21 inspiring journaling prompts to help you get started
Journaling can be a great way to work through your emotions, but it can be hard to know where to start. These 21 prompts help to make the process both fun and productive.
Journaling has so many benefits — it can help manage anxiety, reduce stress and provide a safe place to organise your thoughts.*
But to me, it always felt like a job. I found myself creating a boring list of the day’s events or focusing on my negative emotions and ending up feeling worse than when I started.
But many avid journalers don’t write about their day at all. Instead, they use their diary as a space to get to know themselves, how their mind works and inspire them to achieve their biggest dreams.
How do they do this? Simple, they follow journaling prompts, forcing their wandering thoughts into a productive exercise.
Here are 21 inspiring journaling prompts that actually make journaling fun and freeing.
1. List 3 things you are grateful for today.
The power of gratitude can manifest happiness and positive thinking. It’s a great way to start your day on an optimistic note.
2. Write down something you are going to do for yourself today.
It is so important that we mind ourselves and prioritise our mental wellbeing. Plan daily me-time (reading, Netflix, knitting, running, etc.)
3. Write down something you are going to do for someone else today.
Acts of kindness not only help you feel better, but also allow you to bless someone you care about. Do something small for someone (send an appreciative text or thank you card, buy a gift online, take your kids out to the park, surprise your partner with their favourite snacks).
4. Reflect on how you are currently feeling and focus on how you want to feel today.
Sometimes it is easy to lose touch with ourselves when we keep busy. Take time to reflect on how you are feeling (run down, sad, bored) and how you want to feel (free, happy, energised).
5. Reflect on this past week and write a lesson or take away you want to carry forward.
Look back on this last week; what would you have done differently (eat less junk food, get outside more, spend more quality time with someone)? How can you carry this lesson forward into this week?
6. Write a letter to someone in your life that constantly drains your energy.
Most of us have that one person in our life that has taken a lot of energy from us (an ex-partner, an old friend, a family member). Write a final letter to them, just for yourself, so you can move on and leave it in the past.
7. What is something you want to do but haven’t yet because of fear?
Maybe you’ve been wanting to ask for a raise, go parasailing or finally tell someone how you truly feel about them. Write your goal down and small steps you can start taking to accomplish that task.
8. What is something you are involved in (like daily walks, volunteering, a side project, or an extracurricular) that you really enjoy doing?
This is a great way to discover why you love certain things and other ways you can incorporate similar activities into your routine.
9. What is a challenge that you have overcome recently that you need to pat yourself on the back for?
So often, we can get caught up on the things we haven’t done, our endless to-do list. Instead of focusing on what comes next, take a moment to appreciate something you’ve accomplished that felt difficult at the time.
10. What are some skills you have always wanted to learn or topics you have wanted to explore?
Have you always wanted to learn French, play the piano or how to cook a proper meal? Write about how you can start learning that special skill.
11. Who is someone in your life you appreciate at the moment?
Maybe your partner has taken the time to spoil you this week or a friend has recently helped you through a tough time. Write to them and, if you feel comfortable, share that with them. It might be exactly what they need to hear.
12. How are you going to get moving today?
When WFH, it’s easy to spend the whole day sitting. Plan out how you are going to get moving today, whether it’s stretching, dancing or walking down the road to get a cup of coffee.
13. What is something you currently desire?
Whether it’s a material item (that gorgeous coat from Zara that keeps popping up on your Insta feed) or a goal (a dream job or more quality time with your family), writing it down helps make it achievable.
14. Who is someone in your life you would like to spend more time with? What are some ways you could do that?
Who can you really let yourself be around? Who recharges you? Plan something for you to do with that person this week.
15. Make a travel bucket list.
We may not be able to travel anywhere now, but you can get started on planning your future adventures. Describe what you would like to see and experience in each place.
16. What are your 3 favourite qualities about yourself?
It is too easy to be hard on ourselves. Reflect on your favourite qualities and remind yourself how great you are.
17. What is a big project that has intimidated you for a while and what is a simple step that will help you get started?
We all have that one project that plagues the back of our minds (redoing the kitchen, cleaning out the attic, painting the house). What’s one small thing you can do to start that project today?
18. Choose your mantra of the month.
This is a great one to do at the start of the week or month. Choose something you want to remind yourself of every day like “Progress, not perfection” or “You Get What You Focus On”.
19. Get to know yourself.
Okay, this sounds a bit crazy, but it is easy to limit yourself to who you used to be. We are constantly growing and evolving throughout life. How have you changed this past year? What do you do in your free time now that you truly enjoy? Take the time to think about what makes the current you happy.
20. What are some areas of your life in which you are too harsh with yourself?
What do you find yourself constantly judging? (Your body image, your relationship status, your parenting skills). Write down some complimentary statements and show yourself self-love in these areas. For example, write down three things you love about your body or a time when you really felt you excelled at being a mum.
21. Describe your dream life.
Don’t worry, this isn’t a “where do you see yourself in five years” question. Write down what you would be doing right now in your dream life; let your mind wander. What are you doing? What do you have? This is a fun way to see what really matters to you and set some goals for yourself.
*University of Rochester Medical Center
Photography by Papier.