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30 Journaling Ideas and Prompts For Beginners

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Journaling is not a new fad. Think of all the documentaries made or books written by famous people and heroes that reference their journal entries to shed light on their thoughts on an issue or event. Journals are not only an excellent way to document your life, but they also bring to the forefront your innermost thoughts and feelings on a given issue.

Some of the most famous visionaries and leaders in history kept journals. From Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Frida Kahlo to more modern examples like Oprah Winfrey, Larry David and George Lucas.

If you’re new to journaling, getting a steady stream of ideas to write about can be difficult. Prompts are therefore a great way to get your creative juices going. There are many directions prompts could take, but we’ve listed 30 that will increase your self-awareness.

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30 Journaling Ideas and Prompts

  1. What are the three things from last year that you don’t want to carry into this New Year?
  2. If you could talk to your last year’s self, what’s the one advice you’d give yourself?
  3. What two events will last year you never forget? Pick a good and a bad one. Write them out in great detail.
  4. What two moments will you never forget in your life? Write one good and one bad. If the theme is similar to the previous question, take a moment to analyze it. You are likely to learn more about what matters to you, or what your weaknesses are.
  5. List 30 things that take you to your happy place? Don’t just write them down, make an effort to do one every day for a month.
  6. What are the 12 things you want to do this year? Pick one for every month and check them off. To keep you motivated, set a reward system. It doesn’t have to be grand; whipped cream for dessert is acceptable.
  7. List the things you can’t live without. For each, write three reasons why. That’ll help you appreciate them more.
  8. List the people you can’t live without. For each person, write three main reasons why- or more if you wish. Then write what you’d like to do for them. Do you need to call them more? Spent more time with them? Forgive them? Love them better? Now bridge the gap between the current situation and your end goal.
  9. List how you can be kinder to yourself. Refer to this list when you’re in physical or emotional pain, or when you’ve notably failed at something.
  10. Write down what your idea of love is. What can you do to love yourself and other people better?
  11. List the areas of your life that you’re keeping hidden from others. List the payoffs – both good and bad- of keeping these things in the dark. Be bold and dare to be open to someone who cares about you. You’d be surprised to realize just how much weight you’ve been carrying.
  12. If your body was to write an account of what it means to be it, what would it say? Divide your responses into body, mind, and soul. Note the areas where you need to better care for yourself.
  13. What do you like about your job? What don’t you want about it? Consider taking a course or proposing a plan that’ll make you better at your job and improve the lives of others.
  14. List all the new skills you’d like to learn this year. Outline the approach you’ll use to fulfill them.
  15. Look at the current affairs of the world. What issues break your heart? In your small way, what contribution can you make in solving the problem? It could be as simple as sensitizing people around you and potentially start a revolution. Go here to get inspired.
  16. Who are you? Describe yourself in 10 words. It might come up in your next interview.
  17. List all the questions that have been plaguing your mind. It could be as trivial as why do we have traffic lights. Search for responses. Continually update this list.
  18. Make a reading list.
  19. Make a watching list.
  20. List everything you want to say yes to but haven’t. Begin agreeing more.
  21. List everything you’d like to say no to but haven’t. Start saying no.
  22. Do you have a bucket list? If you don’t have one, make one. If you do, amend it. Make an effort to cross out one at least every year.
  23. Where have you always wanted to travel? Make a list. It doesn’t have to be an expensive trip. That haunted shack from your childhood counts.
  24. List all the areas in your life that you’d like to change. Break them down into relationships, self, work, health, and finances. Begin making small changes for those giant leaps you wish to make.
  25. What are the things in your house or closet that you need to get rid of? Have a yard sale or give them to charity.
  26. List the habits that negatively affect you and others around you. What’s the payoff-good or bad- for holding on to them?
  27. Name all the changes you need to make for a healthier financial situation. Now formulate a monthly budget and stick to it.
  28. What’s your idea of fun? Don’t wait for someone to make it happen for you. Take the initiative and plan a fun activity.
  29. If you were to take a class you’ve always been interested in, what would it be? List what you’re willing to sacrifice for make it happen. Enroll in a course near you.
  30. If you believe in a Supernatural Being, what steps can you take this year to get closer to them? Studies reveal that spirituality might increase your life expectancy.

Do you find any of these prompts or journaling ideas particularly challenging? Take note and spend more time addressing them.

The rule of thumb is that there’s something in your subconscious mind that doesn’t want you exploring that particular area. Being truly honest with you will be painful at times, but it’s worth it. You’ll become a better and more enlightened version of yourself.

Learn more about journaling:

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About the author

I'm an avid reader and love anything to do with mindfulness and mental health!

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