Whether you’re not sure where to start or have written in your journal for a while now, it can sometimes be difficult to think of ideas to write about.
Should that happen, journal prompts are a great way to get past this uncertainty or a temporary block.
They help inspire you with thoughts that allow you to discover yourself or ask questions that you otherwise wouldn’t have.
To help you during those times when you don’t know what to write in your journal, here are 81 journal prompts to help you get started.
On good or bad days, positive self-affirmations help build your self-esteem and confidence. As such, they’re a good way to feel better about yourself.
So, try writing 10 self-affirmations. You can write as many as you want. Or, even fill up half of a page or more.
Write down quotes that motivate you. Often, these were said by well-known individuals. But, that’s not always necessary. It could be something your parents told you to get back up after you’ve fallen as a child.
In short, write down quotes that keep you wanting to go even when things aren’t going your way.
5 Good Things That Happened To You Today
Because of how our minds work, we often focus on the negative more than the positive. So, by keeping track of the positive things you’re able to remind yourself of the good things that happen in your life.
For me, doing this exercise always cheers me up, even on good days. Try it!
Write about things you’re thankful for. It can be anything, even the smallest or most trivial of things.
I remember once when someone reminded me that I forget to get my umbrella after leaving the bank, probably because it wasn’t raining anymore. But, later that day, it poured really hard and I felt so thankful for that tiny gesture that person did. Otherwise, I’d be stuck unable to walk to my for more than an hour.
This is something that’s often written in a gratitude journal. And, it’s something I highly recommend going back to every now and then.
Journaling isn’t always about the good or the happy. At times, you can use it to “put yourself in place”.
That’s because like everyone else, you can be stubborn with some things, especially things that you’re afraid of or don’t know how to do.
When it’s time to get yourself out of your pity party or downward spiral, you can use some tough love. That is, write things that you need to hear.
Things That Inspire You
Write down things that inspire you. This list can include objects, actions, events or even people.
Basically, anything and everything that inspires you.
Doing so, helps jog your memory and remember all the great things there are. More importantly, they’ll help motivate you to take action.
Things You Know You Need To Do But Keep Avoiding
We all have things we don’t like doing or avoid.
It can be the dreadful dentist’s appointment or asking someone you’ve just had a fight with for forgiveness.
This is likewise be true at work. It can be tasks you’re not sure how to do or hate doing.
Whatever it may be, put them down in paper. And, remind yourself that you keep setting them aside for a reason. Maybe, it’s important, maybe you’re afraid of it.
If You Could Go Back In Time And Change Only 1 Thing
What would you do if you could go back in time. But, only be able to change 1 thing.
This is a journal prompt that inspires self-discovery. It helps you realize the biggest thing you feel would’ve have your life better.
Who knows? You may actually have a chance to fix it or act on an alternative today.
Reflect On Your Successes
What are the things that you’ve succeeded at?
Or, you can take it a step further and ask yourself, “what are your biggest achievements so far?”
This allows you to savor the things you’ve done, especially those that matter the most.
But, don’t limit it to that. Celebrate even the small wins. Because often, then contribute to the bigger successes. Or, at the very least, build you up to become the person who was able to achieve the bigger success.
Look Back On Your Failures
Similarly, you can look back at your failures and mistakes. They often say that you learn more when you fail than when you succeed.
I truly agree with that.
But, it’s important not to get caught up in the failure part of things. Instead, see what lessons you can learn from them.
If You Had 3 Wishes, What Would You Wish For
This is something we’ve all probably wished for as a child. Seeing the genie grant 3 wishes and trying to figure out what your wishes would be.
You probably have a few in mind. But, the real challenge here is to whittle them down to the 3 most important things you really want.
What are they?
Write About One Thing You Learned Today
From all the things you did or happened to you today, name 1 thing you learned.
What is it? Why do you think it’s important? How do you think it will help you? Do you plan on doing anything with this new found knowledge?
The questions can keep coming once you’ve figured out what that one thing is.
Think About What You Want To Do Tomorrow (Besides Work And Chores)
Sure, you have work stuff and the family chores or tasks to tend to. But, what else?
What are the most important things you want to get done tomorrow. This list will help you organize your day. And, it allows you to prioritize things as well.
Where And Who You Want To Be 5 Years From Now
Who is your “ideal” you?
And, what do you want to be doing or where would you want to be in 5 years.
Do you want to know a particular skill? Or, would you already want to be married or have your first-born?
This is another question of self-discovery.
But this time, it goes into the future. Unlike some of the other prompts above which go back to the past, this gives you an opportunity to complete mold yourself to the person you want to be.
What Is The Perfect Day Like?
If you could conjure up the perfect day, what would it be?
What are the most important things that should happen, or you want to be doing?
How would things go from the time you wake up in the morning to the moment you fall asleep at night?
List them down and see if you can actually make as many of these things happen every now and then.
Problems And Their Potential Solutions
Make a list of the problems that are bothering you right now. You can bunch them all together. Or, divide them into groups based on what type of problem they are.
You can include life problems, relationships, work or something else.
In addition, go back to each of the problems and try to think of a solution. It doesn’t have to be perfect. But, something for you to start on.
Write To Your Partner
We all have things we have difficulty telling other people, even our partner.
What are yours?
Write down some things or even just one thing you can’t say to them in person.
This makes you more aware of it. And who knows? One day you might actually get to tell them face to face.
Something You Want To Tell Your Long-Time Friend
Whether it’s “thank you for being there” or “sorry for being a jerk”, write down something you want to tell a friend who’s stuck by you all these years.
You probably already know that these friends are very hard to come by.
Often, most of our friends are just “passing through” That is, after a while, you go your separate ways because your day to day lives don’t intersect anymore.
Write About People Who Are Close To You
Who are the people you consider are the those closest to you. Write about them. What they like or dislike.
You can likewise describe their habits, behaviors and even quirks.
This lets you get to know them better without actually being near them.
Important Things You Did Today
List down the important things you did today. Anything that was valuable can be added to the list.
And, it doesn’t necessarily have to be about you. It could be something you did for others.
This is a good way to see value in your day.
Often, we just go through the monotony of life. By doing this, you’re able to see important things you’re contributing to the world.
Add Photos And Doodles In To Your Entries
Switch things up a bit…
Try doodling or adding pictures to your journal entries. This is a great way to add some color and life to your writing.
But that’s not all, doodling along with choosing photos help turn up your creative juices. Plus, they help you de-stress as well.
Your Bucket List
Everyone’s got a bucket list. What’s in yours?
If you haven’t created a bucket list, start writing them down.
You don’t have to try to be complete. Just write what comes to mind.
If you already have a bucket list, you can rewrite it, cross out stuff that you’ve completed, or add a few more.
If Money Wasn’t a Factor, Where Would You Live
Your financial standing, where you work and cost of living often dictate where people live.
But what if you take money out of the equation?
Where would you live?
Would it be on a beach front? Or, do you have a particular city in mind?
This is a fun prompt that allows you to imagine your dream life.
Describe In Detail Who The “Ideal” You Is
Who do you really want to be. Not just in 5 or 10 years, but over the long-term.
Describe yourself in detail.
Everything from your physical looks all the way to your habits, skills and mindset.
And, you can take a little further by listing all the things you need to do in order to get to who you want to become.
Places You’d Like To Visit
Make a list of the places you’d like to go to. You probably have some dream vacation spot.
But don’t limit it to that.
You probably have some memorable childhood places that you haven’t gone back to. Maybe you’d like to see them again some day.
Or, it could be places that you’ve heard about or where certain historical events took place.
Your First Love
Remember this special moment when everything changed for you.
What happened, the fun times and everything else that happens.
This is one of those things that only happens once in your lifetime. So, it’s always nice to go back and cherish this memory.
List Of People Who’ll Stick By You Even In The Worst Of Times
Who are the people who’ll stand by you through thick and thin. By now, you probably know most of them.
But, there will be some that will surprise you either way.
In any case, it’s always a good idea to take stock of theses people. That’s because they’re the ones ou can rely on.So you want to do everything you can for them as well.
Write To Your Future Self
Write a letter to your future self. You get to choose if it’s 5, 10, 15 or 20 years down the line.
What’s important is to figure out what you want to say to an older, wiser you.
This is something I had a very hard time doing. In part, because I wasn’t sure what to say.
What about you?
Write about your family. Here, you get a free hand to write what you want.
You can describe them. You can talk about their traits, habits and behaviors. Or, you can talk about what you appreciate most about them.
This allows you to take a closer look at the people you grew up with and took care of you.
5 Words You’d Use To Describe Yourself
How would you describe your self. List 5 words you’d use.
Limiting the list to 5 allows you to focus on those that stand out the most.
Of course, you can make a long list. But, that kind of defeats the purpose.
5 Words That You’d Like People To Describe You By
This is much more difficult than the first. For the most part, it’s because people don’t often see us the way we do ourselves.
That said, it’s always nice to see yourself in other peoples’ shoes.
A great follow up exercise would be to actually ask a few close friends what they really think. Their honesty will help you compare how you gauge yourself and how others see you.
The One Thing That Makes Life Worth Living
Who, What, Why?
Who or what is the one person or thing that makes life worthwhile. They or it allows you to get up in the morning and look forward to the day. And, at the end of the day, you’re thankful they’re in your life.
For me, that’s a person. Yours could be too. But, that’s not always the case. I know some people who love cars, or a particular hobby more than life itself.
The best part here is that there’s no judgment.
Ideas You’ve Never Followed Through On
It’s never too late to try new things.
You’ve probably had or have some business ideas, inventions or things you’ve wanted to do or create. But, did anything about them.
Writing all these ideas down allows you to revisit them. And, to a point keep them in mind. Who know, one day an opportunity may come up for you to finally bring them to reality.
Your Most Terrifying Experience So Far
What has been the most terrifying moment of your life so far.
I know mine was a near death experience. The funny thing was, I only realized it after. Probably because things happened so fast during real-time.
So, the feeling of terror came after. And, it stayed on for the next few days.
However, the good thing about noticing it after what that I was truly grateful that got through it. You can’t image how thankful I was.
What about you?
Things You Should Start Saying “No” To
Compile a list of things you should say “no” to.
You have things you keep agreeing to do even when you know you shouldn’t be. That’s because it’s hard to turn people down.
Writing them down will help you make them concrete. And to a degree help you actually say “no” the next time a request is made.
One Thing You’d Really Like To Learn To Do But Keep Putting Off
What’s someone you’ve always wanted to take time out to learn. But, have never done so because of one reason or another.
It could be playing an instrument, learning a new skill or hobby.
Often, it could be because we’re busy. Sometimes it’s about money. Other times, it’s we’re just afraid we’ll be wasting our time because it won’t be useful or we won’t be good at it.
Writing them down gives you a better chance of picking one and finally doing it.
Plan About The Family You Want To Have And Your Dreams For Them
Do you want a small or large family?
How many boys and girls?
And, what are their names, plans and dreams.
While you can’t predict what happens in the future, it’s always nice to look at what and how things will work out if it were up to you.
Message You’d Like To Your Future Kids And Grand Kids
What would you like to tell your kids or grand kids?
It could be the a useful advice. It could be something about their grandparents you want them to remember. Or, just simply that you’ll always love them.
Who You Are And Where You Are At This Point In Time
In the future, this will work somewhat like a time capsule. It’s a “still capture” of you at this particular moment in time.
Who are you, what you do, how you behave and where you are in life.
It’s a good way to keep track of your present self in order for you to look back in the future.
You can likewise do this every 6 months or yearly to see how much progress you’ve made towards your ideal self.
Make a list of your lift goals. These are the things you want to achieve.
Besides your work and things you want to do or accomplish, do include things that you want to become as a person.
Having your goals down on paper makes it easy to prioritize them. And, it allows you to formulate a plan to get where you want to go.
Your Wish List
What are some things you wish for most.
You could write about you life wish list. It could also be your Christmas or wedding registry wish list.
Which you choose will depend on your current mood.
Either way, it lets you see in full the things you want most.
Whine, curse and let out all your worries, anger and frustrations. Because different people unload in different ways, you can take various approaches here.
I like to write down whatever comes to mind first about things that bother me. That helps me settle down a little. After, I’m able to go back and loot at what actually bothers me before figuring out why it does and how I can remedy it.
Try something that works for you.
Things You Need To Do To Become a Better Person
This requires some introspection. You need to know who you are and what your traits are before you’re able to figure out what you need to fix or add.
As such, it requires a little more thought.
So, it’s a good idea to do this when your mind is clear.
But, when you’ve done so, you’ll know yourself better and the things you need to modify.to become a better person.
What Makes You Cry
What are the things that bring tears to your eyes.
It could be a memorable moment you’ll never forget. Or, something sad.
This isn’t as jolly as some of the other prompts. But, it’s brings out the real side of life.
At the same time, it’s cathartic as well.
Write a Letter To Someone You Offended But Never Apologized To
Sometimes, it’s difficult to make amends face to face.
While that’s the best way to go about it, writing a letter to do so is likewise effective for you. And, it’s much easier.
This helps you get something off your chest.
Express yourself through words. Poetry is both calming and creative. This lets you relax during the day. And, allow your creative juices to flow.
If you like poetry, you can write short poems in your journal every day as well.
Make a List Of Habits You Want To Form And Break
What are some good habits you should form that will help you become the person you want to be?
And, what are some bad habits that keep you from doing so?
Use the first list to start practicing these behaviors and figure out ways to break items on the second list.
Friendships You Lost Or Let Go
Go back to your nursery school days and slowly move up to your college and work life. Along the way, you’ll remember friendships that you’ve somehow lost touch with.
Remember those memories and what makes you cherish those friendships. And, why or how they went away.
Doing so lets you remember the good times. It also allows you to cherish valuable relationships so you don’t let go of people important to you again.
That good news is, thanks to Facebook, you can actually get back in touch with them.
Here, it’s important not to get caught up in the regrets themselves. That’s one of the risks of listing down your life’s regrets.
Depending on what they are, it could put a damper on your day.
However, do use these regrets as motivation. And, to learn from your mistakes.
By looking at what you did wrong or didn’t do that ultimately led to the regret, you’re able to prevent something similar from happening in the future.
School Or Work
Write about your day at work or school. No two days are the same. Although most of what you do can me similar, there’s always something that makes one day unique from the rest
Writing about your day is both reflective and cathartic. It allows you to look back at what you’ve done. And, let go of things that bothered you.
About a Project You’re Working On
If you’re working on a project, go back and revisit things you’ve done. You can likewise write about the upcoming tasks.
This helps you track everything that’s happening. And, it lets you know how to go forward as well.
Keeping track of your diet helps a lot when you’re trying to lost or maintain weight. But, it works just as well for everyone.
Writing about your diet helps you look at what you’ve eaten for the day.
This lets you do a few things:
- Appreciate and give thanks for having food on the table
- Realize what you’ve eaten and if you should change something
- Know how much you’re spending
- And a few more
Write down your current self-care routine. And, it any, what you would like to add or modify in it.
It’s easy to forget to take care of yourself because of how busy life can be, But those few minutes, done regularly, goes a long way to helping you feel better both physically and mentally.
Things That Scare You
What are you afraid of?
List the things that frighten you or you’re afraid of facing. This helps you be more aware of yourself.
And, sometimes, just writing them down can help you take a step closer to overcoming one or two of these fears.
List Down Things That Make You Happy
From your fears, you can move to something happier. Here, note down the different things that bring joy to your life.
Again, they don’t need to be super important or life changing. Sometimes, it’s as simple as seeing your dog bounce up and down and wag her tail when you open the door after coming home.
List Down Things That You Should Be More Appreciative Of But Aren’t
Are there things that you should be more grateful for? But, you aren’t or forget to be.
I know I have a few. For most of them, it’s because I can sometimes take them for granted.
You probably have some as well.
This is a great way to reminding yourself to show your appreciate to these things.
Pick a Quote From The Bible And Connect It To Your Life
This is something I do once in a while. Coming from a Catholic upbringing, church, mass, confessions and bible study groups are something I have a lot of experience with.
But sometimes, just doing things on your own works just as well.
The bible is a great place to seek guidance and relevance in life. Just choose any quote from the Written Word and try to relate it to your life.
Journal Your Travels
You don’t need to be a travel blogger to keep a travel journal.
Plus, it’s a great way to keep track of things you do and places you’ve been to.
The thing is, the more you travel, the higher the likelihood you may take some things for granted. Probably because they’ve become so common.
Journaling is lets you notice the little things that you may sometimes take for granted. All the while keeping track of the major visits and experiences as well.
Things You Want To Tell Your Parents But Could Never Get Yourself To Do So Directly
Like all children, you probably have some things you find hard to tell your parents.
So, while you may never tell them face to face, writing them in your journal allows you to let go of te burden of keeping it to yourself.
What would you like to confess to yourself. This is a great way of being honest with yourself.
Sometimes, it’s difficult to do so because you’re admitting a fault, shortcoming or inadequacy.
Often writing things down is easier. It may still be difficult to digest. But, it makes you aware of the need to find a solution to improve yourself.
Inventory Of The Most Valuable Things You Have
What are the things you can’t live without.
These are the things you cherish most. And, they’re not limited to what you have now.
You can go back to things that you valued as a child, teen or in college.
Write a Letter To Your Younger Self
Everyone would like to be able to go back tell their younger selves something.
It could be some piece of useful advice, things you should do or avoid. It could likewise be something as simple as appreciate each moment while it’s there.
What would you tell your younger self? Write it down in a letter.
Write About Your Most Memorable Experience
What’s something that you know you’ll never forget.
It can be a good moment. It can likewise be something sad, scary or bad.
In any case, it’s a part of you and it’s something that has shaped you as a person. Looking back at it allows you to remember who you are and what you’ve been through.
Look Back At The Different Crossroads In Your Life. And How Things May Be Different If You Made Another Choice
Go back to the biggest potential turning points in your life. In retrospect, it’s easy to always make the right decision.
But, don’t dwell on that. Instead, see where the forks in your road have been. When did they happen? How did you make your final decision? And, were there things that influenced you?
Looking back brings back memories. However, it also allows you to assess how you make your decisions. Maybe it will help you shed light on future decisions.
List Down The Milestones In Your Life
What are the things that you’ve done in your life. These are “life” things. So, they’re not necessarily work or career related. Nor do they need to be achievements or successes.
Milestones include things like your first kiss, first love, wedding day, or the time you met your idol.
This allows you to cherish memories that only you have. And, some that you’ve probably forgotten about.
Reflect On Things You Wished You Could “Do Over”
Make a list of things you wished you can get a second chance at doing. And, what would you do different.
This is probably something you’ve thought of after things didn’t go your way. But, have cast aside since then.
While it’s tempting to think of these moments as “should have”, “could have” or “what if” situations, try to resist doing so.
Instead, keep them in mind so that the next time another one comes around, you’ll savor that moment better or take more time to think before going forward.
Talk About Challenges You’re Facing
Whether you’re experiencing tough times or not now, you’ll likely have some challenges that you’re dealing with.
List them down. And, think about them.
This gives you a chance to assess each of these situations including why they’re challenging, what aspect makes it difficult for you and how you can overcome them.
Things That You Worry Or Stress About That Nobody Knows
One of the best things about journaling is that it’s your own. Nobody will every read it.
This lets you talk about things or do some introspection that you otherwise wouldn’t with someone else.
And deep down inside, we all have worries. List yours down to get a load off. This lets you “blow off a little steam” .
List down things that frustrate you. They could be trivial things that bother you. Or, bigger things or habits that irritate you.
It could be things progressing slowing in certain areas of your life. Or, your kids not listening to you when you tell them to do their homework.
Describe Your Fondest Memory As Child
Of all the fun things you did an experiences as a youngster, what was your favorite.
Was it finally going to Disneyland and meeting Mickey Mouse? Or, was it your 6th birthday when all your friends came over and had a blast.
As adults, it can be easy to forget about the simple things that used to make us happy. Looking back at them can bring out the child in you so you can remember that kind of happiness.
How You Overcame a Fear
Look back at a triumphant moment where you were able to overcome a fear.
It doesn’t have to be a huge fear or something that changed your life. But, something you were afraid of but were finally able to overcome.
And, don’t forget to cherish the moment when you felt good about yourself after.
Things You Look Forward To Doing In The Next 6 Months, 1, 3 And 5 Years
List down the things you’re looking forward to the most in the next few years.
Sure, you have goals. But, look beyond the goals.
Consider things like having your first born, getting married, taking a much needed vacation to Hawaii.
Anything that you’re looking forward to.
Create a Bullet Journal
Create a bullet journal. This is great idea because it can take the form of anything. It can be work related. Or, something to help you with time management.
Plus, don’t forget to decorate it a little bit as well.
What are your biggest dreams in life?
Everyone has dreams. Some realistic, some crazy.
While the latter may never happen, it’s always nice to have that little child in you to think of them.
That said, do focus on the the more practical ones. And writing them down is a good reminder of things you aspire to be or have. It also lets you assess whether you’re on the right track and doing the right things to get there.
Write down your prayers and reflect on the. Just as importantly, thank the Lord for those He has gracefully granted.
You can do this on a regular basis and not just during times of need as well.
Journal Your Pregnancy
If you’re expecting, why not journal about your pregnancy. Jot down the different things you’re feeling, or events related to it that happened today.
This gives you something to look back on if you need to. It can likewise be useful when you have more kids.
Therapeutic journaling if more reflective. You’ll not only look back at your experiences but also your internal feeling and thoughts.
This makes it a little deeper. But it allows you to gain mental and emotional clarity.
Track Your Budget
One of the best things about journaling is that it never limits you from writing whatever you want.
So, you can likewise take a break from writing about yourself or your experiences.
And instead, use it to track your monthly budget. Once a month you can make a journal entry for your family budget. This makes it easy to go back to previous months to compare.
Secrets Or Things You’ll Never Tell Anyone
Do you have any secrets you’ll never let anyone know?
Sometimes it’s hard never telling anyone a secret you’ve held. As such, writing it down can work as a proxy for that.
It allows you to “tell” that secret to someone, in this case your journal.
List Of People Who’ve Helped You (Significantly) In You Life
Who are the people who’ve done something important or have played a significant role in your life.
It could be one event. It could be your entire life.
What’s important is what they did and how it helped you. Because sometimes, one moment is enough to change your life for the good or bad forever.
And, don’t forget to thank them.
Things You Want To Get Off Your Chest
Just let go!
You probably have things you want to get off your chest. This is your chance.
Whether it’s to vent or complain, your journal allows you to be who you are.
That’s one of the reasons journaling reduces stress.
Journaling is one of the easiest things to do. All you need to do is write.
And, from the list of journal prompts above, you can see that you can pretty much write about anything.
It all comes down to what you decide on.
Hopefully, the list above helps you find some ideas and inspiration to get you started. Or, kick start your thought process when you hit a blank.
What do you write about in your journal? Let me know in the comments below.