Yesterday I wrote about “selfish” resolutions you should adopt this year, one of the topics I addressed was journaling. I realized for many people sitting down with an empty notebook and a pen is a little overwhelming. Many people give up writing in diaries or journals because simply recapping the day to day happenings of their lives seems a bit dull. Whether you’re new to journaling or just beginning this list is intended to encourage you to think about your life, identity and perspectives in new ways. Don’t feel the need to stick exactly to the journal prompts, if reading a prompt inspires another topic let your mind (and pen) wander!
1.Is there a difference between happiness and fulfillment? What does it take for you to be happy? What does it take you to be fulfilled? Are the qualities the same?
2. Close your eyes and envision where you see yourself in five years. Don’t get hung up on the details you feel like you are “supposed to know” (ie. career, savings, marital status) but instead focus on the aspects of your future that are important to you. Do you imagine yourself in a new city? With a different career? Learning a new hobby? Feeling a specific way? Open your eyes and spend 5-10 minutes writing about what you envisioned.
3. Defining our insecurities is one of the best ways to own them. List a few traits (physically, intellectually, emotionally, etc.) you are insecure about. Pick one or two traits to delve into analysis. Why does this specific trait matter to you? Have you always been insecure about this trait? Has anyone else fed into these insecurities? Finally, write an affirmation helping you to own your insecurity and take control of it.
4. Create a thought map with the word “Identity” in the center. Branch out and add aspects of life, ideas, and experiences you believe are crucial to your identity. Is having a family attached to your identity? What about a career? Creative expression? Continue to expand your thought map until you believe it paints an accurate representation of what composes your identity.
5. Focus on a regret that haunts you. Spend 20 minutes writing a detailed account of the experience, the feelings it causes you and what you wish you could have (or would have) done differently. Take a deep breath and release it. Write a sentence or two about what you have learned from this regret and how it can help you to be better in the future.
6. What does “family” mean to you? Describe your family dynamic and what you liked about it. What did you dislike? Do you believe your idea of family aligns with that of society?
7. Make a list of any 50 things that make you happy. List small things like fresh cut flowers and handwritten letters and big things like earning a promotion, etc. Be sure to consider all five senses!
8. What did you believe about love as a teenager? What do you believe about love now? Describe the similarities and differences. Why did your views change?
9. Describe a moment that drastically changed the course of your life. At the time did you know it was a moment you would remember forever? How did it impact you long term? Short term?
10. What is your relationship with sadness? Do you see it as a necessary component to life or try to avoid it at all costs? Do you find sadness beautiful or as a moment of happiness you’ll never get back?
11. Think of someone you admire, write the name at the top of your page and spend a few minutes brainstorming the qualities that make this person admirable to you. Circle the qualities you want to work on, star the qualities you already possess. If you wish, spend a few minutes describing how and why this person inspires you.
12. Write a short letter to your future self: what is something you would like her to remember about who you are today?
13. Describe your three greatest accomplishments, why are these accomplishments so important to you?
14. The word “Eunoia” means “beautiful thinking”, what does beautiful thinking mean to you? How do you engage in this sort of thought?
15. Would you describe yourself as introverted or extroverted? Do you feel you are fully one or the other or do you fall somewhere on a spectrum? How do you feel this classification affects your day to day life and preferences?
16. What is the greatest life lesson you have learned over the past year?
17. Think about your friendships. What does it mean to be a good friend? What makes some friendship better than others? Describe strengths of your closest friends and why you are drawn to them as people. If you wish take additional time to write a quick note to a friend describing the strong qualities you see in her to her. Everyone loves compliments and your note just might make her day.
18. Describe your personal style and aesthetic. Do you lean toward bright colors, neutrals, shades of black and gray? Do you follow current trends, follow celebrities or models? Has anyone in your life influenced what you wear? Do you use fashion as a mode of self expression or take a more practical approach? Do you have any friends or acquaintances whose style stands out to you? Why?
19. How do other people’s perceptions of you match who you actually are? Do you feel understood? Misunderstood? Is there anything you feel most people wouldn’t guess about you?
20. Can you ever be sure you are on the right path in life? Do you look for signs, external validation or something else? Describe the path you see yourself on now. What would you change? Did you have to make sacrifices to get here?
I hope I inspired you to begin journaling, whether it is a daily, weekly or monthly habit, journaling can be a great way to reflect and grow. One of my favorite parts of journaling is picking out a pretty, new notebook.
A few of my favorite inexpensive notebooks (great for journaling) can be found here:
Kate Spade Spiral Notebook-Quick and Curious
Do you like to journal? Do you write about your thoughts, life occurrences or follow prompts? Do you prefer to journal nightly or every so often?
A few years ago I rediscovered a few of my middle school diaries and had a good laugh reading through them. I thought I was as boy crazy and overdramatic as an adult, in my early teenage years my angst was off the charts. I hope I am just as intrigued to look back on my blog posts and journal entries five years from now!