So you want to start a daily journal habit…
Amazing! Welcome to the empty notebook club.
Journaling is an important tool for personal growth and self-reflection. If you’re like me and struggle getting your feelings on paper, I have gathered a few simple prompts that helped me get more comfortable with the practice. These prompts are centered on productivity and gratitude, and can help set you up for a successful day and keep your mind on what’s important. Here’s my list of everyday journal prompts.
Arguably the most important reflection for journalers- and humans in general.
Research shows that practicing gratitude in our daily lives improves our self-confidence, brain function, and overall happiness. Because we are consciously recalling positive feelings, our mind is more likely to amplify the good things around us over time. Just like we attract what we focus on, we feel more gratitude after writing down all the positive things we experience.
Take some time as soon as you pick up your pen and list 3-5 things that really make your heart smile, and watch more and more blessings come into your awareness today.
“Goal” is sometimes a weighted word, and can bring a bit of anxiety at times. The important thing to remember is that goals can be anything you are working toward, big or small. Whether it’s something at work, an art project, taking your dog to the groomer, doing 3 push-ups… anything!
Check in with yourself and notice how you’re feeling in your body and mind. Is today the day you’re going to write a novel and cook a three-course meal for dinner? No? That’s okay! Sometimes we need to set small goals that we know we can achieve, and save the big stuff for later. Whatever feels good for you today, write it down so you can see it on paper and in your mind’s eye.
Following up our last one is an action-based, open-ended prompt. Take a look at what you’ve chosen to pursue today, and start thinking about gameplans.
If the goal is to find a new place to live, write out the way you’re going to make that happen. (Create an account on rentaplace.com, make a list of apartment deal-breakers, gather references, etc.)
Big or small, it always helps to have a gameplan for your goals. Write out the steps, materials, attitude, background music, anything you can think of that will set you up for success. This helps us kick procrastination and cultivate a sense of accomplishment when we meet our own expectations later.
Whether it’s limiting beliefs, toxic behaviors, unrealistic expectations, or simply the idea that everything has to be perfect to be right. Writing it down and choosing to release it is the most powerful way to begin cutting ties with what no longer serves us.
Write down 3-5 things that are absolutely not invited to the party today. Look back at your goals and think, “What would hold me back from achieving that today?”
It could be a snacking habit, the belief that you don’t deserve nice things, or the idea that you’re not a hard worker. All of these are mental or physical habits that drag our progress and keep us stuck in the past. We must consciously release them while we work towards our goals, and having them on paper only reinforces that they do not hold as much power as we think they do.
Just like gratitude journaling helps us recall positive feelings, making a list of reasons to celebrate ourselves is essential to rewiring our brains for success. Think back to all of the things you’ve accomplished this week, this year, this lifetime. Even if it’s as simple as “I was kind to my crazy neighbor today,” keeping a record of the things you do that you appreciate about yourself is an easy way to reinforce positive habits and encourage us to meet goals, stay kind, and live in gratitude. Look at how far you’ve come, you superstar! Write it down!
Obviously. What do you want? Who do you want to be? What does your ideal, highest, most successful self look like, feel like, have? Where do they live, what do they eat, who do they love? Even if it feels like it’s a faraway fantasy, put it on the page and let your mind wander in the daydream. This is my personal favorite journal prompt because I love to imagine myself doing all of these amazing things, wearing amazing clothes, helping people and living life to the fullest. Then I look at the goals I wrote down and think “Yeah, that’s a step in the right direction today.”
Everything that we want is possible if we are willing to give up the idea that we don’t deserve it. (Remember when we decided to let that go?)
So, give these prompts a try this week. See if it makes your morning a little brighter, or a little more productive. Remember that journaling is a habit that takes time to establish, and it’s not always easy to dedicate the time to it. So on the first day make sure one of your goals is “Do these journal prompts every day this week.” Maybe that will motivate you to set aside a little extra time to set habits for your future best self.
Let me know how it goes!