolling your eyes, don’t worry, I feel you!

In the past, “gratitude log” exercises always seemed to make me feel the opposite of gratitude. In the midst of what I now know is depression, the act of writing out things seemed to emphasize my inability to feel anything. For a long time, I decided it was just a cheesy exercise at best, or at worst, I was just fundamentally flawed and all the positive benefits of gratitude journaling were beyond my reach.

This represents what I assumed gratitude for something was supposed to feel like.

Over time, I’ve learned a few things that have helped me practice and experience gratitude in a way that felt genuine to me. You might like some of these ideas too, especially if like me, the idea of writing down what you’re grateful for has felt cheesy to you in the past:

  • See it as “appreciation” instead of “gratitude.” For some reason, thinking about things I appreciate instead of things I feel grateful for seemed to make it easier for me to, ironically, feel grateful. See if asking yourself what you appreciate feels any better than asking what you’re grateful for!
  • Do a running log of positive experiences you have throughout your day. This exercise changed everything for me. I took quick notes for every little thing that felt good throughout my day, big and small. I wrote down that I had delicious flavored coffee creamer, that I had nice hand lotion, that I got a funny Snapchat from my friend.
    I think this helped me so much because 1) I didn’t need to think of anything off the top of my head 2) It helped me see how much good I had in my life that I typically overlooked 3) Giving myself the task of listing the positives in my life had me actively arguing against my habitual pessimism.
  • Think about what you would miss if you didn’t have it. When I’m really struggling to feel grateful, I try to imagine what things would be like if I didn’t have something I was using. Realizing how isolated I would feel without my phone makes me grateful for it, realizing how crabby I’d feel without coffee makes me grateful we have some in the house, realizing how much of my activities require electricity makes me grateful for having power.

Additionally, I think it’s important to recognize what it is we now have that we used to want! Do you have a new phone after waiting for years to upgrade? Do you have that partner or that job?

Not only does thinking about this remind us of what we have to be grateful for, but it helps us remember that we’re capable of calling in the things we’re wishing for now!

I hope this helps you complete today’s challenge! I can’t wait to hear about how this prompt goes for you!

Follow the Challenge Here, or Sign Up for My Emails:

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Joy and Journaling Challenge, Day 1: What is your dream life?

Welcome to day 1 of the Joy and Journaling challenge! I hope you’re just as excited as I am to get going!

Do you have your journal ready?

Our first prompt is:

What is your dream life? How does living your dream life FEEL? Why do you want to live this way?

Let yourself get really into it. You’d be having fun in your dream life, right? So let yourself FEEL that as you write. I want you to experience it as much as you can. You know how you get really involved with the lives of the characters when you read a good book? Yeah, I want you to feel that but with the story of YOUR dream life.

Okay, so, you might be thinking, “Isn’t this kind of cheesy, Alexa? My dream life, really?” And well, okay, I thought this too the first time I came across this prompt.

But I want you to really focus on the second pair of questions as you write this one: how does your dream life FEEL? Why do you want it?

Do you feel free? Ecstatic? Energized? Calm? Generous?

Let yourself dream really big here. What do you want to be doing? Where do you want to live, and with who (if anyone!)?

Why do you want to live this way, in your dream life?

These prompts serve quite a few purposes!

One, by spending some time thinking about your dream life, you can get really clear on the kind of life you want to live, but also about the kind of person YOU want to be. If you want, you can then make plans to achieve these things!

Those feelings of freedom or generosity (or whatever YOUR dream life feels like)? You can make moves to feel those sorts of ways, even without your dream life being a reality (yet)!

Your WHY, of course, is what helps you keep going even when the going gets tough. I don’t even just mean in pursuit of your goals and dreams – sometimes just the simple, everyday stuff can drag us down. Having some strong reasons why you want to feel a certain way, or go after a certain lifestyle, can really get you going (or at least keep you holding on) through the worst of it.

So, go ahead and write out your dream life! When you’re done, please share in the comments below or on Instagram! Feel free to make a post and tag it with #joyandjournaling! I can’t WAIT to hear how this first prompt goes for you!

If you haven’t already, you can follow the challenge with any of the following:

Instagram: @alexa.vanvliet
Pinterest: @alexavanvliet

If you’d like, you can read the intro post for the challenge too!

Happy journaling, everyone! =D

Introducing the Joy and Journaling Challenge!

Welcome, everyone! To round out the end of 2019 and begin 2020 feeling good, I created a 5-day series of journaling prompts meant to inspire both joy and reflection. The holiday season can be downright MAGICAL if we allow it to be, and it’s my hope that this challenge will help create that feeling!

Despite this magical quality, the holidays can really bring a mixed bag of emotions to the table. There’s so much stress over family, gift-giving, and finances – and yet, it’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year! You might be experiencing both sides of the spectrum, or just one or the other, but either way, it’s my hope that this journaling challenge will help bring you more JOY throughout the season, and beyond.

For this challenge, I recommend using a pen and paper if possible to answer the prompts. I think the tactile nature of it really helps with getting into the flow of writing and brainstorming, which allows you to really dig in and make the most of the prompts. Of course, if you’d rather type them up, that’s okay too! This is FOR you, so do what feels best!

If you’d like to join us, it’s super simple! I will be posting the prompts here on the blog. Spend some time journaling on the prompts, and then share your experience! You can either post here in the comments, or share on Instagram using the hashtag #joyandjournaling.

To make sure you don’t miss a prompt, be sure to follow me on Instagram, Pinterest, or sign up for my emails!

I’m so excited to bring the Joy and Journaling challenge to you, and I can’t wait to hear how it goes for you!

The links to the prompts will appear here, as they are posted!

Day 1: What is your dream life?